THE OUTER LIMITS- THE
"There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. 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. You are about to 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 Control Voice.
While I am still of the opinion that the original 1960ís version of THE OUTER LIMITS was the greatest science fiction anthology series to ever air on broadcast television, it was during first season that the show was truly at its best. Going into the second season of THE OUTER LIMITS there was a production shakeup behind the scenes that made the show a lot more conventional during its abbreviated second and final year on the air. Now donít get me wrong, there were a number of good episodes during season two, including the award winning Demon With A Glass Hand, which is not only one of the best entries from the second season, it is one of the best period. However, without the team of Leslie Stevens and Joseph Stefano behind it, THE OUTER LIMITS lacked the creative vision that made the show truly outstanding. Be that as it may, MGM Home Entertainment has made all seventeen season two episodes of THE OUTER LIMITS available on DVD in a three disc boxed set by for the price of $69.96.
Disc one, side one contains the episodes Soldier, Cold Hands Warm Heart, Behold Eck! and Expanding Human. Soldier features Michael Ansara and Lloyd Nolan in the story of soldier from the future accidentally transported back in time. Cold Hands Warm Heart stars William Shatner as an astronaut who has difficulty staying warm after orbiting the planet Venus. Behold Eck! is the story of a two dimensional creature caught in our three dimensional world, who needs to find his way home before the dimensional rift that brought him to our world destroys us. Expanding Human features James Doohan in the story of a scientist who experiments on himself with a mind expanding drug, which also has a significant effect on his physical being as well.
Disc one, side two contains the episodes Demon With A Glass Hand and Cry of Silence. Demon With A Glass Hand stars Robert Culp as a man named Trent, who has no memory and prosthetic, computerized glass hand that is missing three fingers and pieces of its own memory. Trent finds himself being pursued through a dilapidated office complex by alien invaders, who are in possession of the prosthetic handís three missing fingers, which may be the key to the fate of mankind. Please note, Harlan Ellison, who earned the Writers Guild Award for his work, wrote the script for Demon With A Glass Hand. Cry of Silence features Eddie Albert and June Havoc in this story of a disembodied alien presence that has begun to control inanimate objects, animals and even the people that occupy a desert canyon.
Disc two, side one contains the episodes The Invisible Enemy, Wolf 359, I Robot and The Inheritors Part I. The Invisible Enemy stars Adam West in the story of human explorers on the planet Mars, who find themselves fighting for survival against an unseen force. Wolf 359 features Patrick OíNeal as a scientist who recreates a miniature version of a planet circling a distant star- then introduces human DNA to the world to watch a process of accelerated evolution. I Robot features an appearance from Leonard Nimoy in the story of a robot that is accused of killing the scientist who created him. The Inheritors Part I stars Robert Duvall as a scientific investigator named Ballard, in this story of a solider who comes under an alien influence after a bullet becomes lodged in his brain. Then Ballard discovers that there are three additional soldiers who have suffered the same fate.
Disc two, side two contains the episodes The Inheritors Part II and Keeper Of The Purple Twilight. The Inheritors Part II continues the story with Ballard discovering that the four soldiers have begun secretly working on building a spaceship and that they have been recruiting a number of handicapped children to leave Earth with them. Keeper Of The Purple Twilight stars Warren Stevens and Robert Webber in this tale of a scientist who enters into a pact with an alien- exchanging his ability to experience love and emotion for scientific information that will lead to the creation of an ultimate weapon, capable of obliterating the world.
Disc three, side one contains the episodes The Duplicate Man, Counterweight, The Brain Of Colonel Barham and The Premonition. The Duplicate Man is the story of a scientist who creates a duplicate of himself in an effort to kill an escaped alien creature, which he illegally imported to Earth. Counterweight is the story of a group of astronauts who endure grueling training for a trip to another planet, then while in a simulation of their extended space flight, they begin behaving irrationally, unaware of the presence of an alien from the world to which they will be traveling. The Brain Of Colonel Barham is kept alive after his death to be used in a computer system designed for space exploration; however, once the organ has control of the computer system it begins setting in motions its own plans for world domination. The Premonition is the story of a test pilot who finds the world around him strangely frozen after breaking the sound barrier and in the position to save his daughterís life when time begins moving again. Finally, disc three, side two contains the series final episode entitled The Probe, which tells of the survivors of a plane crash, who find themselves the test subjects inside an alien probe.
MGM Home Entertainment has made all the season two episodes of THE OUTER LIMITS- THE ORIGINAL SERIES available on DVD in their proper full screen aspect ratios. The black and white transfers are quite good for the age of the material, producing a clear and well-defined black and white image. Of course, the picture does appear a bit grainy from time to time and there are some occasional blemishes on the film elements, but neither is a cause for concern. The black and white cinematography isnít particularly stylized, as it was in the first season, but comes across with deep blacks, clean whites and a good level of contrast. Digital compression artifacts are always well concealed, even when four episodes are encoded onto a side of a DVD.
Season two episodes from THE OUTER LIMITS episodes are presented with their soundtracks in Dolby Digital monaural. The tracks would appear to have been cleaned up in the mastering process, with neither background hiss nor other audio anomalies becoming particularly noticeable. Fidelity has its limitations, although each episodeís musical component manages to sound reasonably good. Dialogue is always crisply rendered and completely understandable. There are no other language tracks or subtitle options encoded onto the DVDs. Animation and sound serve to enhance very cool interface for the interactive menus. Through the menus, one can choose a particular episode to view, as well as chapters within each episode.
The 1960ís incarnation of THE OUTER LIMITS was certainly the greatest of all science fiction anthology shows. And while the second season lacked the vision of its freshman year, it provides plenty of entertainment value and its own moments of greatness. MGM has done a fine job bringing season two of THE OUTER LIMITS- THE ORIGINAL SERIES to DVD- offering good looking and sounding presentations for all seventeen episodes. If you own season one, youíll definitely want to add this second set to your collection.
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