Twilight Zone, The-The Original Series-Season 2 (1960) (NTSC)
Audio Commentary-Cast and Crew: Various
Interviews-Cast & Crew-Various
Episode Introductions-Coming Next Week by Rod Serling
Additional Footage-Billboards, Production Slates
Interviews-Crew-Rod Serling on The Mike Wallace Show
Interviews-Crew-Rod Serling on Tell it to Groucho
Interviews-Crew-Rod Serling on The Jack Benny Show
Isolated Musical Score-Various Episodes
|Year Of Production||1960|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (5)
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||480i (NTSC)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
That The Twilight Zone exists as a cultural icon and cornerstone of modern television is in stark contrast to its popularity at the time of original broadcast. None of its 5 seasons ever rated in the top 30 and each year the question came up as to whether it would get another year and, if so, who would be the chief sponsor.
Still the network and creator Rod Serling had good reason to be happy with the first season of the show. It had created some watercooler buzz and snared another Emmy for Serling . He had shown that there was a place for science fiction and supernatural drama on American TV. My review of the First Season DVD can be found here
The Second Season proved to be a consolidation of the show and another triumph. As with the First Season Serling wrote most of the episodes as his contract with CBS bound him to script 80% of the content. Of those the majority are good, some excellent and only a few fell below par. Richard Matheson and Charles Beaumont also contributed stories and George Clayton Johnson came on board as another scribe.
It was not without setbacks though. James Aubrey took over CBS and had some firm ideas about the way that the show ought to be made. In Marc Zicree's The Twilight Zone Companion he quotes associate producer Del Reisman: "Jim Aubrey was a very, very difficult problem for the show.He was particularly tough on The Twilight Zone because for its time it was a particularly costly half hour show.... Aubrey was real tough on (the show's budget) even when it was a small number of dollars".
In fact by mid-season each show cost about $65,000 to produce. To reduce the budget for the show Aubrey made two distinct changes. Firstly, he was prepared to bankroll only 29 episodes (seven fewer than in the first season). Further, as a trial he ordered that six of the episodes would be shot on videotape rather than film. Although an interesting experiment at the time, the effect of this decision has been keenly felt in the production of this box set. Without exception the taped episodes are of below average visual quality due to flaws in the video process. This jars greatly against the beauty of the other episodes.
The second season premiered on September 30, 1960 with King Nine Will Not Return and ended with The Obsolete Man. Between those average episodes lay some real pearlers which will immediately spring to the mind of any nostalgic fan.
The nervous patient in hospital, wrapped in bandages, waiting to see whether the treatment has been a success - will she be beautiful or remain a freak of nature - Eye of the Beholder.
Art Carney as a 1960's version of Bad Santa, learning a lesson about the true path to joy - Night of the Meek.
Agnes Moorehead menaced by aliens - The Invaders. Dick York with the power to read (and misunderstand) minds - Penny for your Thoughts.
The beloved grandmother reaching out to her young grandson from beyond the grave with the use of a toy telephone - Long Distance Call There were some other changes. For the first time the familiar guitar-and-bongo drum theme by Marius Constant was used , accompanied by a surreal introduction. Serling himself stepped in front of the cameras in the set to present his opening narration. It was always a joy to see how and where he would turn up.
Serling won a fifth Emmy for dramatic writing for the season and director of photography George T. Clemens won his second well deserved Emmy. The Season Two episodes are as follows
The extra materials are also on the 5th DVD.
In my review of the First Season I said : Superlative is the only way to describe the transfers on offer in this set.
Nothing has changed with this set with the exception of the taped episodes.
This 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 1.33:1 original televised aspect ratio.
The remastering of the episodes continues to be 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.
The contrast is good and the shadows are nice and deep.
The DVD shows off the expert camera work (particularly of George T. Clemens ) and lustrous black and white in the best possible way.
The taped episodes are as follows :
The Lateness of the Hour , The Night of the Meek , The Whole Truth , Static , Long Distance Call, Twenty Two
They were filmed but not broadcast chronologically. Without exception the episodes betray the problems of early videotape. Light flames, chroma noise, aliasing, tape tracking errors, overmodulation and horrible interference plague them all. The fact that some of the episodes are still watchable, such as Long Distance Call is a tribute to the writing and production and demands some perseverence on the part of the viewer.
There are no subtitles.
The sound for The Twilight Zone Season 2 is Dolby Digital 2.0 running at 224 Kb/s.
I can only repeat my comments from the earlier review.
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 video taped episodes were shot "live". Instead of a short rehearsal period and a few days shooting the taped shows were heavily rehearsed then shot as if it were live television with multiple cameras. Although the experience was poor from a visual perspective some veterans of the show such as producer Buck Houghton liked the immediacy of the taped episodes. They were dropped because amongst other things they really prevented location shooting.
|Surround Channel Use|
The following composers provided scores for the episodes which can be heard in isolation.
Bernard Hermann: Eye of the Beholder
Fred Steiner: King Nine Will Not Return, A Hundred Yards over the Rim
Jeff Alexander: The Trouble with Templeton
Jerry Goldsmith: Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room, Dust , Back There, The Invaders
Anonymous: The Man in the Bottle, A Thing About Machines , A Penny for Your Thoughts, The Odyssey of Flight 33, Mr. Dingle, the Strong, Static, The Rip Van Winkle Caper, Shadow Play, The Mind and the Matter, Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up? , The Obsolete Man,
Thers are some great commentary tracks on this set including:
Eye of the Beholder - star Donna Douglas
Mr. Dingle, the Strong- star Don Rickles
Long Distance Call - child star Billy Mumy and writer William Idelson
A Hundred Yards over the Rim - star Cliff Robertson
Shadow Play - star Dennis Weaver
Mind Over Matter- star Shelly Berman
The DVD set, like the earlier set, contains a number of interviews that Marc Zicree conducted with producers, actors and directors.
Douglas Heyes - Director : Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room, The Howling Man,Eye of the Beholder, Dust, The Invaders.
Buzz Kulik - Director: King Nine Will Not Return, The Trouble with Templeton, Static , A Hundred Yards over the Rim
Maxine Stuart - Actor: Eye of the Beholder
George Clayton Johnson - Writer: A Penny for Your Thoughts
Bob Serling: Contributor: The Odyssey of Flight 33
Interesting moments abound. Hear Maxine Stuart , the real star of Eye of the Beholder talk about her experiences filming in full face bandages. Also Rod Serlings brother, a pilot, explains how he came to be called in as a contributor on The Odyssey of Flight 33
As with the First Season there are some real bonuses to be found amongst the extra video materials.
The Mike Wallace Interview (21.00)
Readers of Zicree's Twilight Zone Companion will be familiar with this dead serious interview. It took place after Serling had won the third of his Emmy's but before he had launched The Twilight Zone . It is a fascinating interview from the dawn of television. It looks horrendous but it is worth the perseverence. Serling comes over as a genuine and highly intelligent man. Wallace expressed the thought than occurred to many TV critics at the time - was Serling wasting his time on a science fiction, fantasy series when he could be writing "real" television?
Tell It To Groucho (15.10)
Just when you thought nothing could suprise you! This show from 1962 carries an amazing concept - if you have anything you would like to share with Groucho Marx then come on the show and tell him about it. As it happens Rod Serling had met a waiter at his local Italian restaurant who can sing like an angel and brings him on the show to sing for Groucho. The old comedian has still got it (this was 1962) and Serling is a good sport. Lots of fun!
The Jack Benny Show (5.10)
This short segment is a real hoot! Jack gets pulled into the Twilight Zone. He goes to his house to find that Serling, who just happens to be the mayor, is the owner and no one recognizes Jack. The last line is a doozy.
- A frightening series of advertising billboards for the season.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 4 release is almost identical to the Region 1 release. For reasons that are not clear both this set and the Season One set miss out on radio dramatisations of some of the episodes. Perhaps the fact that they are "modern" versions of the episodes created some copywrite issues. Who knows. They would have been nice but as the set is already overladen with features I don't think they are particularly missed.
The Second Season of The Twilight Zone continued to cement its reputation as one of the most startling pieces of television ever seen.
Despite the pressures on Serling to keep coming up with stories his imagination was still fertile and the season contains some of the finest episodes of the series.
Despite the problems with the taped episodes this remains to my mind one of the finest restorations on offer. The extras are as before exceptional.
|DVD||Pioneer BDP-LX70 Blu-ray Player, using HDMI output|
|Display||Pioneer 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 Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Speakers||JBL 5.1 Surround and Subwoofer|