MGM is about to release the entire first season of The Outer Limits on DVD, in one box set containing 32 entire episodes on just four discs. That's eight episodes per disc, four per side, which immediately brought up some fears about how good the encoding would be. More on that below.
This first season of the show has a lot of the classic episodes - only fans of Harlan Ellison will be disappointed, as his Demon With a Glass Hand and Soldier are from the second season and are therefore not here. What we get is the brainchild of the very eccentric Leslie Stevens (he with the multi-star Daystar logo) and the very prolific Joseph Stefano, screenwriter of Psycho. Made with care and cast with some of the best actors of its day, The Outer Limits sometimes tended toward juvenile monster stories, but maintained a high level of intention and seriousness. The Control Voice was a sage voice of reason from some other dimension, commenting on the shortcomings of fallable humans when faced with the unknown. What the series most resembles is a classic pulp Science Fiction omnibus, with a higher-than-average number of good shows, and more than a handful of classics.
A few episodes, like Nightmare, noodled about like one-act plays, staged on blank sets swamped with fog machines to hide the fact that the money for the season had already been spent on other shows. But perhaps that disparity was needed to produce classics like The Architects of Fear and The Man Who Was Never Born. Some of these shows strayed in their low-key Val Lewtonish way into fantasy territory at the time untouched by big screen Sci Fi: complicated timewarp time travel stories, paranoid stories with a political edge.
MGM's massive full season DVD set of The Outer Limits is first a surprise, and second, a bargain. MGM put out several bulky boxed sets of laserdiscs, costing $100 apiece, each containing just eight episodes or so; at this price, the relative economy is obvious.
We're used to seeing full seasons of newer television shows on DVD, looking and sounding great. But nobody makes 32 episodes in one year anymore (with that workload, poor Mr. Stefano must have been on the verge of breakdown), and cramming them all into just four discs has pushed the outer limits of the volume of data that can be stored on a two sided, double-layered DVD. Of course, the shows are in B&W, which helps to pare down the number of bits needed to describe a pixel, but the compression here has resulted in a picture that's just barely good enough for a 26 inch television. On a large monitor, a lot of individual shots break down - a closeup will be sharp, and then a busier frame may look soft or slightly rough-edged. You can tell right from the start (on a large monitor) that all is not well, when the glowing blip of light in the titles has blocky edges instead of a smooth gradient. So don't lose the laserdiscs just yet - the more demanding among you may prefer the duller analog pictures to this DVD set. And the flaws I noticed may mean nothing to all but the most discerning viewer - and that's not me.
Looking at the long list of titles, I can't help but feel that MGM would have done better splitting the season in half, with perhaps six episodes per disc instead of eight. This would have kept whiners like Savant happy, and surely wouldn't deter the must-buy public from snapping up what would still be a great bargain. A different configuration also have left room for possible extras, like the remarkably effective original ABC promos for the series. They made us think aliens had gotten into our tv sets - the static and strange sounds and moire line patterns are what a lot of us had to watch for television reception back then! MGM conducted a new interview with Joseph Stefano for the two DVDs of highlights from the "New" Outer Limits series, which should have made iteasy to create something for the old series as well.
The fat two-chambered keep case includes a welcome episode guide that fleshes out the info above, and includes nice notations such as the actual air date of each show, and interesting trivia such as the fact that Specimen: Unknown, about Triffids-like space flowers invading earth, was the highest rated night of the first season.
I've just completed watching the first season of The Outer Limits (the 1990's series), but the penultimate episode ("Birthright") is missing. On the episode list, Season One skips from E20 to E22. I didn't even notice it was missing until bits of it appeared in the final episode (a 'clip show'). I found the episode name from other lists of the season Episodes (wikipedia, Amazon). Is there any way to see the episode Birthright? Thank you.
Not having heard any more info in this thread in over a month, I checked the Roku Channel again, and behold, the missing episode "Birthright" is now available, and in its proper location as the penultimate episode of Season 1 of The Outer LImits (1995). The episode numbering for season 1 is still incorrect, because "The Sandkings" still counts as 2 episodes on Roku. But all the episodes are there, and all in the correct order.
Total speculation here, but part of the problem may be that the first season of The Outer Limits (1995) actually had 21 episodes. Sandkings was a two-hour premiere when it was first broadcast on Showtime. That made the first season 21 episodes, containing 22 hours of content. Sandkings was divided into two episodes for later showings and video release, much as Star Trek: The Next Generation premiere Encounter at Farpoint was done.
Like the classic 1960s series of the same name, each episode is a celebration of the human imagination in which humanity's exploration of new frontiers in technology, outer space and the human experience reveal our greatest hopes and darkest fears. Stories on The Outer Limits have explored the consequences of such controversial and thought-provoking topics as genetic manipulation, alien visitation and life after death.
A new season may be added only after the completion of the previous season, and after the new season has been announced. Once you create a new season you'll have 4 hours to add the first episode, or the season may be automatically removed.
A comprehensive list of all TV series seen and experienced throughout my life from early childhood to the present day. Usually full completion including all seasons, but at least a mandatory minimum of one full season. Will include live action and Western animation/cartoons, but exclude anime, which is on a separate list.
With its "control voice" introduction ("There is nothing wrong with your television set") and its ABC network-mandated emphasis on "monster of the week" sci-fi thrills, "The Outer Limits" (1963-65) was perhaps the least distinguished series by comparison, but creator Leslie Stevens had similarly upscale ambitions. As Serling did with "The Twilight Zone," the "control voice" narrator began and ended each episode with a moral lesson or a brief note of cautionary wisdom, and Stevens (along with influential first-season producer/writer Joseph Stefano, the screenwriter of "Psycho") brought additional prestige to the series by recruiting top-notch talent behind the scenes.
"Stoney Burke" had been created by Leslie Stevens and produced by Stevens' company, Daystar Productions, which had signed John Nickolaus as D.P. for Stevens' new series, "The Outer Limits." When "Stoney Burke" was cancelled, Stevens made a special arrangement to retain Hall's services: For the first season of "The Outer Limits," Hall and Nickolaus would share alternating D.P. duties, and Hall shot a total 15 episodes.
It looked great then, and Hall's work on "The Outer Limits" stands as an enduring testament to the boldness of a single artist's vision. Hall may have been guided by a rotating roster of directors (most of whom were delighted by the cameraman's penchant for quick-thinking innovation on a shoestring), but it's his work and his vision that gave the first season of "The Outer Limits" such an impressive and lasting visual impact.
If you subscribe to the notion that all genuine artists are restless souls who must constantly seek new creative challenges, it makes perfect sense that Hall would leave "The Outer Limits" after shooting those 15 first-season episodes. The series' second season would be creatively compromised by network interference (inevitably resulting in lower overall quality, despite several superior episodes), and with nothing left to prove in that creative arena, Hall must've seen the writing on the wall. After shooting "The Unknown," an hour-long 1964 TV movie directed by frequent "Outer Limits" helmer Gerd Oswald and written by Joseph Stefano, Hall was off to the movies, beginning a 37-year run (including a decade-long career break from 1977 to '87) as one of the greatest cinematographers in the history of American film.
Flash forward to August, 1999: A few weeks before its L.A. and New York premieres, "American Beauty" was already gathering critical and industry buzz as that year's awards-season front-runner. At the Academy Awards the following March, the film won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director (first-timer Sam Mendes), Best Original Screenplay (Alan Ball), Best Actor (Kevin Spacey) and best Cinematography for Hall. Mendes generously praised the veteran D.P.'s priceless contribution to the film. Their collaboration had been mutually rewarding, and Hall would win his third Oscar for his breathtaking work on Mendes' 2002 follow-up, "Road to Perdition." (Hall still holds the record for longest gap between Oscar wins -- 30 years between "Butch Cassidy" and "American Beauty.") 59ce067264