HTF REVIEW: "The Outer Limits" Season One (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Aug 7, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
    Owner

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 1997
    Messages:
    49,193
    Likes Received:
    5,980
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein
    [​IMG]

    The Outer Limits: The Original Series
    Season One




    Studio: MGM
    Year: 1963-1964
    Rated: NR
    Film Length: 27 hours, 22 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: Standard (1.33:1) Transfers



    "There is nothing wrong with your television set.
    Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are
    controlling transmission. If we wish to make it
    louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish
    to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper.
    We can reduce the focus to a soft blur, or sharpen
    it to crystal clarity. We will control the horizontal.
    We will control the vertical. For the next hour,
    sit quietly and we will control all that you see and
    hear. You are about to experience the awe and mystery
    which reaches from the inner mind to THE OUTER LIMITS".

    Many of you looking for an enthusiast's review
    of The Outer Limits are going to be
    disappointed by my review. Being a huge fan of
    the Twilight Zone, I never had much interest
    in this series that seemed to be a poor man's version
    of Rod Serling's series. The episodes were a bit
    too talkative (30 minutes would have been more fitting)
    and there was much inconsistency from episode to
    episode. On the upside, this was truly the first
    TV show to take sci-fi seriously, with thought-
    provoking stories that really gave afterthought. It
    was also amazing how with a limited budget, the
    show's producers were able to establish a creepy
    mood that delivered great scares.
    You must admire the fact, however, that this series
    co-created by Joseph Stefano (who wrote many of the
    scripts for the show) attracted a cavalcade of big
    name stars that included Eddie Albert, Edward Asner,
    Dabney Coleman, Michael Constantine, Robert Culp,
    Bruce Dern, James Doohan, Cliff Robertson, Martin Sheen,
    Adam West, Robert Duvall, Sally Kellerman, Martin Landau,
    David McCallum, Vera Miles, Leonard Nimoy, Lloyd Nolan,
    Warren Oates and Donald Pleasence.
    [​IMG]
    The Outer Limits arrives from MGM Home Video
    in a bulky Nexpak case which holds four double-sided,
    dual-layer discs that carry a whopping total of 32
    episodes that run about 51 minutes each. Can you
    imagine so many episodes in one season?!
    [​IMG]
    Inside the case is an attractive 12-page color
    booklet that becomes an episode guide companion,
    listing the credits and a brief synopsis of each
    episode. While its strange to see chapter stops
    listed beside each episode, It's a relief to see
    air dates listed here as well.
    Let me also angrily state that absolutely no
    subtitles have been included in this DVD package.
    I would have thought MGM, from past experience,
    would have known better than to ignore the fact
    that there are hearing impaired individuals who
    rely on subtitles to enhance their viewing experience.
    I took the opportunity to sample 3 episodes that
    I most vividly remember from childhood, in order to
    judge this set's audio and video quality.
    [​IMG]
    The Galaxy Being
    Executive Producer Leslie Stevens' pilot episode
    where we meet a technician at a radio station (Cliff
    Robertson) who makes contact with an alien being.
    They chat about life, death and God. The technician
    realizes this alien is very much like himself. While
    Maxwell is gone more power is added to the radio
    station and the alien is "transmitted" to earth as
    he roams through town in a violent spree.
    [​IMG]
    It crawled out of the woodwork
    A cleaning woman unwittingly gives life to a
    strobing growling chaotic cloud of lethal energy.
    A mad scientist skillfully controls this "thing"
    to terrify employees to death, and then resurrect
    them with pacemakers in order to create fully
    compliant slaves. This episode is a perfect
    example of Joseph Stefano's tightly drawn writing
    and Conrad Hall's somber photography.
    [​IMG]
    The Bellero Shield
    Without doubt, one of the best episodes in the
    series with an all-star cast that features Martin
    Landau, Sally Kellerman and Chita Rivera. It's
    the story of a benevolent alien and the malevolent
    humans out to exploit him. When an alien rides
    a light beam to scientist's lab, the alien
    demonstrates a force field shield, which nothing
    can penetrate. After convincing the alien to lower
    it's protective shield, the scientist's wife
    shoots it, stealing it's shield device.
    How is the transfer?
    While each of the episodes have their share
    of print blemishes (some slightly more than others),
    you'll be happy to know that the overall quality
    of these episodes are quite good. Some shows
    look sharper than others, but there seems to be
    a consistent clarity and deep black level throughout.
    What you will notice is a visible amount of video
    noise in the background that is most likely enhanced
    by the clarity of the DVD format. Most of the
    video noise can be seen in the effects shots more
    than anywhere else. Still, given the era of the
    original TV broadcast, these episodes look above
    average.
    The Dolby Digital mono soundtrack manages to keep
    dialogue above the small amount of background hiss.
    The problem is that these episodes have a very
    high "shrill" to them that often become just
    slightly over modulated. Again, one must take into
    account that these shows were produced for televisions
    of its time that had tiny little speakers. Fidelity
    was not a priority.
    Special Features
    [​IMG]
    There are no added features in this set whatsoever,
    though it would be criminal not to point out the
    clever animated menu that MGM has put on this disc
    that warns us not to adjust our DVD player.
    Final Thoughts
    Though overshadowed by The Twilight Zone,
    The Outer Limits still managed to hold its
    own in a pre-Star Trek era. Most of its themes
    dealt with the fear of the unknown, and the
    unfortunate human tendency to destroy what we
    don't understand. It's not too surprising that
    those themes still exist nearly 40 years later.
    Release Date: September 3, 2002
     
  2. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2001
    Messages:
    11,380
    Likes Received:
    38
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thank you for the nice review, Ron. May I point out that MGM has indeed released TV product before: Stargate SG-1.

    It sounds like fans of the show will be quite pleased. My wife and her stepdad hugely prefer OL to TZ, so they will love this!

    Also worth noting: first time I've seen a NexPak in action. Thanks for the box shot of it open like that.
     
  3. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2000
    Messages:
    5,432
    Likes Received:
    1,732
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems
    Real Name:
    Doug
    I'm lined up for this release as well. The Outer Limits gave me nightmares when I was a kid, and I'm looking forward to hopefully revisiting some of that fear. Thanks for the review Ron!
     
  4. Peter Manojlovich

    Peter Manojlovich Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    277
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I find the remark about The Outer Limits to be a poor man's version of The Twilight Zone to be highly inappropriate and completely off the mark. The Outer Limits was a sci-fi based hour long dramatic anthology series, that certainly did not feature the ironic humor that categorized The Twilight Zone.

    One has to look at TOL from a historical perspective. At the time of the series, most science fiction on film and TV tended to consist of hostile aliens bent on the destruction of the earth. The special effects have not aged well over time, but the story-telling is far more sophisticated than current space opera offerings, which form the bulk of what passes for sci-fi today. The series was not afraid to be intensely dramatic, romantic, tragic and ironic. An episode that typifies all these traits was The Man Who Was Never Born with Martin Landau and Shirley Knight. Time travel is a common theme in sci-fi, but rarely have the consequences been brought home quite so pointedlly and elegantly. The last scene in the episode is by turns both tragically ironic and horrifying.
     
  5. Craig Beam

    Craig Beam Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2000
    Messages:
    1,965
    Likes Received:
    462
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Location:
    Gresham, OR
    Real Name:
    Craig Beam
    Man, the wait is killin' me! I was sorely tempted to dig out my VHS copies last night, but I managed to restrain myself....

    The question that remains is: when can we expect Season 2? My all-time favorite episode aired during the second season ("Demon With A Glass Hand")....
     
  6. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

    Joined:
    May 9, 2001
    Messages:
    15,685
    Likes Received:
    527
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    North Texas
    Real Name:
    Greg
    Now that TZ and TOL are available, what are the chances we'll see Thriller sets?
     
  7. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2001
    Messages:
    3,594
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Nice review! I have this on pre-order & can hardly wait.[​IMG]
     
  8. todd s

    todd s Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 1999
    Messages:
    7,133
    Likes Received:
    76
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Thanks for the review, Ron. I am looking forward to the episode "A Feasability Study". Just for those in terested I found this tidbit in TV Tome regarding the episode "Demon with a Glass Hand"--- (possible spoilers for this episode)
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    "Ellison(the stories writer) originally discussed doing a sequel of the episode for the TV series Babylon 5, which would have shown Trent coming to the station while still pursued by the Kyben. (The title that was announced was "Demon on the Run". Ellison says that this was never the title) These plans never materialized."
     
  9. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 1999
    Messages:
    16,738
    Likes Received:
    129
    Trophy Points:
    0
    To this day, I consider Joseph Stefano's The Outer Limits the finest-ever SF series ever to grace television. Superb, superb show with an emphasis on solid, plausible storytelling. I preordered this set as soon as it went up at the online vendors. Can't friggin' wait!
     
  10. Ben Motley

    Ben Motley Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Messages:
    738
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    -sigh- No subs... that does blow. [​IMG]
    I'll still get it, as I'm not fully deaf, but older shows with their limited fidelity definitely is a challenge to me.
     
  11. Roberto Carlo

    Roberto Carlo Second Unit

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2002
    Messages:
    445
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
     
  12. Darren D

    Darren D Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    May 23, 2001
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    No subtitles. Do these studios think deaf or HOH people don't care to see old television shows that were aired before closed captioning was used?? [​IMG] I would LOVE to see The Outer Limits!
    The release of the Dark Shadows set without subs or captions very, very painful for me, BTW. When I got into DVDs I immediately began wishing for Dark Shadows. I guess I'll just have to forget about this show...I get infuriated when I think of it.
    Maybe someone could start a thread about TV shows that are neither captioned or subtitled in English? Or maybe there is a site that lists TV shows and movies without them? I've been playing around with the idea of buying Stargate SG1, but I now see it would be a bad idea.
     
  13. Craig Beam

    Craig Beam Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2000
    Messages:
    1,965
    Likes Received:
    462
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Location:
    Gresham, OR
    Real Name:
    Craig Beam
    Isn't Closed Captioning required these days? Call me dense, but it was my understanding that some clause in the Americans With Disabilities Act specifically mandated that all new TVs had to have a CC decoder built in... I'm no expert on this subject, but it seemds to me that all DVDs (well, region 1 discs anyway) would be required by law to include captions (even if subtitles are eschewed) in order to be ADA-compliant. What's the point in imposing hardware requirements if the software is immune to them?
     
  14. Alex-C

    Alex-C Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2000
    Messages:
    1,238
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Chalk me up as another avid fan of The Original Outer Limits. My brother and I always made time to sit down and watch these episodes, even at a very early age. I wonder if young kids can get interested in old low budget (albeit well written) sci-fi with all the f/x these days.

    Damn ! From now until the end of the year looks to be expensive !
     
  15. Craig Beam

    Craig Beam Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2000
    Messages:
    1,965
    Likes Received:
    462
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Location:
    Gresham, OR
    Real Name:
    Craig Beam
    It looks like the booklet lays on TOP of the first disc in the Nexpak... Ron, is this the case? Considering the double-sided nature of the discs, I'm a little worried about potential scratches....
     
  16. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
    Owner

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 1997
    Messages:
    49,193
    Likes Received:
    5,980
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein
    Craig,

    The book resides in its own clip compartment
    inside the front cover below a disc holding section
    that swings out.

    The disc does not make contact with the book.
     
  17. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2001
    Messages:
    11,380
    Likes Received:
    38
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ron, that's the best picture of you yet! But your eyes look glazed and your face is kinda yellowish. And what's with that hairdo?... [​IMG]
     
  18. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2000
    Messages:
    5,172
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    This set is Closed Captioned. Don't attack me guys, it's just a fact.
     
  19. Steve Spin

    Steve Spin Extra

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hey Ron!
    Another great review!
    I manage a video store...so I got mine yesterday.
    I will say that I think Twilight Zone is better.
    They are both great. I just think of the Original Outer Limits as a "Monster" show with intelligence.
    Keep up the GREAT work!
    Steve
    www.dvdaficionado.com/dvds.html?id=crushersteve
     
  20. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 1999
    Messages:
    13,225
    Likes Received:
    1,890
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    I just took a look at this set. It's great to see it finally on DVD. I've had the 4 laserdisc box sets that were released some years ago and now it's great to see the other shows not released on that set. I truely hope that MGM is preparing the second year's shows.

    One thing I was amused by, the control voice that was created for the menus. I assume that Vic Perrin is no longer with us, it would have been great if he could have voiced it as he originally had.

    MGM, please release the second year of the Original Outer Limits!

    Nelson
     

Share This Page