There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition. And it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call The Twilight Zone.
This was the introduction to The Twilight Zone when it first aired in 1959. It still makes me shiver hearing it now. The hairs on the back of my neck tingle and stand on end. The Twilight Zone was something that I watched when I was a kid, twenty years ago maybe, even then it was 20 years after it was first aired but it felt fresh and unexpected.
CREATED BY THE LEGENDARY ROD SERLING:
The Twilight Zone featured stories of the bizarre and unexplained often with a twist. Created by the legendary Rod Serling, it was a beautiful mix of science fiction and fantasy and became one of television's most original and celebrated series.
This boxset contains all 36 episodes of the first season, presented in high-definition for the first time ever, along with hours of new and exclusive bonus features. Rod Serling was immensely talented as a writer and as a presenter. His tight-lipped direct to camera monologues are simply delicious. Serling had charisma and character to burn. There will never be anyone else quite like him. Serling acted as Executive Producer of The Twilight Zone and also wrote a lot of the screenplays himself from his own ideas or adapted stories from the likes of Richard Matheson and Charles Beaumont.
The place is here. The time is now and the journey into the shadows that we are about to watch could be our journey. These are the first words from the opening episode ‘Where Is Everybody?’ it highlights the timelessness of the story and the timelessness of the Twilight Zone series. These stories are as good now as they ever were. The stories presented in these 30 minute shows have been borrowed from and plagiarised endlessly over the past 50 years – they’re simply that good.
As a show The Twilight Zone succeeded episode after episode in using science fiction as a means of expressing the writers’ and creators’ opinions on serious topics of the time. The likelihood of nuclear war in the late 1950s and early 1960s is examined in ‘The Shelter’ and ‘Time Enough at Last’ while the consequences of mass hysteria and social prejudice are explored in ‘The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street’ – a particularly effective episode which was one of several highlights of this first season.
Several episodes focus on the question of whether or not there is life after death and whether there is a heaven and hell – ‘Escape Clause’ and A Nice Place To Visit are both enjoyable episodes. The are also several other common themes, including America’s 1950s obsession with space travel in ‘Third From The Sun’, ‘The Lonely’, ‘I Shot An Arrow Into The Air’ and ‘People Are Alike All Over’ an especially effective episode starring sci-fi genre staple Roddy MacDowell. A couple of episodes – ‘What You Need’ and ‘Execution’ – intelligently examine the theme of justice and ‘The Four of Us Are Dying’ is a take on the ability to shape-shift. It’s fair to say that all of the episodes are of a consistently high standard.
COMPLETE SEASON ONE EPISODE LISTING:
1. Where Is Everybody?
2. One For The Angels
3. Mr Denton On Doomsday
4. The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine
5. Walking Distance
6. Escape Clause
7. The Lonely
8. Time Enough at Last
9. Perchance to Dream
10. Judgement Night
11. And When The Sky Was Opened
12. What You Need
13. The Four of Us Are Dying
14. Third From The Sun
15. I Shot An Arrow Into The Air
16. The Hitch-Hiker
17. The Fever
18. The Last Flight
19. The Purple Testament
21. Mirror Image
22. The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street
23. A World Of Difference
24. Long Live Walter Jameson
25. People Are Alike All Over
27. The Big Tall Wish
28. A Nice Place To Visit
29. Nightmare As A Child
30. A Stop At Willoughby
31. The Chaser
32. A Passage For Trumpet
33. Mr Bevis
34. The After Hours
35. The Mighty Casey
36. A World Of His Own
BRINGING THE TWILIGHT ZONE TO BLU-RAY
The restoration work that has been done on the transfer is exceptional. This series is owned by the CBS Network – the network that did the fantastic restoration job on Star Trek – The Original Series. The work on Star Trek to put the show onto Blu-ray was very impressive. Along with new exterior special effects shots the print had been completely cleaned of dirt and tears and other imperfections as well as the contrast and colour being greatly enhanced. While The Twilight Zone is in black and white only, the same standard of work has been done on it and it looks brilliant. The difference is available to see on this boxset – between the upgraded episodes and the original series pilot which is shown in its original format.
The Twilight Zone inspired the likes of The Outer Limits and The X-Files. It is truly classic 1950s/1960s TV and I can not recommend it highly enough.
SPECIAL FEATURES (DVD and Blu-ray)
• Audio commentaries by Earl Holliman, Martin Landau, Rod Taylor, Martin Milner, Kevin McCarthy, Ted Post and William Self.
• Vintage audio recollections with Burgess Meredith, Douglas Heyes, Richard L. Bare, Buck Houghton, Anne Francis and Richard Matheson.
• Rod Serling audio lectures from Sherwood Oaks College.
• Rod Serling promos for Next Week’s Show.
• Isolated music scores featuring the legendary Bernard Herrmann, Jerry Goldsmith and others.
• Original unaired pilot version of “Where Is Everybody?” with Rod Serling’s network pitch.
• Footage of the Emmy Award wins for the series.
• Liar’s Club Show. A segment of the popular 1970s games show hosted by Rod Serling.
• Rod Serling blooper.
• Original Twilight Zone billboards.
• Photo gallery.
• The Twilight Zone Comic Book (pdf format). An issue of the popular comic from 1963.
SPECIAL FEATURES (Blu-ray only)
• 19 new audio commentaries, featuring The Twilight Zone Companion author Marc Scott Zicree, author and historian Gary Gerani (Fantastic Television), author and music historian Steven C. Smith (A Heart At Fire’s Center: The Life And Music Of Bernard Herrman), music historians John Morgan and William T. Stromberg, writer/producer David Simkins (Lois & Clark; Dark Angel), writer Mark Fergus (Children Of Men; Iron Man), actor William Reynolds and director Ted Post.
• Extremely rare, never-before-released unofficial Twilight Zone pilot, “The Time Element”, written by Rod Serling and hosted by Desi Arnaz.
• 18 radio dramas.
• Interviews with actors Dana Dilaway, Suzanne Lloyd, Beverly Garland and Ron Masak.
• “Tales of Tomorrow” episode, “What You Need”.
• Vintage audio interview with director of photography George T. Clemens.
• 1977 syndication promos for “A Stop At Willoughby” and “The After Hours”.
HISTORY OF THE SHOW AND AWARDS:
The Twilight Zone is a multi-Emmy award-winning show and a true landmark in television history. It made an indelible mark on popular culture and remains, to this day, one of the most innovative and influential series of all time.
The original series ran for 156 episodes between 1959 and 1964, spawning a revival series (1985-1989), a Steven Spielberg-produced feature film (1983), a TV movie (1994) and a final TV series (2002-2003). Sophisticated and entertaining, much of the show’s success was due to the timeless nature and universal appeal of its stories. Its writers included leading sci-fi and fantasy genre writers Richard Matheson, Ray Bradbury, Charles Beaumont and Serling, himself.
For more information, thoughts and opinions on this wonderful show please go to: http://www.cult-labs.com/twilightzone