Right around the time of their release a couple years ago, I invested in Image’s series of five 9-Disc box sets that collected every Twilight Zone episode from the original ’59 series. From a collector’s standpoint, this seemed like a great move, as these sets turned out to be much more affordable than the previous releases, which were 45 individual volumes. I figured I had the collection and could sit back and relax. I really enjoyed the sets (my reviews of them can be found here, as a matter of fact) and watched them ritually once I owned them.
In March 2004 when the rumors first hit that definitive season-by-season sets were to hit, I put my collection on e-bay and received almost all the money I invested in them in return. Yes, as a diehard TZ fan, I support the definitive releases wholeheartedly. Part of being a DVD collector is knowing that upgrades are imminent. In fact, this may not be the last time I invest in the series… experts forsee Blu-ray coming into play within the next 5 years and a company like Image with no single film or TV property to their name bigger than The Twilight Zone may someday release these with HD transfers on Blu-ray disc. DVD, like a cheaper version of Laserdiscs, is ten times the collector’s format that VHS ever was.
In short, Image doesn’t expect everyone to upgrade. They’re not trying to bleed the same customers dry. But they are making a ton of the diehards and DVD collectors truly ecstatic. What hasn’t been mentioned in any of the reviews here yet is THAT THE VIDEO AND AUDIO HAVE GONE THROUGH A RESTORATION PROCESS — they LOOK AND SOUND BETTER than they ever have before, whether your first exposure to them was on CBS in the early 60s, in the late 70s (when the re-runs were very popular), or during the holiday marathons of the 90s and today on the Sci-Fi Channel. Not only that, but included are Rod Serling’s “Next week…” teasers and, for the first time, audio commentaries by major players in the episodes themselves as well as crew members (Martin Landau in “Mr. Denton…”, Earl Holliman in “Where is Everybody?”, and Kevin McCarthy in “Long Live Walter Jameson” immediately spring to mind). As a TZ diehard, I thought I’d seen and heard as much as I’d ever get to, but Image has put together something new for me to look forward to. The “audio lecture” Amazon refers to is from Sherwood Oaks College and is split into several parts. There is a great deal of discussion regarding “Walking Distance” for instance — and we are able to listen to it while watching the episode at the same time. It runs nearly the entire length of the episode. Real treats also include Zicree’s interviews conducted in the late 70s for the writing of his book with such stars as Burgess Meredith and Anne Francis.
Also — the old collections tried to theme the episodes on each disc, but this simply didn’t work for me. Too often I’d only want to watch one of the episodes on a disc and would have to frequently change out. With this set, we’ll be getting the first season which, in a point that is rarely disputed, is the best of the series:
Where Is Everybody?, One for the Angels, Mr. Denton on Doomsday, 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, and A World of His Own.
So while Image doesn’t expect you to double dip, you gotta feel good going knowing you have that option someday. I don’t think “corporate greed” factors into the equation as much as customer demand from fans like myself (as well as the logical necessity) for one of the best shows of all time to have an exhaustive and organized set of releases. Take care and we’ll see you in the fifth dimension!
Was this review helpful to you?
This new DVD version of The Twilight Zone 1959 Season One is remastered from the original camera negatives and the original magnetic soundtracks. It has the best picture quality ever and is a great set for fans.
This six disc set is packed with some wonderful extras-
*Audio commentaries by Earl Holliman,Martin Landau,Rod Taylor,Martin Milner,Kevin McCarthy,Ted Post and William Self.
*Vintage audio recollections with Burgess Meredith,Douglas Heyes,Richard L Bare,Buck Houghton,Ann Francis and writer Richard Matheson.
*Rod Serling audio lectures from Sherwood Oaks College.
*Isolated music scores from Bernard Herrman,Jerry Goldsmith and more.
*Rod Serling promos from “next weeks show”.
*The original unaired pilot from “Where Is Everybody?” with Rod Serling’s Network pitch.
*Rare Rod Serling blooper.
Some information about the above audio commentaries- Ann Francis starred in the classic 1950′s movie “Forbidden Planet,Kevin McCarthy starred in the original 1950′s version of “The Thing”,Rod Taylor starred in the classic Hitchcock movie “The Birds” and the 1960 George Pal classic “The Time Machine”.
Martin Landau guest-starred in both the original 1959 and 1985 versions of The Twilight Zone as well as the original “Mission Impossible” and “Space 1999″.
Writer Richard Matheson also wrote stories for both of the original and 1985 Twilight Zone series.
This classic television show has become part of western culture and language. People now the term use the term “in the Twilight Zone” for description in newspapers or interviews. It’s starting do-do-do-do theme has now become part of the culture and is used to denote something strange happening. The singing group Manhatten Transfer even had a top ten record with the title.
One note of criticism- this new version is a wonderful effort for a show that is 45 years old,but fans that have bought previous sets could be entitled to ask why this wasn’t done in the first place,some having spent many hundreds of dollars on the three previous releases. Firstly,we had the “best of” TZ 40 episode set followed by the 4 episode discs sets followed by the Volume 1 through to Vol 5 sets. And now we have this new set. That is enough to test the patience of any fans and they have every right to complain at this sort of exploitation.
In a few years,I predict that a new TZ set in high definition will be released.
So fans,if you want the definitive(we hope)DVD box set on the original Twilight Zone,then sell your other copies and buy this.
It is really well done and hopefully fans can keep this for many years to come.
It is absurd that this title has an average rating of below 5 stars. The low average rating is based on reviewers who are upset that they purchased older Twilight Zone collections that are now inferior to this superb collection. They feel they were ripped off by CBS video as if CBS planned on doing this all along. I doubt this was part of some plot. When first issued on DVD, the shows were randomly put together on single discs. Then these single discs were randomly put together in box sets. CBS finally wised up and realized that fans want it all. They want entire seasons on DVDs with extras. So now CBS Video has done it right.
While I understand the frustration of seeing the older collections become obsolete, that should NOT be a basis for reviewing this new collection. A review should be based on the product to be reviewed. Not on the company who issued it and not be prejudiced by frustrations of feeling the need to rebuy something. My review is based on what I received from CBS Video by way of Amazon.
This collection is how DVD collections should be done. It is comprehensive in that it contains all of the Twilight Zone episodes from the first season in the order they originally aired. It comes in slim cases, so it doesn’t take up too much space. The attractive packaging for each slip case has information on the episodes contained on the disc in the case. The shows have been remastered from high quality original sources. They look superb. There are also some interesting extras, including commentaries, Rod Serling lectures, bloopers and Serling’s network pitch for the pilot show. As for the 36 episodes from season one, nearly all excellent, with some being outright classics.
My personal favorite is “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street,” which combines prejudice, morality and science fiction without preaching. Other classics include “Walking Distance,” “Time Enough At Last,” “People Are Alike All Over” and “A Stop At Willoughby.” Great acting makes “One For The Angels” and “A Passage For Trumpet” must viewing. Creepy camera angles make “Third From The Sun” an interesting viewing experience. “And When The Sky Was Opened,” “The Hitch-Hiker” and “The After Hours” are both terrifying and unforgetable. The final show, “A World of His Own” is clever and humorous.
And as a special bonus, the set includes a reduced size edition of the excellect book “The Twilight Zone Companion.”
This is what every DVD collection should be like. A true five star collection.