"There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can change the focus to a soft blur, or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to... The Outer Limits."
That chilling statement from a narrator served as the introduction for "The Outer Limits", a classic horror series that ran between 1963-1965 on ABC. Similar to the "Twilight Zone", "The Outer Limits" only ran 49 episodes during its original run, but the series was uncovered once again in 1995, where it ran for seven years.
Every episode of "The Outer Limits" offered a cinematic treat for TV viewers and I really must say, the series is still a real treat today. While the visual effects in the episodes obviously aren't click, they are wonderfully creative and watching this series again after quite a few years, I remain really impressed at what the series was able to do, and enjoyed some of the primitive effects here (even in the first episode, "The Galaxy Being", which presents a gloriously eerie, metallic-looking alien) more than some of the effects work I've seen in some modern films. With limited budgets and limited options, the crew really managed to create some incredibly memorable (and just plain cool) creatures for the series.
"The Outer Limits" also still stands up today thanks to fantastic storytelling and solid performances. It's difficult to find these programs scary today, but but they're still riveting thanks to imaginative stories and intense acting. Some of the highlights in this set include: "The Galaxy Being" (a radio station engineer uses an experimental receiver to contact an extraterrestrial being, but the alien poses a deadly threat when it is accidentally brought to Earth), "The Architects of Fear" (a noble scheme goes horribly awry when a group of scientists plans an elaborate hoax designed to frighten and unite mankind), "The Borderland" (a man hoping to contact his dead son becomes involved in an experiment designed to open a gateway to the fourth dimension), "Corpus Earthling" (a doctor with a steel plate in his head questions his sanity when he begins hearing the conversations of a strange race of alien creatures intent on conquering the world) and "The Hundred Days of the Dragon" (a sinister foreign power replaces the President of the United Stated with its own agent via the use of a powerful drug that allows the skin to be molded into any likeness.)
This first volume of the series includes the first half of season 1. Oddly, the season 1 set that was put out a few years ago is still available and does not cost much more than this set does.
1. 1- 1 16 Sep 63 The Galaxy Being
2. 1- 2 23 Sep 63 The Hundred Days of the Dragon
3. 1- 3 30 Sep 63 The Architects of Fear
4. 1- 4 7 Oct 63 The Man With the Power
5. 1- 5 14 Oct 63 The Sixth Finger
6. 1- 6 28 Oct 63 The Man Who Was Never Born
7. 1- 7 4 Nov 63 O.B.I.T.
8. 1- 8 11 Nov 63 The Human Factor
9. 1- 9 18 Nov 63 Corpus Earthling
10. 1-10 2 Dec 63 Nightmare
11. 1-11 9 Dec 63 It Crawled Out of the Woodwork
12. 1-12 16 Dec 63 The Borderland
13. 1-13 23 Dec 63 Tourist Attraction
14. 1-14 30 Dec 63 The Zanti Misfits
15. 1-15 6 Jan 64 The Mice
16. 1-16 13 Jan 64 Controlled Experiment
VIDEO: "The Outer Limits" is presented by MGM in the show's original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio. The series has not been restored, but it doesn't look too bad. Some sections of episodes do have some noticable specks, marks, dirt and other wear, but the show otherwise looked pretty crisp and clean for its age. Some mild shimmering is seen, but otherwise, while these presentations aren't knockouts, they are certainly fine. These presentations are no different than those on the season 1 release put out a few years ago.
SOUND The show's mono soundtrack is a little thin, but the overall quality is up to expectations for a show of its age.
EXTRAS: Sadly, no extras. I would have loved a retrospective featurette or a featurette with historians and current filmmakers discussing the legacy and influence of the series.
Final Thoughts: I had a great deal of fun watching "The Outer Limits" in this first volume set. However, there's a big problem with this release: it offers nothing new versus the Season 1 DVD that was previously put out by MGM and is still available. This volume 1 set is half of the first season and is available for $22.49 on Amazon.com. The full season 1 is available for $32.99. "The Outer Limits" is a great series and I highly recommend it, but definitely pick up the full season set (available here) instead. Hopefully, future releases will offer more extras, as the series really deserves a nice special edition.