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The Twilight Zone Season 5 Blu-ray Review

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#1 of 44 Timothy E

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Posted August 26 2011 - 01:42 PM

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THE TWILIGHT ZONE Season 5 BLU-RAY


Studio: Image

Year: 1963-1964

Rated: Not Rated

Film Length: 916 minutes

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Audio: English Uncompressed PCM Mono


Release Date: August 30, 2011


The Series


    You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension, a 
    dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You are moving into 
    a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over
    into The Twilight Zone.


So began the narration of The Twilight Zone in its fifth and final season. The Twilight Zone premiered on CBS-TV on October 2, 1959, and aired for 5 seasons until its cancellation in 1964. This fantasy and science fiction anthology series is revered and well remembered 50 years later for its daring social commentary and the twist endings of many of its episodes. The series was created by Rod Serling, who narrated the episodes and, incredibly, wrote a majority of the scripts during its production.

Rod Serling was supported in his screen-writing chores by accomplished authors Charles Beaumont and Richard Matheson. Earl Hamner, Jr.(The Waltons) also contributed a number of original scripts to the final seasons. The high quality and success of this series is undoubtedly attributable in large part to the efforts of these writers who wrote many original screenplays, as well as adaptations of works by other authors.


The Twilight Zone also benefitted from the acting talent that appeared in the series. Actors in this fifth season included Jack Klugman, William Shatner, George Takei, Lee Marvin, Billy Mumy, Martin Landau, James Coburn, Mickey Rooney, Shelley Fabares, and others.


The Twilight Zone theme song composed by Marius Constant is recognizable today even to many people who have never seen this series. Composers of score music in the fifth season included Bernard Herrmann(Citizen Kane, North By Northwest, Psycho), Van Cleave(Gunsmoke) and Rene Garriguenc(Perry Mason).


The Twilight Zone reverted back to its original half-hour length during this final season following its aborted change to hour-length episodes during the fourth season. Although the fifth season has a few classics(Nightmare at 20,000 Feet and Living Doll), the high points are fewer than in the earlier seasons. Creator Rod Serling and writers Charles Beaumont and Richard Matheson are said to have suffered from creative fatigue by the end of the third season in 1962, and this is evident in the last 2 seasons. Writer burnout is understandable when you realize that these 3 writers are responsible for writing 127 episodes out of the entire series output of 156 episodes. Serling’s creative involvement in the last 2 seasons was particularly limited since he was no longer living in Los Angeles, although he still contributed screenplays and received credit as executive producer; Serling’s narration and appearances in the series were shot back to back on those limited occasions when he traveled back to Hollywood. The scramble to create enough material is evident in the fact that this season included an episode that was not created originally for this series, that episode being director Robert Enrico’s 1962 Academy Award-winner for best short subject, An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge, based on an original story by Ambrose Bierce.


The episodes appear in this 5 disc set in order of airdate rather than production order. The episodes are organized appropriately in this manner, given the fact that the preview of the following week’s episode hosted by Rod Serling is included just as originally aired at the conclusion of each episode and prior to the closing credits, with the exception of the following episodes, which do not include a preview: Black Leather Jackets, An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge, The Masks, Sounds And Silences, and Come Wander With Me. The fact that the episodes were not aired originally in production order is evident from the fact that Bert Granet and William Froug seem to alternate as producers when watching the series in order of airdate when, in fact, Granet left after the first 13 episodes and was replaced by Froug for the remainder of the season. Each episode also concludes with the original CBS TV logo from 1963 and 1964. A modern CBS Studios logo is also attached but only at the very end of each episode. All episodes seem to be complete and uncut, and the running lengths of each episode seem to confirm this.


Video


The Twilight Zone appears on Blu-Ray in 1080p in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio as originally filmed and broadcast on CBS-TV. The new 1080p high definition transfers of this fifth season created from the original camera negatives are sublime. As with the previous season sets, the result is a film-like image with some grain apparent. The image is so sharp that minor imperfections that were invisible on the previous DVD releases are now visible on a large monitor. When I speak of imperfections, the emphasis is on "minor"; the video quality in these new transfers is as close to perfection as one could hope for on this series. The quality of video on this release is, if anything, superior to that of the earlier season sets.


Audio


The Uncompressed PCM Mono track is excellent, with none of the crackle, hiss, or inconsistency of sound volume that we expect to hear on television shows from this era. This is the default audio track unless original audio is selected from the menu. The special features have audio that is more typical of shows from that era, which makes one appreciate the clarity of sound on these restored episodes.


Special Features


The special features are comprehensive and include all of the following:


The Mike Wallace Interview (21:01): This aired originally on CBS-TV in September of 1959 around the same time as the series premiere of The Twilight Zone.


Netherlands Sales Pitch (4:33): Rod Serling appears on camera to sell the series overseas.


Excerpt from Rod Serling’s Sherwood Oaks Experimental College Lecture (12:34): Serling talks in detail about creation of The Twilight Zone.


Alfred Hitchcock Promo(2:15): This is a CBS network promo in which Hitchcock speaks drolly about the upcoming season of his series and The Twilight Zone.


Marc Scott Zicree Audio Interview With George T. Clemens (Part 5): This is the fifth part of an interview done by Zicree in 1978 of cinematographer Clemens. The first 4 parts of the interview appeared on the previous season sets of The Twilight Zone on Blu-ray.


Every episode in this fifth season has special features. Here is a list of all 36 episodes with the special features indicated:

In Praise of Pip (25:38):Audio commentary by Bill Mumy, audio commentary by Neil Gaiman and Marc Scott Zicree, interview with Bill Mumy, isolated music score by Rene Garriguenc, sponsor billboards for Crest toothpaste and Milk Wave Lilt home permanent.

Steel (25:37): Audio commentary by Bill Warren and Marc Scott Zicree, interview with Richard Matheson, isolated score by Van Cleave, sponsor billboards for Pall Mall Famous Cigarettes and the American Tobacco Company, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring Louis Gossett, Jr.

Nightmare at 20,000 Feet (25:38): Audio commentary by Richard Donner and Marc Scott Zicree, interview with Richard Matheson, Rod Serling lecture at Sherwood Oaks College, isolated score, sponsor billboards for Prell Shampoo, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring John Schneider

A Kind Of A Stopwatch (25:37): Audio commentary by Martin Grams, Jr., isolated score by Van Cleave, sponsor billboards, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring Lou Diamond Phillips.

The Last Night Of A Jockey (25:36): Audio commentary by Mickey Rooney, sponsor billboards.

Living Doll (25:37): Audio commentary by June Foray, audio commentary by George Noory and Marc Scott Zicree, audio commentary by Gary Gerani, interview with June Foray, isolated music score by Bernard Herrmann, sponsor billboards, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring Tim Kazurinsky.

The Old Man In The Cave (25:37): Audio commentary by Scott Skelton and Jim Benson, isolated music score, sponsor billboards, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring Adam Baldwin.

Uncle Simon (25:36): Audio commentary by Martin Grams, Jr., isolated music score, sponsor billboards, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring Peter Mark Richman and Beverly Garland.

Probe 7 Over And Out (25:33): Audio commentary by Ted Post and Marc Scott Zicree, sponsor billboards, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring Louis Gossett, Jr.

The 7th Is Made Up Of Phantoms (25:39): Isolated music score, sponsor billboards, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring Richard Grieco.

A Short Drink From A Certain Fountain (25:37): Isolated music score, sponsor billboards, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring Adam West.

Ninety Years Without Slumbering (25:37): Interview with Carolyn Kearney and George Clayton Johnson, interview with George Clayton Johnson, isolated music score by Bernard Herrmann, sponsor billboards, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring Bill Erwin.

Ring-A-Ding Girl (25:36): Interview with Earl Hamner, Jr., audio commentary by Scott Skelton and Jim Benson, sponsor billboards.

You Drive (25:35): Interview with Earl Hamner, Jr., audio commentary by Scott Skelton and Jim Benson, sponsor billboards.

The Long Morrow (25:35): Audio commentary by Mariette Hartley, audio commentary by Scott Skelton and Jim Benson, sponsor billboards, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring Kathy Garver.

The Self-Improvement Of Salvadore Ross (25:36): Audio commentary by Martin Grams, Jr., isolated music score, sponsor billboards, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring Luke Perry.

Number 12 Looks Just Like You (25:38): Audio commentary by Marc Scott Zicree, isolated music score, sponsor billboards.

Black Leather Jackets (25:36): Interview with Michael Forest and Earl Hamner, Jr., sponsor billboards.

Night Call (25:12): Interview with Richard Matheson, audio commentary by Michael Nankin and Marc Scott Zicree, isolated music score, sponsor billboards, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring Mariette Hartley.

From Agnes, With Love (25:37): Sponsor billboards, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring Ed Begley, Jr.

Spur Of The Moment (25:23): Interview with Richard Matheson, isolated music score by Rene Garriguenc, sponsor billboards.

An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge (25:42): Conversations with Rod Serling (Part 1), isolated music score by Henri Lanoe, sponsor billboards.

Queen Of The Nile (25:37): Sponsor billboards, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring Kate Jackson.

What’s In The Box (26:34): Sponsor billboards, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring Mike Starr.

The Masks (25:438): Audio commentary by Alan Sues, isolated music score, sponsor billboards, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring Stan Freberg.

I Am The Night - Color Me Black (25:36): Interview with Terry Becker, sponsor billboards.

Sounds And Silences (25:29): Isolated music score, sponsor billboards, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring Richard Kind.

Caesar And Me (25:35): Audio commentary by Robert Butler and Marc Scott Zicree, sponsor billboards, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring Jason Alexander.

The Jeopardy Room (26:36): Audio commentary by Martin Landau, audio commentary by Richard Donner and Marc Scott Zicree, sponsor billboards.

Stopover In A Quiet Town (25:10): Interview with Nancy Malone and Earl Hamner, Jr., isolated music score, sponsor billboards.

The Encounter (25:10): Audio commentary by George Takei, Robert Butler, and Marc Scott Zicree, isolated music score, sponsor billboards.

Mr. Garrity And The Graves (25:36): Audio commentary by Ted Post and Marc Scott Zicree, sponsor billboards, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring Chris MacDonald.

The Brain Center At Whipple’s (25:35): Sponsor billboards, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring Stan Freberg.

Come Wander With Me (25:38): Isolated music score by Jeff Alexander, sponsor billboards.

The Fear (25:34): Audio commentary by Ted Post, Peter Mark Richman, and Marc Scott Zicree, sponsor billboards, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring Jane Seymour and James Keach.

The Bewitchin’ Pool (25:10): Interview with Earl Hamner, Jr., audio commentary by Earl Hamner, Jr. and Marc Scott Zicree, isolated music score, sponsor billboards, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring Karen Black.


The Twilight Zone radio dramas, isolated music scores, and many of the audio commentaries are new to this release. Also included is a foldout illustrated booklet with a list of the episodes on each disc with original airdates, plot descriptions, and lists of special features associated with each episode.


Conclusion


With the release of this set, the complete Twilight Zone(original series 1959-1964) has been released in high definition. This season of The Twilight Zone has never looked and sounded better than it does in this Blu-ray set. The video and audio transfers of these 36 episodes are consistently excellent. As with the earlier sets released on Blu-ray, many of the special features included here are new to this release and may be considered essentials for fans of this series. There is a small number of special features from the DVD season sets that have not been ported over to the Blu-ray editions, so devout fans may want to hold onto the DVD sets if they want to keep those extras. As with the earlier sets, The Twilight Zone Season 5 on Blu-ray comes highly recommended. 



#2 of 44 vnisanian2001

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Posted August 26 2011 - 02:05 PM

For the season 5 finale, I never got why they kept the real voice Mary Badham (Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird) in the indoor scenes. That part has been confusing me for a while.
 To all fans of Mr. Belvedere who haven't purchased season 4 yet, please watch this video.

#3 of 44 JerryK

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Posted August 29 2011 - 10:32 PM

TZ Season 5 is currently $48.49 on Amazon. S1 $47.49 S2-S4 $47.99

#4 of 44 Lord Dalek

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Posted August 30 2011 - 04:11 AM

Ok lets go over what works...


Richard Matheson - as usual Matheson has the best run of any writer this season. Steel and Night Call are masterpieces and Nightmare at 20,000 Feet has still got a terrifc script despite the goofy looking gremlin. On the other hand... Spur of the Moment mak-ah no sense!


In Praise of Pip - Billy Mumy sure knows how to pick em. This episode is brilliant and creepy. Perhaps TZ's best season opener.


The Old Man in the Cave - Painfully underrated post-apocalyptic Zone. Brings up a difficult question of free will vs. being looked out for your best interests.


An Ocurrance at Owl Creek Bridge - Probably the only real smart move William Froug made in his time as producer.


The Masks

Living Doll

Number 12 Looks Just Like You

You Drive - Earl Hamner's ONLY good script of the season

The Encounter


What DOESN'T work


William Froug - By all accounts Froug was an idiot who didn't necessarily "get" the show. Behind the scenes he tossed a fine Mathison script (The Doll, later made into an emmy winning Amazing Stories episode), turned the wonderful George Clayton Johnson script Tick of Time into the banal Ninety Years Without Slumbering, and dumped the following on us...


Come Wander With Me - worst episode ever

From Agnes With Love

Ring a Ding Girl - most non-sequiter episode ever

Black Leather Jackets

The Fear

Ceasar And Me - written by a secretary!

I am the Night, Color Me Black


Oh yeah, he also annoyed George T. Clemmens enough to the point that he practically left the show early. Way to go Bill!


Earl Hamner Jr. - there's a reason he's the most loathed writer of the show with more than 2 scripts under his belt. Its this season.


Richard Donner - Seriously... you call THAT a Gremlin?



#5 of 44 Lord Dalek

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Posted August 30 2011 - 12:23 PM

Oh good news for those were saddened by the omission of a few sponsorship billboards from Season 1. The missing Kleenex ads are on Disc 5 of this set.



#6 of 44 Guest__*

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Posted August 30 2011 - 01:23 PM

Were any other seasons missing billboards?



#7 of 44 Craig Beam

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Posted August 30 2011 - 01:41 PM

TZ Season 5 is currently $48.49 on Amazon. S1 $47.49 S2-S4 $47.99

What???? I paid $71.99 for it... yup, through Amazon, just YESTERDAY. I wonder if they'll refund the difference...?

#8 of 44 JerryK

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Posted August 30 2011 - 04:02 PM

What???? I paid $71.99 for it... yup, through Amazon, just YESTERDAY. I wonder if they'll refund the difference...?

From my experience you should see a credit on your account for the difference within 2 business days.

#9 of 44 Lord Dalek

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Posted August 31 2011 - 01:43 AM



Originally Posted by eric scott richard 

Were any other seasons missing billboards?


Nah. There were a few that seemed to be missing from Season 2, but only because Image had summer 1962 rerun copies for some of the videotape episodes when Liggett and Meyers switched their sponsorship cigarette from Oasis to Chesterfield.


Said edited episodes would have been original sponsored by General Foods but the pre-reedit master tape is probably lost.




#10 of 44 cineMANIAC

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Posted August 31 2011 - 03:24 AM

The final season of TZ is generally thought of as the worst but there are numerous episodes I enjoy, including A Kind of Stopwatch, A Short Drink... and The Long Morrow. The writing may not be the finest but some of these are a ton o'fun.
 

 


#11 of 44 Steve Tannehill

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Posted August 31 2011 - 07:03 AM

I just got an email from Amazon with their preorder price guarantee for S5, $48.49 being the final price.

#12 of 44 Craig Beam

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Posted August 31 2011 - 07:42 AM

Yup, Amazon credited me the difference. What a bunch of swell folks. Initial thoughts: I'm a bit pissed that five original scores aren't isolated on season five. They are: Black Leather Jackets (Van Cleave) From Agnes, With Love (Van Cleave) Queen of the Nile (Lucien Morawack) Caesar and Me (Richard Shores) Mr. Garrity and the Graves (Tommy Morgan) I really wanted the Van Cleaves, especially the jazzy "Black Leather Jackets." I imagine I'll NEVER acquire these scores now (along with season one's "Time Enough at Last" by Leith Stevens). That makes 6 "lost" scores altogether... I guess it's not bad, given how many Image did give us... but if they really went back to the original negatives, why couldn't isolated tracks be provided for EVERY SINGLE EPISODE? Sheesh. Oh, and the American Masters documentary on Rod Serling isn't here either (it was included in the Definitive DVD set). I guess Image didn't want to spring for a high-def transfer. Oh well.... I'm keeping the DVD sets anyway (I greatly prefer the graphic design versus the blu-rays). The good news... the episodes look and sound fantastic. And now I've got the entire series in high definition, only taking up about three inches on my shelf. :D

#13 of 44 Charles Smith

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Posted August 31 2011 - 07:47 AM

Aw, son of a BITCH.  I love the cover art too, but I really do not want to keep the whole DVD set just for one thing, in this case the documentary.  Boy, does that suck.  The documentary!  What are they thinking?


Agree re isolated scores, too.



#14 of 44 Craig Beam

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Posted August 31 2011 - 12:39 PM

Aw, son of a BITCH.  I love the cover art too, but I really do not want to keep the whole DVD set just for one thing, in this case the documentary.  Boy, does that suck.  The documentary!  What are they thinking?


Agree re isolated scores, too.

Chas, the Serling documentary is available separately... I used to have it, before Image included it in the season 5 DVD set (at which point I sold it on eBay). I think it might be out of print, but it shouldn't be too difficult to track down (should you decide to unload the DVDs). Image released the original DVD, so I have no idea why they didn't include it on the blu-ray. It's a fantastic documentary.

#15 of 44 TravisR

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Posted August 31 2011 - 01:21 PM

Come Wander With Me - worst episode ever

From Agnes With Love

Ring a Ding Girl - most non-sequiter episode ever

Black Leather Jackets

The Fear

Ceasar And Me - written by a secretary!

I am the Night, Color Me Black

For some reason (must be a masochistic streak), I enjoy Ring-A-Ding Girl, Come Wander With Me and The Fear despite their flaws. But yeah, I Am The Night, Color Me Black is heavy handed even for Serling and Black Leather Jackets wins my vote as the worst episode of the season. And I may be run out of the TZ fan community for saying this but I never got the love for Number 12 Looks Like You. It's not a bad episode but I never found it to be all that special.

#16 of 44 Charles Smith

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Posted August 31 2011 - 03:13 PM

Thanks, Craig.  I'll track it down.



#17 of 44 Nelson Au

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Posted September 01 2011 - 03:16 AM

I'm looking forward to picking this up and completing the collection on blu ray! Hard to believe the Season 5 DVD Definitive Edition came out in 2004.

#18 of 44 Lord Dalek

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Posted September 01 2011 - 04:05 AM

I have a horrible suspicion that Image will include the Submitted For Your Approval documentary as well as the Jack Benny clip when they eventually do the complete series on blu-ray box.



#19 of 44 Charles Smith

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Posted September 01 2011 - 04:50 AM

Just ordered the standalone copy of the documentary.

And that is indeed a horrible suspicion -- but has Image done that kind of thing in the past?



#20 of 44 GlennH

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Posted September 03 2011 - 06:59 AM

Chase Amazon VISA customers can now order at 20% off (under $39) with coupon code SEP20OFF. I still needed Seasons 3, 4, and 5 - got all 3 with this offer.





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