The Outer Limits series one
When I review a DVD I watch the whole thing, and sometimes that can take a while when there's a couple of commentaries and some extra features. When it's a complete series though, the review gets even harder.
The Outer Limits series one boxset contains twenty two episodes and additonal extras, and with each episode being around fifty minutes, I had a lot of viewing. Yet I watched it all, and I really enjoyed it.
The Outer Limits is originally a series from the sixties, which was recreated with this eighties series, much in the vein of The Twilight Zone but concentrating solely on the science fiction genre and on the strength of the storytelling.
This new series takes the feel and style of the original and updates it, but it keeps the heart of the first outing, the story, and that's what makes this series so strong.
One of the most effective episodes is one that takes place in a single room with two actors, and thats all that there is to it. The story is played out through the actors and their connection with each other. Its a testament to the series that this show is one of the episodes that stands out so much.
These shows are exceptionally well written, and the focus is on the drama and the twist reveal. They endure time well and they were still both relevant and captured my imagination, some more than others, with a few episodes still surprising me with their clever ideas.
The set includes some six DVDs, the sixth DVD holding the two final episodes as well as five featurettes about the series and its development.
As soon as the show begins you catch those magic words...
There is nothing wrong with your television. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are now controlling the transmission. We control the horizontal and the vertical...
Instantly I recognised the series from these lines, and from some of the episodes that I watched, but the most surprising thing was how the shows held their impact and their power.
This series was filmed as far back as 1995, which you would think would date a show incredibly, and yet it doesnt. Some of that dating can be seen, especially in some of the earlier episodes, but not as much as you think.
Although you might expect clothes and cars to look overly dated, there are few moments that reallydo. Some elements of clothing and aspects of decoration, and at one point a mobile phone, but for the most part it holds up well and with the story pulling your focus and attention you dont find this affects your enjoyment.
Another strong aspect of the film is the quality of the actors, there are a couple of episodes which feature some lesser quality acting, but for the most part the faces are recognisable and the acting keeps strength side by side with the story.
Leonard Nimoy, Alyssa Milano, Ryan Reynolds, Beau Bridges, Rebecca De Mornay, Robert Patrick and Kevin Conwayare but a few. Interestingly De Mornay actually directs an episode, and one of the strongest acted is with Nimoy in I, Robot. I was actually amazed at how non-Spock like he was.
Sandkings Part I and II, Valerie 23 and Blood Brothers
The Second Soul, White Light Fever, The Choice, Virtual Future
Living Hell, Corner of the Eye, Dark Matters, Under the Bed
Conversation, Quality of Mercy, Caught in the Act, The Voyage Home
The New Breed, The Message, I Robot, If These Walls Could Talk
Birthright, Voice of Reason, Extras
Presented: 16:9 Anamorphic
The picture is a standard TV quality from a few years back, but its quality is good and doesnt detract from the viewing.
Again, standard television audio and nothing amazing, but with a story based TV series from X years ago what would you expect.
Presented: Four featurettes
There are four featurettes which give insight into the rebirth and development of the series where the writers and creators talk about their visions and how The Outer Limits is so different to The Twilight Zone.
These provide some interesting moments, and there are also looks into two ofthe more popular episodes, Valerie 23 and Quality of Mercy. This latter is the episode I discussed earlier which focuses heavily on the two actors and story alone.
I was very surprised to discover how much I enjoyed watching this series, and howwell most of the episodes stood the test of time. The ideas were still strong, and in a couple of episodes still seemed new to me. Couple this strong idea development and scriptwriting with some very good early appearances from well known actors and you get an excellent series that isnt just for science fiction fans.
This series easily beats The Twilight Zone as the ideas are stronger and are more firmly based on our reality. This turned out to be a very enjoyable series and if you are into science fiction and loved these kinds of shows, well worth buying.