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

  • Reviewed by: Tim Salmons
  • Review Date: Oct 14, 2022
  • Format: Blu-ray Disc
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Outer Limits, The: Season Two (Blu-ray Review)

Director

Various

Release Date(s)

1964-1965 (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: A-

The Outer Limits: Season Two (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, with only 17 airing during its second season. Fan favorite episodes from Season Two, which was the show’s final season, included Soldier, Cold Hands, Warm Heart, Demon with a Glass Hand, The Inheritors (both parts), and I, Robot. 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 Two 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 4-Disc Blu-ray re-release of The Outer Limits: Season Two sits in a blue amaray case within a thin slipcase, a marked improvement over the extremely thin and very breakable original release packaging. It’s worth noting that the back of the artwork insert contains the list of episodes, the following of which, as well as extras, are included on each disc:

DISC ONE (EPISODES 1-5)

  1. Soldier (51:36)
  2. Cold Hands, Warm Heart (51:14)
  3. Behold Eck! (51:16)
  4. Expanding Human (51:19)
  5. Demon with a Glass Hand (51:25)
  • Audio Commentary on Soldier by David J. Schow
  • Audio Commentary on Cold Hands, Warm Heart by Craig Beam
  • Audio Commentary on Behold Eck! by Dr. Reba Wissner
  • Audio Commentary on Expanding Human by Dr. Reba Wissner
  • Audio Commentary on Demon with a Glass Hand by Craig Beam
  • TV Spots (SD – 5 in all – 4:36)

DISC TWO (EPISODES 6-10)

  1. Cry of Silence (51:16)
  2. The Invisible Enemy (51:15)
  3. Wolf 359 (51:17)
  4. I, Robot (51:04)
  5. The Inheritors: Part 1 (51:26)
  • Audio Commentary on Cry of Silence by Gary Gerani
  • Audio Commentary on Cry of Silence by Dr. Reba Wissner
  • Audio Commentary on The Invisible Enemy by Craig Beam
  • Audio Commentary on Wolf 359 by Craig Beam
  • Audio Commentary on I, Robot by David J. Schow
  • Audio Commentary on The Inheritors: Part 1 by Gary Gerani and Steve Mitchell
  • ABC New Year’s Eve Promo (SD – :43)

DISC THREE (EPISODES 11-15)

  1. The Inheritors: Part 2 (51:13)
  2. Keeper of the Purple Twilight (51:06)
  3. The Duplicate Man (51:15)
  4. Counterweight (51:05)
  5. The Brain of Colonel Barham (51:13)
  • Audio Commentary on The Inheritors: Part 2 by Gary Gerani and Steve Mitchell
  • Audio Commentary on Keeper of the Purple Twilight by David J. Schow
  • Audio Commentary on The Duplicate Man by Tim Lucas
  • Audio Commentary on Counterweight by Dr. Reba Wissner
  • Creature Features with David J. Schow (SD – 2:42)

DISC FOUR (EPISODES 16, 17, & BONUS EPISODES)

  1. The Premonition (51:15)
  2. The Probe (51:16)
  3. The Unknown (46:24)
  4. Please Stand By (44:16)
  • Audio Commentary on The Premonition by Tim Lucas
  • Audio Commentary on The Unknown by Dr. Reba Wissner
  • Audio Commentary on Please Stand By by Eric Grayson
  • TNT Monstervision Promos (SD – 12 in all – 22:53)
  • Showtime Interview with David J. Schow (SD – 22:45)
  • Penn & Teller TNT Monstervision Host Segments (SD – 20:41)
  • Cliff Robertson TNT Interview (SD – 36:05)
  • Joseph Stefano TNT Interview (SD – 64:47)
  • Joanna Frank TNT Interview (SD – 21:02)
  • Meryl O’Loughlin TNT Interview (SD – 23:44)
  • Anthony Lawrence Interview (SD – 9:14)
  • The Museum of Television & Radio’s William S. Paley Television Festival (SD – 73:09)
  • Projected Unlimited with David J. Schow (SD – 9:58)
  • What’s New on ABC? Promo with Edie Adams (SD – 6:32)
  • The Outer Limits Phenomenon (SD – 12:08)

All of the audio commentaries are highly informative, but there are two episodes of the show that, unfortunately, don’t have commentaries to accompany them. Creature Features is a 2014 promo for David J. Schow’s book The Outer Limits at 50, which offers footage of an art installation and book signing, as well as speaking to fans of the show. The Unknown is an alternate version of the Season One episode The Forms of Things Unknown, and Please Stand By is an alternate version of the Season One episode The Galaxy Being. The TNT Monstervision Promos offer a series of interviews with Cliff Robertson, Leslie Stevens, Robert Culp, Martin Landau, Harlan Ellison, and William Shatner. The interview with David J. Schow for Showtime was conducted in the late 1990s during the revival series. Next is a set of host segments from the Penn & Teller era of TNT Monstervision when they hosted The Best of the Outer Limits marathon in 1993. Following that is a series of full interviews shot for TNT with Cliff Robertston, Joseph Stefano, Joanna Frank, and casting director Meryl O’Loughlin. An additional interview with writer Anthony Lawrence is also included. The Museum of Television & Radio’s William S. Paley Television Festival is a 2000 celebration and Q&A of the show, featuring David J. Schow, Robert H. Justman, Lou Morheim, Conrad Hall, Martin Landau, and Joseph Stefano. Project Unlimited contains footage shot by Bob Burns in 1964 of the studio where the show was made, and is narrated by David J. Schow. The Outer Limits Phenomenon is a 1996 Showtime featurette about the show, hosted by Mike Rowe and Eleanor Mondale, and it primarily discusses the (then) new show and features interviews with some of its cast and crew, though additional interviews with Joseph Stefano and Cliff Robertson are included as well.

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 a Season Two original ABC commercial spot and a still gallery.

Kino Lorber Studio Classics improves upon its previous release of The Outer Limits: Season Two 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.

We now return control of your television set to you. Until next week, at this same time, when the control voice will take you to... The Outer Limits.”

- 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.)

 

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