TWILIGHT ZONE (SE4 BLU-RAY)
Reviewed by: Zombie Boy
What's it about
This should hardly be necessary, but Twilight Zone is arguably the most important genre television show to ever have existed. Each episode was a new excursion into the supernatural, paranormal, or simply the effed-up psyche of a damaged individual, all under the watchful eye of creator/writer/narrator/genius Rod Serling.
Is it good movie?
If you couldnít tell from the above description, I adore Twilight Zone, as any genre fan, hell, anybody at all, should. It was way ahead of its time, and embedded itself so deeply into the American zeitgeist that it is still inspiring filmmakers fifty-years later. While there was a stable of talent, and each episode was presided over by creator Rod Serling (who actually did most the writing) each episode was a stand-alone piece, so that the audience never knew what kind of shenanigans they were going to get hit with week by week.
At the time there wasnít the plethora of sci-fi and fantasy television that there is now, so Twilight Zone filled a need people didnít even know they had. While the show was originally pitched as hour-long episodes, it only got approved for 30-minute episodes, which turned out to be a blessing. So much so that here in the fourth season, when the only slot CBS would give it was hour-long, the narratives suffered. While the stories and performances are still top-notch, the scripts are often padded to meet the new length requirement. It would be the only hour-long season.
On the plus side, a lot of these episodes were never put into syndication, presumably because of the difference in length than every other season, so having them all collected here in one set is quite a boon. Especially on Blu-Ray, where the image and sound are as crisp and clear as if they were filmed just yesterday. There are too many episodes to detail in this review, but suffice to say there are devils, aliens, djinns, alternate universes, and just plain crazy motherf*ckers.
And possibly the best thing about Twilight Zone is the watching out for famous faces. Some Robert Duvall, some Burgess Meredith, some Bill Bixby, Dennis Hopper, etc. Just an extra dimension (ha ha) for film fans.
Video / Audio
Video: 1080p, presented full-frame, as it was originally filmed. The absolute best you will ever see a Twilight Zone episode.
Audio: Each episode is presented with the original audio, and a remastered audio track. You definitely want the remastered track. The sound is crisp and clear.
In addition to each episode containing both an original and a remastered audio track, most come with an isolated score as well. Double Christmas for your ears.
Commentaries: There are loads of commentaries sprinkled throughout the episodes, with most of them done or proctored by Twilight Zone historian Marc Scot Zicree, who wrote The Twilight Zone Companion. Heís an amiable and knowledgeable chap, but even so having the same guy on so many commentaries is bound to give repeat information. Even so, he is entertaining and informative, and speaks with some interesting people. I recall watching Valley of the Shadow and thinking it was so similar to the Sy-Fy series Eureka!, and lo and behold the commentary was with Zicree and that showís creator, Jamie Paglia.
Interviews: There are various radio interviews from over the years, with a collection of stars, writers, and directors of TZ episodes. Some are proctored by Zicree, and some or solo. There are video interviews as well, but fewer than their radio counterparts.
Radio Dramas: There are a total of seven radio dramas, which are essentially one actor playing all the parts of a specific episode, with background music and foley work. Itís a nice throwback to what entertainment was before television came along and gave us stuff like TZ. The actors are the likes of Barry Bostwick, Lou Diamond Phillips, and Jason Alexander.
Bloopers: Well, blooper is more the correct word. Just Serling flubbing a line. Itís funny, but nothing to write home about.
Clips: There are various clips: one is a sub-standard SNL skit; one is Serling doing a beer commercial; and one, the lengthiest, is a promo Serling did for the Famous Writerís School.
Sponsor BillboardsYou can view the billboards for each sponsor for each episode, which is a neat bit of nostalgia for the less obnoxious and invasive marketing of yesteryear.
While season four suffered some from the forced-upon hour-long format, it is still a damned fine show, and this blu-ray set is fabulous. It looks and sounds great, and has a wonderful array of special features. An absolute must for any genre fan.