Any list of classic TV shows isn't complete without The Twilight Zone. Often imitated but never quite matched, The Twilight Zone is one of those timeless shows that can appeal to all ages, generation after generation. The show is no stranger to disc releases, with DVD versions floating around for years now, but Image Entertainment recently released the complete first season onto Blu-ray, with remastered image and sound and lots (and I mean lots) of extra features. Ready to enter the fifth dimension?
Between Light And Shadow
Even if you haven't seen the show, you're probably familiar with name Twilight Zone and the premise. The series didn't follow any specific order and was instead a collection of strange tales involving all sorts of hysteria, sci-fi, and utterly strange events and ideas that didn't rely on special effects or overt horror. Perhaps the best word to describe the show is eerie, or unsettling. Something is never quite right in The Twilight Zone, and that's part of its lasting appeal.
Season one packed thirty-six episodes. The set includes a nice color booklet with episode list and summary, as well as original air date, and list of extra features on a per episode basis (see below for details). CBS TV shows on DVD seem to always include this very helpful booklet.
Rather than me go on discussing a show that is as famous and well known as The Twilight Zone, I'd instead like to focus on the extra features that this set offers. Besides the convenience of having the complete first season in high quality on just five discs, the extra features are the most compelling part of the release.
Before that, however, a word on the presentation quality and a certain issue that many folks are having with this release. The image and sound quality are very good given the source material. Expect a 4:3, black and white picture, but one that is very nicely detailed and absolutely watchable. I found myself pausing scenes just to inspect them further, partly to enjoy the HD transfer, but also to inspect the products and sets used in the show. The audio, both Uncompressed PCM Mono and Dolby Mono, does just fine for itself. English subtitle support is included, and, at any time from the pop-up menu, you can switch between the Original Audio track and the Remastered Audio (which is selected by default). The Remastered Audio is Dolby Digital Mono and instantly sounds more filling, but purists may also enjoy the Original mix.
If you've read up on this Blu-ray release, or went to Amazon to make a purchase, you will actually discover a lot of people having issues with some or all of the discs in this set. I use a Sony PlayStation 3 for Blu-ray playback (hard to imagine using anything else); for me, I've had zero playback problems. However, you may want to read up on your specific Blu-ray player if you use something different. Right now, Amazon has the product temporarily pulled due to the number if issues people are having.
Extras And More Extras
This set includes a lot of extra features, but bear in mind that many of them aren't necessarily useful. Here's a quick list from the product information from Amazon for the exclusive Blu-ray features. After this list, I will provide more granular detail on the extras:
# Extremely rare, never-before-released unofficial Twilight Zone pilot, "The Time Element," written by Rod Serling and hosted by Desi Arnaz
# 19 New Audio Commentaries, featuring The Twilight Zone Companion author Marc Scott Zicree, author and film historian Gary Gerani (Fantastic Television), author and music historian Steven C. Smith (A Heart at Fire's Center: The Life and Music of Bernard Herrmann), 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. Interviews with actors Dana Dillaway, 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."
# 18 Radio Dramas
# 34 Isolated Music Scores featuring the legendary Bernard Herrmann, Jerry Goldsmith and others! Set also includes:
# Audio Commentaries by actors Earl Holliman, Martin Landau, Rod Taylor, Martin Milner, Kevin McCarthy, and CBS executive William Self.
# Vintage Audio Recollections with actors Burgess Meredith and Anne Francis, directors Douglas Heyes and Richard L. Bare, producer Buck Houghton and writer Richard Matheson.
# Rod Serling Audio Lectures from Sherwood Oaks College.
# Rod Serling Promos for "Next Week's" Show.
# Original Unaired Pilot Version of "Where is Everybody?" with Rod Serling's Network Pitch.
# Footage of the Emmy Award wins for the series
A more specific, disc by disc, episode by episode breakdown looks like this:
-"Where Is Everybody?" - AC w/ Earl Holliman, Isolated Music Score by Bernard Herrmann, Sponsor Billboard, Twilight Zone Radio Drama starring John Schneider
Original Pilot Version of "Where Is Everybody?" with Rod Serling Pitch - This episode was never aired and is presented uncut here.
-"One For The Angels" - AC w/ Gary Gerani, Interview w/ Dana Dillaway, Isolated Music Score, Sponsor Billboard, Radio Drama starring Ed Begley, Jr.
-"Mr. Denton On Doomsday" - AC w/Martin Landau, Isolated Music Score, Sponsor Billboard
-"The Sixteen Millimeter Shrine" - Isolated Music Score by Frank Waxman, Sponsor Billboard
-"Walking Distance" - AC w/Marc Scott Zicree, AC w/Steven C. Smith, John Morgan, William T. Stromberg, Rod serling Lecture at Sherwood Oaks College (1975), Alternate Audio Mix, Isolated Music Score by Bernard Herrmann, Radio Drama starring Chelcie Ross
-"Escape Clause" - Isolated Music Score, Radio Drama starring Mike Starr
-"The Lonely" - AC w/Marc Scott Zicree, AC w/Steven C. Smith, John Morgan, William T. Stromberg, AC w/Gary Gerani, Isolated Music Score by Bernard Herrmann, Sponsor Billboard, Radio Drama starring Mike Starr
-"Time Enough At Last" - AC w/Marc Scott Zicree, Interview with Zicree with Burgess Meredith (1978), Radio Drama starring Tim Kazurinsky
-"Perchance To Dream" - Interview w/Suzanne Lloyd, Isolated Music Score by Van Cleave, Radio Drama starring Fred Willard
-"Judgment Night" - None, the only episode to not include a single extra feature!
-"And When The Sky Was Opened" - AC w/ Rod Taylor, Interview with Zicree with Douglas Heyes (1978), Rod serling Lecture at Sherwood Oaks College (1975), Isolated Music Score by Leonard Rosenman
-"What You Need" - "Tales of Tomorrow" "What You Need" episode, Isolated Music Score by Van Cleave
-"The Four of Us Are Dying" - Interview with Beverly Garland, Isolated Music Score by Jerry Goldsmith, AC w/Gary Gerani
-"Third From the Sun" - AC w/David Simkins and Marc Scott Zicree, Interview with Zicree with Richard L. Bare (1978), Isolated Music Score
-"I Shot An Arrow Into the Air" - Isolated Music Score, Radio Drama starring Chelcie Ross.
-"The Hitch-Hiker" - AC/ with Marc Scott Zicree, Isolated Music Score, Radio Drama starring Kate Jackson
-"The Fever" - Isolated Music Score, Radio Drama starring Stacy Keach and Kathy Garver
-"The Last Flight" - Isolated Music Score, Radio Drama starring Charles Shaughnessy
-"The Purple Testament" - AC w/William Reynolds, Interview with Ron Masak, Isolated Music Score by Lucien Moraweck
-"Elegy" - Isolated Music Score by Van Cleave
-"Mirror Image" - AC w/Martin Milner, Isolated Music Score, Radio Drama starring Morgan Brittany and Frank John Hughes
-"The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street" - AC w/Marc Scott Zicree, Isolated Music Score by Rene Garriguenc, Radio Drama starring Frank John Hughes
-"A World of Difference" - AC with Director Ted Post, Isolated Music Score by Van Cleave
-"Long Live Walter Jameson" - AC w/Kevin McCarthy, AC w/Gary Gerani, Isolated Music Score, Radio Drama starring Lou Diamond Phillips.
-"People Are Alike All Over" - Isolated Music Score, Radio Drama starring Blair Underwood
-"Execution" - Isolated Music Score
-"The Big Tall Wish" - Isolated Music Score by Jerry Goldsmith, Radio Drama starring Blair Underwood
-"A Nice Place To Visit" - Isolated Music Score
-"Nightmare As A Child" - Isolated Music Score by Jerry Goldsmith
-"A Stop At Willoughby" - AC w/Gary Gerani, Interview with Zicree with Buck Houghton (1978), 1977 Syndication Promo, Isolated Music Score by Nathan Scott
-"The Chaser" - Interview with Marc Scott Zicree with Douglas Heyes (1978), Isolated Music Score
-"A Passage For Trumpet" - AC w/Mark Fergus and Marc Scott Zicree, AC w/ Gary Gerani, Isolated Music Score by Lyn Murray
-"Mr. Bevis" - Isolated Music Score
-"The After Hours" - AC w/Marc Scott Zicree, Interview with Marc Scott Zicree with Anne Francis and Douglas Heyes (1978), 1977 Syndication Promo, Isolated Music Score, Radio Drama starring Kim Fields
-"The Mighty Casey" - Rod serling Lecture at Sherwood Oaks College (1975), Isolated Music Score, Radio Drama starring Paul Dooley
-"A World of His Own" - Interview with Marc Scott Zicree with Richard Matheson (1978), Isolated Music Score
-Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse "The Time Element" - The unofficial pilot episode in the US that was never released until now.
-AC w/ Marc Scott Zicree, Alternate Opening and Closing from the Syndicated Version of the Episode
-Emmy Awards - Just over three minutes of the original footage of Rod serling picking up Emmys after The Twilight Zone won in Writing and Cinematography
-Marc Scott Zicree Audio Interview with George T. Clemens (Part 1) - This runs for about thirty-seven minutes.
That's quite a set! Again many of these extra features may not appeal to a lot of viewers, but you can't fault CBS or Image Entertainment for the completeness they achieved here.
With that, let's get to the summary...