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The Outer Limits: Season One (1963-1964) - Blu-ray Review

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The Outer Limits: Season One (1963-1964) - Blu-ray Review

Review

5 beersCampy. Hard. Serious. Weird. Whatever word you use to describe your interpretation of this benchmark television show, just know that you aren’t wrong. The Outer Limits, for a large portion of us, continues to be EVERYTHING.  The Twilight Zone, as awesome as it remains, was a lot of things.  What it NEVER was, though, was The Outer Limits.

Some people are Beatles fans. Some prefer The Stones. The same can be said of The Outer Limits vs. The Twilight Zone. Both had great writers. Both had great actors. And both left their mark on the popular culture. So much so that, to this day, I often argue with my friends about whether an episode that everyone loves was in The Outer Limits of The Twilight Zone. It can get confusing when you are dealing with material this rich and exciting.

Fortunately, when it comes to this guy’s favorite things, there is room for both television shows and that makes Kino’s release of the very first season of The Outer Limits so damn welcome. Yes, the show was a certified knock-off but, if you ask me, so are a lot of great things in our culture. You wouldn’t have Star Wars without Buck Rogers, Star Trek without Wagon Train, and so on. And don’t even get me started on everything AWESOME that stemmed from artists wanting to capitalize on the success of JAWS. You see, in my world view, there is room for EVERYBODY and EVERYTHING.

"The Outer Limits, complete with assorted audio commentaries and new HD scans for each episode (spread across a total of seven discs), is, in my view, a strong contender for the Blu-Ray set release of the year."


 "There is nothing wrong with your television set," says a mysterious voice (actor Vic Perrin) as the screen swipes all sorts of wonky thanks to its oscilloscope opening. Static, flickering light, and then, through the noise, there is this warning: “do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission." Oh, hell, yes. You, Controller of my Destiny for the next hour, have my full attention.  

Welcome to The Outer Limits, a television show – thanks to the involvement of the man who shaped Psycho for Hitchcock – that kicks all sorts of ass, beginning with its warped opening. Nailed it. And, like I said, it is all due to Joseph Stefano, who was more interested in mystery and in science than in telling a narrative with a moral to it. A lot of that nonsense sunk some really epic Twilight Zone episodes. There’s little of that hoo-ha here in the first season of The Outer Limits.

The first (and so wonderfully weird) season of this show, as helmed by Stefano, was all about creating fear and tension. Nothing was held back. And audiences were addicted. For an anthology show as extreme as this – thanks to awesome lightning techniques usually reserved for film noir flicks and solid scripts – it became necessary to up the action and tighten-up the science. Gone were the fantasy elements of The Twilight Zone. There would be none of that while Stefano was in charge.

For 32 episodes, from 1963 to 1964, The Outer Limits brought the fear to Monday nights. Americans were hooked. We had some serious science fiction, but there was also the big, the bad, and the (often) ugly monster to deal with. For a television show that originally only lasted for two seasons, its influence and its impact is still being felt today. And that, ghouls and boils, is pretty damn impressive.  With a massive list of featured stars that included Ed Asner, Dabney Coleman, Robert Culp, Bruce Dern, Robert Duvall, Mimsy Farmer, Sally Kellerman, Martin Landau, Vera Miles, Leonard Nimoy, Warren Oates, Carroll O Connor, Donald Pleasence, Cliff Robertson, Martin Sheen, and Henry Silva, the series never disappointed.   

The Outer Limits, complete with assorted audio commentaries and new HD scans for each episode (spread across a total of seven discs), is, in my view, a strong contender for the Blu-Ray set release of the year. Kino Lorber has done it again.

The Outer Limits: Season One (1963-1964) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Kino Lorber
Available on Blu-ray - March 27, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.33:1
Subtitles: English SDH
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; seven-disc set
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Presented with your typical 1.33:1 Full Screen aspect ratio, The Outer Limits looks brand spanking new all over again. The images live and breathe again with a crispness that only 1080p can provide. Honestly, for over 1600 minutes, there’s not one flagged moment of black-and-white goodness. This black-and-white series relies on atmosphere to carry its suspense and, as it is loaded with deep blacks and white grays, the shadows must be well defined. Thanks to the 4K remastering effort, all shadows are leveled appropriately, making these details rich and textures thick. Skin tones are solid and black levels – never corrupted by the image – are magnified thanks to the fine efforts from Kino Lorber. The audio is supplied with an English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio Surround for all episodes.

Supplements:

Commentary:

The set comes with assorted audio commentaries by genre and subject authors David J. Schow, Tim Lucas, Craig Beam, Dr. Reba Wissner. Gary Gerani, Michael Hyatt, and Steve Mitchell. They do not disappoint with their knowledge of the television show.

Special Features:

The set comes with a 40-page booklet/episode guide that collector’s will love. It is written by David Schow and has a lot of great photographs.

There's Nothing Wrong with Your Television Set Booklet

 

The Outer Limits: Season One (1963-1964) - Blu-ray Review

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