Twilight Zone, The-The Original Series-Season 1 (1959) (NTSC)

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Released 4-Aug-2007

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category TV Series Alternative Version-Pilot "Where is Everybody"
Audio Commentary-Various Episodes
Isolated Musical Score-Various Episodes
Interviews-Cast & Crew-Various Episodes
Bonus Episode-Liars Club
Awards-Emmy Awards Excerpts
Gallery-Photo
Booklet-Twilight Zone Comic Book
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1959
Running Time 1108:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (6)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By John Brahm
Douglas Heyes
Buzz Kulik
Lamont Johnson
Studio
Distributor

Shock Entertainment
Starring None Given
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI ? Music Van Cleave
Bernard Herrmann
Fred Steiner


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

  Title of your page

There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man.
It is a dimension as vast as space and 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 we call the Twilight Zone.

Common The Twilight Zone Season 1 Intro

The Twilight Zone is more than a TV show. It is part of the fabric of our modern televised society. It evokes a mood just by its name. This fully featured release of the First Season will bring back memories aplenty for those who grew up watching each story unfold.

Without wanting to bare my inner geek I recall travelling to science fiction film festivals in the early 80's just to watch episodes on the big screen. By that time they were not telecast on TV and it was a revelation to see the 20 odd minute vignettes for the first time. An equally devoted task was hunting down The Twilight Zone bible, otherwise known as Marc Zicrees' The Twilight Zone Companion. Zicree is the virtual torchbearer for the show and it is a joy to hear some of his interviews with directors and actors added as special features to this set.

For the uninitiated, The Twilight Zone first screened on American TV in 1959. At that time the three highest rating shows on US television were Westerns Gunsmoke, Wagon Train and Have Gun Will Travel. The Twilight Zone was the brainchild of popular and successful TV writer Rod Serling. It is an eternal irony that Serling will always be remembered for this show despite the fact that he was an Emmy winning writer years before embracing this project. In fact, he was so highly regarded that many felt that he had thrown away a promising career.

The show presented different stories each week. The episodes run about 20 minutes. There are no common cast members or stories. Each week was a new invention. The common idea is of a turn of events, usually supernatural, that greatly affects the lead characters. It is difficult to be more precise about the Zone than that as the goalposts often shifted as to the nature of the Zone. In reality, it was merely a device to allow Serling to throw amazing and creepy stories on air.

Some stories are clearly morality tales and warnings to be careful what you wish for. Others are plain and simple scary stories dealing with our fear of the unknown. Finally, there are the humourous tales that bring some welcome relief.

The show lasted for 5 seasons, including one where the episodes ran for almost an hour, and never rated high enough to guarantee its following seasons. Each year it was a very real question as to whether a sponsor would come on board for the next. Serling as chief writer performed a superhuman task, writing or adapting most of the episodes that comprised the first season and a good number for the rest of the series. That this First Season comprised a brain crushing 36 episodes must have driven Serling to the depths of the writers well, as well as to the depths of despair. Creativity and freshness were a problem that would plague the self-critical Serling for the following seasons but now, in the First Season, Serling's show is a lightning rod of brilliant ideas and skilful execution.

Ask anyone about The Twilight Zone today and most will have one clear memory. Of course, that is the theme music. That theme that sums up the weird and spooky - the shift from one safe world to the next dimension - of sound, light and usually very bad things!

But Season 1 of The Twilight Zone may present some surprises to the nostalgic viewer. For a start the theme which came to typify not just the show but the idea of the show had not yet been written. Secondly, the familiar Serling filmed intros were not introduced until Season 2. Instead he gave a summary of the next episode at the end of each show.

The Twilight Zone was just a general catch-all phrase for spooky and shocking stories. For the audience schooled on M.Night Shyamalan the surprises may be thin on the ground but one can only wonder the impression it must have made on the original audience. It is possible with modern sophistication to guess more than a few of the gotcha moments but that doesn't diminish the awe felt at the creativity of Serling's scriptwriting.

There is a certain humourous quality to the shows about space flight until you realise that scientists in 1959 (only two years after Sputnik) had no real idea of what would happen when a man went into space.

Some of the finest moments of television are in this box - from the much spoofed Time Enough At Last to the nostalgic Walking Distance and the genuinely creepy The After Hours. Serling is helped by often superlative direction from a host of experienced filmmakers and expert lens work from some great cinematographers like George T. Clemens. A host of stars passed through The Twilight Zone and this set features Ida Lupino, Rod Taylor, Anne Francis and a host of memorable faces.

Future Seasons would vary in quality but Season 1 is TV gold. Run don't walk!

Here is the list of the 36 episodes comprising Season 1.

Season 1 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
Judgement 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

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Superlative is the only way to describe the transfers on offer in this set.

The Region 4 DVD is a direct NTSC port of the Region 1 edition. In fact it is marked Region 0.

The episodes are displayed in the 4:3 original televised aspect ratio.

The case describes the DVD as having been remastered from "the original camera negatives". To my mind it is a minor miracle that these even existed let alone that they are in a serviceable shape. With the exception of 6 episodes in the Second Season The Twilight Zone was shot on 35mm film. Despite the budget constraints and the time constraints the original material looked pretty good.

The remastering is a revelation. About the only flaw with the show is the level of film grain which is consistent with film from the period. No doubt the remastering crew had the difficult decision of how much grain to reduce at the expense of sharpness. To me the level is just about right.

The episodes are clean of all but minor artefacts. There are some broken or lost frames in and around the ad breaks but generally the show runs smoothly.

At the end of each episode Serling provides a teaser for the next episode. For some reason the tape of the episodes below no longer exists so only the audio can be heard over a blank screen. They are: Execution, The Big Tall Wish, A Nice Place to Visit, Nightmare as a Child, The Fever

After every episode is a short teaser for another CBS show. It is funny to watch at first but after 20 or so episodes you get a bit tired of seeing the same ad for The Andy Thomas Show!

The contrast is good and the shadows are nice and deep.

The DVD shows off the expert camera work and lustrous black and white in the best possible way.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The sound for The Twilight Zone is Dolby Digital 2.0 running at 224 Kb/s.

Once again the DVD case boasts that the sound comes from an original source, in this case the original magnetic soundtracks and once again the transfer comes up trumps.

For a TV series that is almost 50 years old the sound is impeccable. Sure it lacks a little in depth and ambience but in the main the dialogue is clear and easy to understand and the audio sync is perfect.

The music comes from a variety of composers, including the great Bernard Hermann, a veteran of a number of classic films including Citizen Kane, Vertigo and Taxi Driver, he gives a touch of class to the episodes. His and other soundtracks can often be heard in isolated scores on the extra features.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

There are so many extras on this set that there is literally hours of fun to be had.

Isolated Musical Scores

The following composers provided scores for the episodes which can be heard in isolation.

Bernard Hermann: Where is Everybody, Walking Distance, The Lonely.
Franz Waxman: The 16 mm Shrine.
Van Cleave: Her Chance to Dream, What you Need, A World of Difference, Elegy.
Leonard Rosenman: And When the Sky was Opened.
Jerry Goldsmith: The Four of Us are Dying.
Anonymous: Third from the Sun, A Nice Place to Visit, The Chaser,
The Hitchhiker, Mirror Image.
Nathan Scott: A Stop at Willoughby.
Lucien Moraweck: The Purple Testament.
Lynn Murray: A Passage for Trumpet.
Rene Garriguenc: The Monsters are Due on Maple Street.

Interviews-Cast & Crew including lectures

The DVD set contains a number of interviews that Marc Zicree conducted with actors and directors. Also, the set includes comments on some episodes by Rod Serling from a lecture he gave at a college in 1975.

Walking Distance: Rod Serling Lecture (Sherwood Oaks College 1975)
Time Enough at Last: Burgess Meredith (1978)
And When the Sky was Opened: Rod Serling Lecture (Sherwood Oaks College 1975)
Zicree Interview:Douglas Heyes (1978)
Third from the Sun: Zicree Interview Richard L. Bare (1978)
A Stop at Willoughby: Zicree Interview Buck Houghton (1979)
The Chaser: Zicree Interview Douglas Hayes (1978)
The After Hours: Zicree Interview Anne Francis and Douglas Heyes (1978)
The Mighty Casey: Rod Serling Lecture (Sherwood Oaks College 1975)
A World of His Own: Zicree Interview with Richard Matheson (1978)

If you listen to nothing else on this set it is my recommendation that you listen the the Rod Serling lectures. The man was a television genius an he imparts his knowledge to the Sherwood Oaks students with humour.

Audio Commentaries

A selection of audio commentaries. All are interesting even if you query whether, for example, Martin Landau could remember so much 40 odd years after the filming.

Where is Everybody: Earl Holliman Mr Denton on Doomsday: Martin Landau And When the Sky was Opened: Rod Taylor Long Live Walter Jameson: Kevin McCarthy Mirror Image: Martin Milner

Gallery- Rare Photo

These consist of five shots from the production of The Mighty Casey

Alternative Version

    This is the original un-aired pilot version of Where is Everybody which includes the original narration by well-known voice actor Victor Van Voorhis (shelved when Serling showed his voice suited the show better) with audio comments by Rod Serling from the Sherwood Oaks lecture. There is also an audio commentary ( and a very good one) from executive producer William Self as to the genesis of the show. It begins with a Serling pitch to potential investors in the show.

Rare Rod Serling blooper

Serling makes a line fluff!

Booklet

This is a PDF File Edition of The Twilight Zone comic. For fans of 60's comics this is a lot of fun.

Rod Serling Pitch to the Netherlands

Another interesting pitch from Serling with detailed summaries of some of the episodes.

Bonus Episode

This is an episode of The Liars Club a TV game show from 1973 featuring Rod Serling. Anyone who has forgotten how horrible 1970's game shows can be should tune in to this!

Awards

This consists of some extracts from the Emmys with Rod Serling making some pithy acceptance speeches.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

   As might be expected The Twilight Zone is identical in region 1. However, reports suggest that the Region 1 includes a copy of The Twilight Zone Companion. The book is a must for fans of the show so buy the Region 1 if you don't have it or can't find it easily in the shops here.

Summary

    Season 1 of The Twilight Zone represents creative writing and filmmaking at its best. Rod Serling wrote adapted and co-wrote 36 episodes of interesting and surprising television at a time when westerns and family comedies ruled the airwaves.

The set is lovingly transferred to DVD and comes with a doorstop of extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer BDP-LX70 Blu-ray Player, using HDMI output
DisplayPioneer PDP-5000EX. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR605
SpeakersJBL 5.1 Surround and Subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Smoking? - Bort REPLY POSTED
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