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Your Father's Outer Limits - Favorite Episodes


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#21 of 43 OFFLINE   Berkshires

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Posted February 06 2013 - 06:14 AM

Originally Posted by Jack P 

OL always came off to me as far more instinctively pretentious than did TZ, which for the most part avoided that because as a half hour show, TZ had to concentrate more on storytelling whereas at an hour, an OL episode could so often seem either padded or designed to be more sledgehammer like in terms of its "message". As a result, the show did not grab me much.


I thought Twilight Zone had many more episodes that were either pretentious or sledgehammer-preachy, and I say this as someone who basically agreed with the sentiments expressed. My main complaint against Twilight Zone is the excessive amount of padding. In many episodes, after the initial premise of the story is established in the first two or three minutes, the ending is so obvious that the story just serves as a step-by-step device to lead the viewer to the inevitable conclusion that was obvious to him from the start. Too many episodes were half-hour versions of stories that could have been told in ten minutes, while the hourlong shows from Season 4 seem downright interminable.

Outer Limits had its share of padding and message shows too, but I think the percentage of offending episodes was much smaller. Most of The Outer Limits episodes struck me as stories that happened to have a message, while too many Twilight Zones seemed to be a message that just happened to have a story tacked on.


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#22 of 43 OFFLINE   Hollywoodaholic

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Posted February 06 2013 - 07:35 AM

Rod Serling made no bones about the fact he used science fiction to cover some pressing social issues he couldn't get away with in a regular drama form on such a broad medium as television. How about an episode where a black man in a bigoted town is sentenced to hang when the sun comes up... and the sun never does? You may call that 'preachy,' but I call that fantastically poetic. Once you actually start making a living as a writer, it's often inevitable that just telling another story isn't always enough to motivate your work. Many of the most successful writers of Serling's generation, after spending years learning their craft, and empathizing with the characters from all walks of life they had created, inevitably began infusing their stories with a conscience, as well. And God bless them for it. I like to think of "The Twilight Zone" as the Aesop's Fables for the generation who grew up with it. More so than those early childhood fairy tales, that show put the complex moral lessons of a conscientious life in a delicious candy wrapper.

#23 of 43 OFFLINE   Jack P

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Posted February 06 2013 - 08:42 AM

"I Am The Night Color Me Black" is in fact, the perfect example for me of what happens when Serling loses his moorings and becomes as pretentious as say.....Herbert Brodkin. But for the most part, I have found that TZ episodes that are classics and which have made the show classics are not the episodes that get on that kind of soapbox. If it's to give us a message that cuts across the basic political divide, then that's something I find no fault in. In OL however, what I saw were "message" shows that were more often tied to specific agendas and that's where I found myself becoming more and more restless and not captivated by what I saw.

#24 of 43 OFFLINE   Shatner's Grim Reaper

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Posted February 06 2013 - 09:00 AM

OK whether these examples and others are Preachers....Choir and/or Congregation....both are great examples of why we prefer "classic TV". Am I right? :D

#25 of 43 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted February 06 2013 - 11:19 AM

"I Am The Night Color Me Black" is in fact, the perfect example for me of what happens when Serling loses his moorings and becomes as pretentious as say.....Herbert Brodkin.

Yeah, I gotta agree. I usually like the messages and their presentation on TZ but I Am The Night... gets too heavy handed for me to enjoy.

#26 of 43 ONLINE   jimmyjet

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Posted February 06 2013 - 12:42 PM

Rod Serling made no bones about the fact he used science fiction to cover some pressing social issues he couldn't get away with in a regular drama form on such a broad medium as television. How about an episode where a black man in a bigoted town is sentenced to hang when the sun comes up... and the sun never does? You may call that 'preachy,' but I call that fantastically poetic. Once you actually start making a living as a writer, it's often inevitable that just telling another story isn't always enough to motivate your work. Many of the most successful writers of Serling's generation, after spending years learning their craft, and empathizing with the characters from all walks of life they had created, inevitably began infusing their stories with a conscience, as well. And God bless them for it. I like to think of "The Twilight Zone" as the Aesop's Fables for the generation who grew up with it. More so than those early childhood fairy tales, that show put the complex moral lessons of a conscientious life in a delicious candy wrapper.

gosh, well said. aesop's fables tell us everything we need to know about ourselves. this is what i meant in my first post. the message was the whole purpose of tz. so i cant really figure out somebody liking it, if they dont like that aspect. sorta like going to a football game, but not wanting to see any physical contact. i dont equate "message" with "preaching". message is simply getting a point across. why i like star trek so much. the science fiction setting is just that - a setting. the story is relevant to the human situation. i actually thought tz had a lot of good hooks at the end, that were not all very predictable. i remember being totally surprised when the old lady smashed the spaceship, and at the last second we see usa. boy, did that one ever have a good message. but the big effect occurs at first watching. it sounds to me like most of you on this thread have seen these shows countless numbers of times. so i have to question just how well you recall your initial reaction the first time that you saw it ? this show was liked by adults. and i dont ever recall any adult complaining that the ending was too predictable. i can recall my dad and me watching them, and having a game as to who could guess what the final outcome was gonna be. it would not have been much fun if they were easily predictable. tz was pretty far ahead of its time. of course, i was just a kid when i saw them. and havent really seen much since. but boy, did they ever make me think about stuff, regarding my behavior, what was right and wrong, etc.

#27 of 43 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted February 06 2013 - 12:45 PM

Rod Serling made no bones about the fact he used science fiction to cover some pressing social issues he couldn't get away with in a regular drama form on such a broad medium as television. How about an episode where a black man in a bigoted town is sentenced to hang when the sun comes up... and the sun never does?

Not to nitpick but it's a white guy who killed the town bigot/bully. I think Ivan Dixon played a preacher in the episode though.

#28 of 43 OFFLINE   Jack P

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Posted February 06 2013 - 12:52 PM

Not to nitpick but it's a white guy who killed the town bigot/bully.

Chief Sharkey (Terry Becker) of "Voyage To The Bottom of The Sea" no less! (minus his toupee)

#29 of 43 OFFLINE   Hollywoodaholic

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Posted February 07 2013 - 02:58 AM

Not to nitpick but it's a white guy who killed the town bigot/bully. I think Ivan Dixon played a preacher in the episode though.

Thanks, it's been a while. Interesting that I remembered it that way - Ivan Dixon made the impact, but the essential message about bigotry was there. I've tasked myself with re-watching these all in the Blu-ray set. I'm starting with the hour-longs in season 4, which I remember often felt stretched out. But with the crystalline clear picture, you find yourself noticing details you never saw before (like the stitching on the upholstery in the 63? Ford Fairlane in "In His Image," or the laughable computer and kiln where he creates the robot version of himself. I remember as a kid being freaked when he rips his skin and sees the wiring.) And knowing more about the authors, such as Charles Beaumont, you understand better what adult themes they were trying to get across ("How would I make a better me?")

#30 of 43 OFFLINE   Neil Brock

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Posted February 07 2013 - 04:14 AM

"I Am The Night Color Me Black" is in fact, the perfect example for me of what happens when Serling loses his moorings and becomes as pretentious as say.....Herbert Brodkin. But for the most part, I have found that TZ episodes that are classics and which have made the show classics are not the episodes that get on that kind of soapbox. If it's to give us a message that cuts across the basic political divide, then that's something I find no fault in. In OL however, what I saw were "message" shows that were more often tied to specific agendas and that's where I found myself becoming more and more restless and not captivated by what I saw.

And exactly how many Herbert Brodkin shows have you seen? Unless you are in your mid-60s or older, there is no way that you would be old enough to have watched The Defenders, The Nurses and For The People, his 3 signature series. But feel free to take shots at his work anyway. Why let lack of exposure to it stand in your way. And by the way, why the lack of equal animosity towards David Susskind? Much of his television work went down the same path, even more so. I guess because his company also turned out some fluff shows like Get Smart and Supermarket Sweep, he gets a free pass. Really sorry that Brodkin's work didn't rise to the exhalted level of an Aaron Spelling or Sherwood Schwartz.

#31 of 43 OFFLINE   Richard V

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Posted February 07 2013 - 04:29 AM

I love both shows, but have a bigger place in my heart for TZ. Although the stories told in OL were in many cases the equal of the morality tales of TZ, the often laughable special effects and make up kinda took away from the overall presentation. I realize that we are talking about 50 yrs ago, and the special effects industry was (esp for TV) in its' relative infancy, but it still left something to be desired. Having said that, the effects in The Zanti Misfits, and The Bellaro Sheild were more than good enough to scare the crap outta me as a child.
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#32 of 43 OFFLINE   Berkshires

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Posted February 07 2013 - 05:45 AM

Originally Posted by Jack P 

 In OL however, what I saw were "message" shows that were more often tied to specific agendas and that's where I found myself becoming more and more restless and not captivated by what I saw.


Just out of curiosity, which episodes did you find most objectionable? I only ask because my impression is that Outer Limits had more of a humanistic approach than a political one.


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#33 of 43 OFFLINE   Jack P

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Posted February 07 2013 - 05:59 AM

And exactly how many Herbert Brodkin shows have you seen? Unless you are in your mid-60s or older, there is no way that you would be old enough to have watched The Defenders, The Nurses and For The People, his 3 signature series. But feel free to take shots at his work anyway. Why let lack of exposure to it stand in your way. And by the way, why the lack of equal animosity towards David Susskind? Much of his television work went down the same path, even more so. I guess because his company also turned out some fluff shows like Get Smart and Supermarket Sweep, he gets a free pass. Really sorry that Brodkin's work didn't rise to the exhalted level of an Aaron Spelling or Sherwood Schwartz.

More than enough, actually. Sitting through all episodes of "For The People" (I obtained a set of episodes because I wanted to see what this was like, especially with the cast and the location shooting) and trying to get through "Coronet Blue" pretty much made clear what the general style of a Brodkin format is, just as you can also after seeing "Dragnet" and "Adam-12" figure out what a Jack Webb format is. But you know, you do hit on one point. Maybe it would have done Brodkin a world of good to diversify himself and recognize that TV should provide things that can appeal to people for different reasons. Goodness knows Richard Levinson and William Link produced their share of pretentious TV movies that I have no desire to revisit or experience (the last credited work of theirs, which was all about giving a "fair trial" to an Arab terrorist really comes off as offensively naive in the post-9/11 period IMO) but they at least gave me Detective Columbo and also another great entertaining mystery free from agendas in "Ellery Queen." Heck, I'm the kind of person who can even enjoy a Jane Fonda movie from the 1960s that has no political subtext or agenda (plus, she looks great which is a dividend too!) because I believe that even if someone has done work that I don't like, if they can produce work that fits more into my concept of what TV does best for audiences of *all* people, then I'll give them credit for it. Maybe if Brodkin had recognized that instead of sneering at the audience as a bunch of monkeys, he might have lasted longer in the business. As for David Susskind, I'll be glad to take shots at him as a talk show host compared to others who did the genre better. When it comes to "Get Smart" though, I hardly think he can lay claim to any credit for its creative success or for the creative input behind why it became a hit series.

#34 of 43 OFFLINE   Neil Brock

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Posted February 07 2013 - 09:17 AM

Coronet Blue had no political or social issues in it whatsoever so I haven't a clue as to what your beef is with that show. Its a about an amnesiac searching for his identity and the people who tried to kill him still hunting him. Other than one episode which took place on a college campus, I can't think of any other stories anyone would be offended by. He also produced the western series, Shane, which while not a great series, certainly wasn't issue-driven. What about things his TV movies and miniseries like Pueblo (about the ship seized by North Korea), Siege (black hoodlums terrorizing elderly citizens in a project), Deadliest Season (hockey violence), Holocaust, Murrow (Edward R. Murrow bio)? Personally, I like to see things that make me think and that might teach me something. Nor does everything I watch have to have my point of view.

#35 of 43 OFFLINE   Jack P

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Posted February 07 2013 - 09:28 AM

The Candice Bergen college campus episode is precisely the one that lost me completely but there was the general problem that this show's format wasn't working as entertainment in terms of not advancing it storyline at all and proving to be on an entertainment level a weak knockoff of the Fugitive concept. In The Fugitive we knew Dr. Kimble wasn't going to clear himself that week and could concentrate on the story. But the story of an amnesiac requires some answers and forward momentum or else you're just cheating and vamping from a storytelling standpoint. So I'll be prepared to say that the failure of that show IMO (and Frank Converse said pretty much the same thing) is that as entertainment it was not very good compared to a show like The Fugitive that derived from it. But the Candice Bergen episode is the one that was in-your-face to the max with an agenda about the nobility of campus protests in all forms. I do remember seeing "Murrow" on HBO and seeing a not very good history lesson.

#36 of 43 OFFLINE   Neil Brock

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Posted February 08 2013 - 04:12 AM

Coronet Blue was supposed to premiere in the fall of 1965 but got yanked off the schedule at the last minute by CBS when they decided to renew Slattery's People, another great series. When they didn't find a place for it that season or the following season, they decided to burn off the episodes in the summer of 1967. The show was stuck on the schedule with no promotion or fanfare on Mondays at 10PM where it proceeded to draw great ratings. CBS wanted to continue with the series but by that time Frank Converse had signed to do NYPD and was unavailable. Otherwise the show would have been picked up for the fall. To this day, amongst those of us who watched it that summer, it has a cult following. The late, great Jump the Shark website had dozens of posts about it and not one negative rating. For those of us of a certain age, it remains one of the great lost shows of the 60s.

#37 of 43 OFFLINE   Richard V

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Posted February 08 2013 - 06:45 AM

And the Theme Song was GREAT!!!
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#38 of 43 OFFLINE   Jack P

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Posted February 08 2013 - 08:02 AM

Neil, if it comes out on DVD, then I will be happy you will have the chance to spend your own money and devote your own time to watching it, just like I hope you get the chance to do the same with other titles you want to see. Unlike a certain other individual who shall remain nameless, I do not believe that a show I personally don't think was very good should be suppressed from viewing by others just because it does not rise to my particular standards of what should be on DVD. I did get a chance to see it, and I have to concur with what Frank Converse himself had to say about it. "It was just a taking-off point, a story gimmick, one I think would offend any adult watching the show. The Fugitive was much more sophisticated in that respect, in its premise, in filling in background. We had no premise--just amnesia, period. The show was so general it's almost impossible to talk about." Of course I can also add that as one of the biggest fans of classic TV game shows, it doesn't thrill me to note that to put it on the CBS schedule, the network axed both "To Tell The Truth "and "Password" from the primetime schedule, both of which are shows I regard as bona fide classics of their genre. And he also I might add hits upon the same reason why I am not a devotee of Patrick McGoohan's "The Prisoner" because after a while, that show's refusal to provide some background and clarity wore thin on me as well. I am not among those who want to hear some critic say I'm missing the point when I express my dissastisfaction with lack of answers on story narrative (this is also I might add why I think Kubrick's "2001" is one of the most overrated films of all time), and that I'm supposed to be looking at some deeper philosophical point etc. If you're going to set up a premise that is designed to keep me guessing on what its all about and what it all means, then be big enough to start moving things along in a way where I can eventually make a reasonable guess at the answers or else what you're left with is lazy writing and storytelling IMO.

#39 of 43 OFFLINE   Neil Brock

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Posted February 08 2013 - 05:40 PM

I would love to get a nice quality remastered DVD set but its not a top priority as I have all 13 episodes from various sources and in varying quality. Given the choice, I would much prefer to see some of my other wants released that I don't have many episodes of.

#40 of 43 OFFLINE   Hollywoodaholic

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Posted February 10 2013 - 09:56 AM

What was the show Frank Converse did with Claude Akins about truckers? I remember that didn't last very long, either.




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