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

  • Reviewed by: Tim Salmons
  • Review Date: Oct 12, 2022
  • Format: Blu-ray Disc
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Outer Limits, The: Season One (Blu-ray Review)

Director

Various

Release Date(s)

1963-1964 (August 23, 2022)

Studio(s)

United Artists Television/ABC (Kino Lorber Studio Classics)
  • Film/Program Grade: B+
  • Video Grade: A-
  • Audio Grade: B+
  • Extras Grade: B+

The Outer Limits: Season One (Blu-ray)

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Review

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 will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur, or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about the participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to... The Outer Limits.”

The TV landscape of the 1950s and the 1960s had already had its share of science fiction programming by the time The Outer Limits premiered in September of 1963. This included, but wasn't limited to, Tales of Tomorrow, Science Fiction Theater, One Step Beyond, and of course, The Twilight Zone. While the argument as to which show was better, The Outer Limits or The Twilight Zone, continues to be debated among fans of both shows, it's clear that each of them made a distinctive mark upon their audiences.

Anthological storytelling with a heavy dose of morality and the otherworldly was the framing device of choice for both shows. While The Twilight Zone depended more on characters being put into fantastical situations, usually with a twist of some kind, The Outer Limits relied more on scientifically-informed narratives and character development. I personally have no love for one show over the other, but the differences between them aren't terribly difficult to discern. It's a bit like the differences between Star Trek and Star Wars. The show's stark opening with a single dot of light appearing in the center of the screen with an unseen narrator informing the audience that “There's nothing wrong with your television set” only made it that much more memorable, particularly to anybody watching that was 12 or younger who had their wits scared out of them.

Created by Leslie Stevens and airing from 1963 to 1965, The Outer Limits only managed to garner a total of 49 episodes, most of which aired during its first season (it was unfortunately canceled later on during its second). Each episode dealt with something different, whether it involved alien beings from other worlds (Corpus Earthling) or human development and communication (The Hundred Days of the Dragon). Fan favorite episodes from Season One included Nightmare, The Invisibles, Don't Open 'Til Doomsday, The Sixth Finger, The Bellero Shield, The Zanti Misfits, and The Architects of Fear, with others to follow in Season Two. Attempts to reboot the show have only been mildly successful, depending upon who you ask, but nothing can ever touch the original show's quality.

Kino Lorber Studio Classics re-issues Season One of The Outer Limits on Blu-ray with the same remarkable high definition presentations of each and every episode. For a show of its vintage, having anything leftover to do any kind of a transfer is special enough, but the video quality here far surpasses any previous DVD releases by a country mile. Each episode features a naturally film-like presentation with solid grain structures, outside of occasional opticals. Deep blacks and natural whites are also on display, the latter of which never appear blown out. Grayscale and overall brightness and contrast levels are nearly perfect while stability is never an issue. There may be an occasional missing frame here or there, as well as mild speckling and scratches, but it’s otherwise free of any obvious debris.

Audio is included in English 2.0 mono LPCM with optional subtitles in English SDH. While it has its obvious limits due to how and when it was recorded, it's recreated beautifully for modern home video consumption. Everything is separated well without any heavy distortion. Dialogue is clean and clear while the score has some surprising weight to it. It's also free of any major leftover damage.

The 7-Disc Blu-ray re-release of The Outer Limits: Season One sits in two blue amaray cases within a thin slipcase, a marked improvement over the extremely thin and very breakable original release packaging. Also included is a 40-page insert booklet with the essay There Is Nothing Wrong with Your Television Set by David J. Schow and a Season One episode listing with air dates, cast lists, and audio commentary providers for each episode. The following episodes and extras are included on each disc:

DISC ONE (EPISODES 1-5)

  1. The Galaxy Being (51:50)
  2. The Hundred Days of the Dragon (51:30)
  3. The Architects of Fear (51:17)
  4. The Man with the Power (50:51)
  5. The Sixth Finger (51:35)
  • Audio Commentary on The Galaxy Being by David J. Schow
  • Audio Commentary on The Hundred Days of the Dragon by Dr. Reba Wissner
  • Audio Commentary on The Architects of Fear by Gary Gerani
  • Audio Commentary on The Sixth Finger by David J. Schow

DISC TWO (EPISODES 6-10)

  1. The Man Who Was Never Born (51:43)
  2. O.B.I.T. (51:18)
  3. The Human Factor (51:26)
  4. Corpus Earthing (51:30)
  5. Nightmare (51:35)
  • Audio Commentary on The Man Who Was Never Born by Gary Gerani
  • Audio Commentary on O.B.I.T. by Craig Beam
  • Audio Commentary on Corpus Earthling by Craig Beam
  • Audio Commentary on Nightmare by David J. Schow

DISC THREE (EPISODES 11-15)

  1. It Crawled Out of the Woodwork (51:40)
  2. The Borderland (51:28)
  3. Tourist Attraction (51:15)
  4. The Zanti Misfits (51:28)
  5. The Mice (51:43)
  • Audio Commentary on The Zanti Misfits by Tim Lucas
  • Audio Commentary on The Zanti Misfits by Gary Gerani and Steve Mitchell
  • Audio Commentary on The Mice by Dr. Reba Wissner

DISC FOUR (EPISODES 16-20)

  1. Controlled Experiment (51:51)
  2. Don't Open Till Doomsday (51:18)
  3. ZZZZZ (51:31)
  4. The Invisibles (51:28)
  5. The Bellero Shield (51:35)
  • Audio Commentary on Controlled Experiment by Dr. Reba Wissner
  • Audio Commentary on Don't Open Till Doomsday by Dr. Reba Wissner
  • Audio Commentary on ZZZZZ by Tim Lucas
  • Audio Commentary on The Invisibles by Tim Lucas
  • Audio Commentary on The Bellero Shield by Tim Lucas

DISC FIVE (EPISODES 21-25)

  1. The Children of Spider Country (51:37)
  2. Specimen: Unknown (51:28)
  3. Second Chance (51:25)
  4. Moonstone (51:31)
  5. The Mutant (51:25)
  • Audio Commentary on Specimen: Unknown by Craig Beam
  • Audio Commentary on The Mutant by David J. Schow

DISC SIX (EPISODES 26-30)

  1. The Guests (51:50)
  2. Fun and Games (51:28)
  3. The Special One (51:28)
  4. A Feasibility Study (51:28)
  5. Production and Decay of Strange Particles (51:29)
  • Audio Commentary on The Guests by Gary Gerani and David J. Schow
  • Audio Commentary on Fun and Games by David J. Schow
  • Audio Commentary on The Special One by Gary Gerani and Michael Hyatt
  • Audio Commentary on A Feasibility Study by David J. Schow
  • Audio Commentary on Production and Decay of Strange Particles by Tim Lucas

DISC SEVEN (EPISODES 31 & 32)

  1. The Chameleon (51:44)
  2. The Forms of Things Unknown (51:29)
  • Audio Commentary on The Forms of Things Unknown by Tim Lucas

All of these audio commentaries are highly informative, but there are nine episodes of the show that, unfortunately, don’t have commentaries to accompany them. In addition, there are also some exclusive extras found only on Via Vision Entertainment’s The Outer Limits: The Complete Collection 11-Disc Blu-ray release, which is now out of print. Those extras include three additional audio commentaries for the episodes The Hundred Days of the Dragon by Tim Lucas, The Architects of Fear by David J. Schow, and The Man Who Was Never Born by Craig Beam. In addition, that set also contained the audio essay The Unknown Unknown by David J. Schow, early radio spots by Leslie Stevens, and a Season One photo gallery.

Kino Lorber Studio Classics improves upon its previous release of The Outer Limits: Season One on Blu-ray with superior packaging and the same great picture quality and extras, though additional commentaries would have been appreciated. Even so, this is still a terrific collection that should please long-time fans of the show. Highly recommended.

- Tim Salmons

(You can follow Tim on social media at these links: Twitter and Facebook. And be sure to subscribe to his YouTube channel here.)

 

Tags

1963, 1964, ABC, Abner Biberman, Alan Crosland Jr, Allan Balter, anthology, Anthony Lawrence, Bill S Ballinger, black and white, black-and-white, Blu-ray, Blu-ray Disc, box set, boxed set, boxset, Bruce Dern, Byron Haskin, Carroll O'Connor, Cliff Robertson, Conrad Hall, Craig Beam, dark fantasy, David Duncan, David J Schow, David McCallum, DayStar Productions, Dean Riesner, Dominic Frontiere, Donald Pleasence, Donald S Sanford, drama, Ellis St Joseph, fantasy, Gary Gerani, Geraldine Brooks, Gerd Oswald, Gloria Grahame, Gothic, Harry Guardino, Henry Silva, horror, James Goldstone, Jerome B Thomas, Jerome Ross, John Brahm, John Erman, John M Nickolaus, Joseph Stefano, Jospeph Stefano, Kenneth Peach, Kino Lorber, Kino Lorber Studio Classics, Laslo Benedek, Leonard Horn, Leonard Nimoy, Leslie Stevens, Lin Dane, Lou Morheim, Louis Charbonneau, Martin Landau, Martin Sheen, Meyer Dolinsky, MGM, Michael Forest, Michael Hyatt, mystery, mystery thriller, Oliver Crawford, Orin Borsten, Paul Stanley, Peter Breck, Phillip E Pine, Ralph Meeker, Reba Wissner, review, Robert Culp, Robert Duvall, Robert Florey, Robert Mintz, Robert Specht, Ruth Roman, Sally Kellerman, sci-fi, science fiction, Scott Marlowe, Season 1, Season One, show, Sidney Blackmer, Stephen Lord, Steve Mitchell, suspense, The Complete First Season, The Digital Bits, The Outer Limits, thriller, Tim Lucas, Tim Salmons, TV, TV show, United Artists, United Artists Television, Vera Miles, Vic Perrin, Villa DiStefano, Villa DiStefano Productions, Warren Oates, William Bast

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