Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Anne Francis, Burgess Meredith, Ida Lupino, Jack Klugman, Richard Conte, Gig Young, Nehemiah Persoff, Sebastian Cabot, Claude Akins, Earl Holliman, Roddy McDowall, Kevin McCarthy, Ed Wynn, Murray Hamilton, Vera Miles, Ron Howard, and many more
Directed by Various
Created by Rod Serling
Distributed by Image Entertainment
“There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call … The Twilight Zone.”
I’m willing to bet that just about every single review you read for this incredible Blu-ray box set will begin with those very words, and rightly so. This was the opening for one of the single greatest slices of macabre Americana the world has ever known, and this latest release by Image Entertainment is nothing short of being the Rolls Royce of classic television box sets.
“The Twilight Zone” debuted on national television in 1959 and then ran five seasons until 1964. Nearly each episode brought something to the table that was unlike anything ever seen before. A great deal of that credit goes to some of the most outstanding fantasy/science fiction/horror writing the tube had ever seen from legends such as Richard Matheson, Charles Beaumont, and George Clayton Johnson. Yet, all of this visionary goodness can be tied up and attributed to one man – it was Rod Serling who gave this fantastic talent their playground in which to shine, and we’ve never been the same since.
Season One of this legendary series is textbook greatness. From the subtle horrors of tales such as the opener, “Where Is Everybody?”, to the all-out paranoia of this collection’s show stopper, “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street”, to the poignant “Walking Distance” to the heartbreaking “Time Enough at Last”, it’s all here. An amazing emotional roller coaster that rarely loosens its grip on your attention. I could spend hours talking about individual episodes and dissecting what makes each and every one a classic in its own right, but if you’re reading this, you’re probably well acquainted with the series and are more interested in how well it fares in its high definition debut.
One word … Wow. Prepare to be blown away.
First let’s talk video presentation. Image Entertainment has gone back to “The Twilight Zone”‘s original camera negatives to painstakingly create 1080p/AVC-encoded transfers — framed in the original TV 1.33:1 aspect ratio — that will leave your jaws dragging on the floor. The image quality is razor sharp, unexpectedly deep, gorgeous, and free of any DNR scrubbing that some of you have been worried about. Rest assured, the black and white presentation is as rich as can be with more depth and detail than you could ever imagine. Seriously, stunning is just about the only word that can sum it all up.
As for the sound, instead of creating a faux 5.1 soundtrack, Image decided instead to go back to the series’ original magnetic recordings and clean them up to the point of aural rapture. There are two Linear PCM mono mixes included for each episode, one original and one remastered to reduce hiss and provide clearer dialogue. The remastered track is the default one, but it’s still great to have the original along for the ride as well.
And now on to the special features. If you’re lucky, you’ll be done with them in about two months. Just in time for Season Two to hit Blu-ray. I kid you not. To say this package is bountiful would be the understatement of the century. Image didn’t just port over extras from the DVD release. While those are here, too, we’re also getting a boatload of high definition exclusives to boot!
Nineteen new commentary tracks, the never-before-released unofficial “Twilight Zone” pilot, “The Time Element”, a plethora of interviews, vintage syndication promos, radio dramas, the “What You Need” episode of ABC’s predecessor of sorts to “The Twilight Zone,” entitled “Tales of Tomorrow”, the inclusion of the original Rod Serling teaser promos for each upcoming episode, vintage sponsor ads, you name it! It’s just exhausting. Check out the full listing of supplemental materials below. As a fan anything you could ever dream about is included here. I don’t think Image has left a single stone unturned. With this stellar release all other DVD and Blu-ray distributors should officially consider themselves on notice. This is how you do it. Unbelievable.
“The Twilight Zone” Season One is not just a must-have gift from the video gods for fans of the series. It is now the benchmark for how all other releases need be judged. It doesn’t get any better, and it probably never will. Don’t hesitate for even a split second. Do whatever you have to do, buy whatever you have to buy, make sure you get your claws into this masterpiece of a box set ASAP!
Season One Episodes
Where Is Everybody?, One for the Angels, Mr. Denton on Doomsday, The Sixteen Millimeter Shrine, Walking Distance, Escape Clause, The Lonely, Time Enough at Last, Perchance to Dream, Judgment Night, And When the Sky Was Opened, What You Need, The Four of Us Are Dying, Third from the Sun, I Shot an Arrow into the Air, The Hitch-Hiker, The Fever, The Last Flight, The Purple Testament, Elegy, Mirror Image, The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street, A World of Difference, Long Live Walter Jameson, People Are Alike All Over, Execution, The Big Tall Wish, A Nice Place to Visit, Nightmare as a Child, A Stop at Willoughby, The Chaser, A Passage for Trumpet, Mr. Bevis, The After Hours, The Mighty Casey, A World of His Own
Special Features All Blu-ray Exclusive!
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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