on October 26, 2004
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!
on October 21, 2004
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.
on December 30, 2004
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.
List and Description of Episodes and Special Features:
Episode 1: 'Where is Everybody?'- Earl Holliman stars as a man on the edge of hysteria in a deserted town. Despite the emptiness, he has the strangest feeling hes being watched.
Episode 2: 'One for the Angels'- A Salesman cleverly eludes death. But if he lives a little girl must die in his place. Only the salesman greatest pitch can save her.
Episode 3: 'Mr. Denton on Doomsday'- A drunk of a gunslinger finds his fast draw abilities can be restored by drinking a magic potion.
Episode 4: 'The Sixteen Millimeter Shrine'- an aging former movie star lives and dreams in the past. She refuses to leave her screening room until she disapears.
Episode 5: 'Walking Distance'- Martin Sloan is plays a frazzled executive who learns that you can go home again after he steps back in time and meets his mom his dad and himself.
Episode 6: 'Escape Clause'- A hypocondriac exchanges his soul for immortality and indestructibility.
Episode 7: 'The Lonely'- A convicted murderer incarcerated on a distant asteroid and is dying of lonliness.
Episode 8: 'Time Enough at Last'- A Bookworm yearns for more time to read, then a nuclear holocaust leaves him alone in the world with lots of time, plenty to read and an ironic twist.
Episode 9: 'Penchance to Dream'- A man whos terrified of falling asleep in fear he might die. His pursuer? A mysterious vixen he meets in his dreams.
Episode 10: 'Judgement Night'- 1942, a german wonders why he is on the deck of a British Steamship with no memory of how he got there and impending doom.
Episode 11: 'And When the Sky was Opened'- Col. Clegg Forbes 'Rip Taylor' and 2 astronauts return from their space flight. They soon discover that no one remembers them as if they never even existed.
Episode 12: 'What You Need'- Two bit thug thinks hes found the key to a better life in and old sidewalk salesman who has the uncanny ability to tell people what 'they need' most.
Episode 13: 'The Four of us are Dying'- Gifted with the ability to change his face Arch Hammer devises a plan to elevate himself. The plan works perfectly until he's caught with the wrong face at the wrong time.
Episode 14: 'Third from the Sun'- William Surka and a friend steal an experimental spaceship and go off to an unknown planet.
Episode 15: I shot an Arrow into the Air'- The worlds first manned space mission goes awry stranding the crew on an asteroid that is desolate and waterless. One man ruthlessly grasps for survival before a peculiar symbol reveals the groups true location.
Episode 16: 'The Hitchhiker'- Alone on a cross country trip Nan Adams 'Inger Stevens' has a blowout. Surviving the incident, she gets back on the road, only to see the same hitch-hiker everywhere she looks.
Episode 17: 'The Fever'- Tight fisted Franklin Gibbs is not happy when his wife wins a trip for 2 to Vegas. But things change when he falls under the spell of a slot machine that calls his name!
Episode 18: 'The Last Flight'- World War One flying ace 'Kenneth Haigh' flies through a mysterious cloud and lands at a modern U.S. Airbase in the year 1960.
Episode 19: 'The Purple Testament'- Lt. Fitzgerald 'William Reynolds' has found his own special wartime hell. Looking into the faces of his men prior to battle he has the ability to see whos about to die.
Episode 20: 'Elegy'- 3 astronauts land on a remote asteroid where everyone is frozen in place. The only who moves is the caretaker who reveals they are in an exclusive cemetary where the deceased's greatest wishes come true.
Episode 21: 'Mirror Image'- Millicent Barnes 'Vera Miles' spies her exact double at a bus station and becomes convinced the double is trying to take her place in this world. A fellow passenger thinks shes crazy..at first.
Episode 22: 'The monsters are due on Maple St'- Inexplicable events cause the residents of Maple Street to errupt into rioting. Residents suspect alien invasion.
Episode 23: 'A World Of Diffrence'- Arthur Curtis 'Howard Duff' thinks hes an average businessman living a normal life. Or is he an actor playing a businessman in an office thats really a set?
Episode 24:' Long live Walter Jameson'- Professor Walter Jameson 'Kevin McCarthy is a great history teacher who talks about the past as if he lives it. Little can his students imagine...
Episode 25: 'People are Alike all over'- Space expidition crashes on Mars. Passenger Sam Conrad is terrified when he encounters martians. To his relief they are human, extremely friendly, and apparently just like us.
Episode 26: 'Execution'- man in 1880 about to be hanged for shooting a man in the back. But his life is spared when a machine throws him into the future. If only he could escape fate as easily...
Episode 27: 'The Big Tall Wish'- Over the hill prizefighter gets a boost from a lil boy whos a big fan in a disillusioned world... an unswerving belief in magic.
Episode 28: 'A Nice Place to Visit'- After being shot to death a theif encounters white haired pip who gives him everything he wishes.
Episode 29: 'Nightmare as a Child'- A schoolteacher who has blocked out the details of her Mother's murder and encounters a strange little girl intent on making her recall the murderer's identity.
Episode 30: 'A stop at Willoughby'- Advertising exec cracks under pressure of his job dreaming about a peaceful town called Willoughby.
Episode 31: 'The Chaser'- Roger Shackleforth 'George Grizzard', desperate to win the affection of the beautiful Leila 'Patricia Berry', slips her a love potion. He is overjoyed that the potion works so well.. At First.
Episode 32: 'A Passage for Trumpet'- After commiting suicide an unsuccessful trumpet player is given a second chance at life.
Episode 33: 'Mr. Bevis'- A good natured, accident prone eccentric whos guardian angel gives him a chance at success.
Episode 34: 'The After Hours'- A woman, 'Anne Francis' discovers that the floor of a department store on which she bought a gold thimble dosent exist and that her saleslady is really a mannequin.
Episode 35: 'The Mighty Casey'- Baseball team with a robot player.
Episode 36: 'A World of His Own'- Keenan Wynn is Gregory West, A Noted playwright who discovers he can make anything appear or disappear by just describing it... like his irritable wife or even Rod Serling.
Original Pilot Version of 'Where is Everybody?' It is introduced by Rod Serling in a filmed sales pitch to the network sponsors.
Also features an alternative narration by Rod Serling. Audio commentary by producer William Self and Rod Serling discusses the episode at a 1975 lecture at Sherwood Oaks College
Netherlands Sales Pitch
Liars Club: An episode of the popular 1970's game show by Rod Sterling
Rare Rod Serling Blooper- never before seen outtake
The Twilight Zone Radio Drama: 'The Lonely starring Mike Starr
Original Twilight Zone Billboards and Photo Galleries
Emmy Awards: Clips from the Emmy Awards Ceremony featuring wins for The Twilight Zone in the writing and Cinematography categories.
The Twilight Zone Comic Book: An issue of the popular comic from 1963 - DVD-ROM Feature. (Adobe Acrobat required)
Stunning Brand New Transfers. Remastered from High Definition Transfers using the original camera negatives and magnetic soundtracks
Audio Commentaries by Earl Holliman, Martin Landau, Rod Taylor, Martin Milner, Kevin McCarthy and William Self
Vintage Audio Recollections with Burgess Meredith, Douglas Heyes, Richard L. Bare, Buck Houghton, Anne Francis and Richard Matheson
Rod Serling Audio Lectures from Sherwood Oaks College
Isolated Music Scores featuring the legendary Bernard Herrmann, Jerry Goldsmith and more
Rod Serling Promo's for 'Next Weeks Show'
Original unaired Pilot version of 'Where is Everybody?' with Rod Serling's Network Pitch
Rare Rod Serling Blooper
Old time TV Commercials and More!
Overall, Excellent show and well worth the money. Highly Recommended to any fan.
on October 8, 2010
After first learning about this Blu-ray release, I was hesitant as I already own the Definitive DVD set. Regardless, my wife surprised me with this for our anniversary as she knows I'm a fan of both The Twilight Zone and the Blu-ray format.
So far I've watched all the episodes, but none of the extras so I can't comment on those specifically. My first impression was that the picture quality looks very good, but I wasn't necessarily blown away when comparing to how I remember the DVDs looking. I decided to do an A/B comparison, using my Panasonic BD60 for the Blu-ray and my Oppo 980H for the DVD (both going to a Pioneer 50" Kuro plasma). I compared random frames in pause mode with two episodes, "One For The Angels", and "Perchance To Dream". The amount of detail in longer shots was more of a subtle difference, but the Blu-ray still looked better. I noticed how the Blu-ray revealed much blacker blacks, and whiter whites. Because of this, the DVD has a bit of a yellow tinge that you don't see on the Blu-ray. It was obvious at this point that my memory of how the DVD looked was not the best.
Close-ups is where we see the the advantages of the Blu-ray to a much greater degree. In "One For The Angels", I was amazed at the added detail in Mr Death's hair, you can see every strand, and the black level makes it look even more realistic. In "Perchance To Dream", I paused both players when we see the close up of Richard Conte's face in horror. I could see far more detail, I literally saw the pores on his chin. The DVD didn't quite reproduce this frame as faithfully.
The sound quality of the Blu-ray, with it's lossless PCM audio track, is slightly better than the DVD's lossy Dolby Digital track (I'm using an Onkyo 705 receiver and JBL Northridge speakers). What's cool is the fact that both unrestored and restored audio tracks are included on the Blu-ray, and it's interesting to compare the two. At times, I couldn't tell the difference, and in other instances, the difference was very noticeable. Mostly what I heard was loudness level fluctuations in the unrestored track, and much more uniform audio with the restored lossless audio track. This made dialogue more consistent and intelligible. The restored track also seems to have slightly clearer bass response. I'll give the audio 4 out of 5 stars.
Overall, I give the picture quality of this Blu-ray 5 stars. When I first saw the Definitive DVDs, I would have also given them 5 stars as they looked better than I'd ever seen this show look (and that was with an older Pioneer DVD player and S-video!). On my Oppo upconverting player, the DVDs look even better. However, the Blu-ray looks even better yet.
on September 15, 2010
After reading the other reviews, I felt a need to add my own review. I, too, have purchased every edition of the Twilight Zone as it was released, from tape to the Definitive Editions. Yes, it would have been cheaper to wait on Blu-Ray, but who knew the abilities of Blu-Ray would even exist years ago. I received my Season One Edition on Blu-Ray, and have no regrets in the purchase. I have already pre-ordered Season Two! I have watched several episodes and think the transfer job was outstanding; but the best part of all was being able to watch William Bendix in the unofficial pilot, "Time Element". What a great show, especially uncut and without station logos in the picture. Image-Entertainment has done a great job with this set; now if they would only issue the final season of Night Gallery, another Rod Serling creation.
on May 28, 2011
The Twilight Zone: Season 1 [Blu-ray]
I had this collection on my wish list and my son bought it for me for Christmas. It was my best Christmas present, and the finest Blu-Ray collection I own.
I also own the Definitive Edition DVD set, and this totally blows it away in terms of quality. If I can point to one scene that would demonstrate the detail that you can see with this edition, check out "And When the Sky Was Opened" and go to the scene where the airman breaks into the bar after closing time. Before he breaks the glass, you can see the wavy lines in the glass....it's stunt glass, or candy glass! I don't think I had ever noticed that in all the times I had watched the episode in its previous incarnations.
Thanks to all who worked on this version from Image...you guys did a great job!
on November 3, 2011
There are a lot of 1-star reviews of this title dating back to October through January of 2011 dealing with many players' problems with disc 4 of this set (old pressings would cause certain players to freeze in the middle of "The Big Tall Wish"). The problem was confined to certain brands and/or firmware updates. These discs were later recalled and repressed and a replacement program WAS instituted. As such, these reviews are out of date and many are flat out innacurate. I should know. I had my disc 4 replaced after it stopped working when I had to switch out a BD-rom drive.
More likely than not if you were to order this release NOW it WILL WORK. And a good thing too since this is truly the definitive edition of the first season. It looks beautiful.
on January 1, 2005
I want to start this review with something that many are complaining about, the cost of the set. The gripes all seem to be from people who have bought previous versions, and contain a little bit of sour grapes. Of course, I speak from not having purchased any of the previous compilations (but almost did), so I am happy with the price, since it is 36 episodes after all.
It's true I am glad I found out about this new version before spending money on the others, but I have to say that this is the set everyone should have. The extras make it so much more than whatever came before. I like the isolated scores, but the best thing are the commentaries. Landau's for "Mr. Denton on Doomsday" is very interesting and intelligent. The most surprising one for me, though, was the audio Q&A that Serling had at a college in discussing my favorite episode, "Walking Distance". It was a shock to discover how much Serling disliked his own writing of the episode many years later. I still think the writing shows a great tenderness and sensitivity, but he really turned against it.
Going back to the cost of the set, for a moment, part of the reason for the high price is that they include the book, "The Twilight Zone Companion", in the box. I already have an edition but it still a good idea to include it because of how much more people can get from the episodes by reading about the making of each while watching it. (One bad part, though: this being a second edition of the book, I don't understand how they could not have fixed up the listing order of the episodes discussed into the way they were aired. It would make it a lot easier to follow along.)
All in all, I am very glad to own this set, and I look forward to future ones, which will be cheaper because they won't have the book.
on January 5, 2011
I was excited to get this blu-ray set when it was first announced; but then, after it was released, I hesitated to buy it for two reasons: the $70 price tag and the reviews from people who had trouble with discs not loading in their players.
I greatly rely on customer reviews when I purchase from Amazon, so after reading both positive and negative comments, I convinced myself to wait for Image (the blu-ray producer) to recall the set and re-release it someday, especially since I couldn't justify paying the $70 for it anyway.
Then, after Christmas 2010, "TZ Season 1" went on sale for about $48--still pricey but a little more affordable for my budget. I was tempted so much that I began re-reading the reviews and comments to see if any of the supposed bugs were still occurring. I came across one posting that recommended updating your blu-ray player's firmware so that it could handle this set's content-heavy discs. I saw that as a possible solution to what seemed to be occurring with folks. So, I took a chance and bought the Season 1 set at the sale price. As I waited for it to arrive, I was hopeful but still concerned that the discs wouldn't work on my blu-ray player, even if I could figure out how to update my firmware. But because of Amazon's great return policy, I felt reassured that if I couldn't make it work, I could always send it back.
I had never updated my Sony BDP-S350 before and didn't know how to do it (it's not hooked up to my Internet so it doesn't update automatically), so I went to the Sony web site, carefully followed the instructions, downloaded the latest firmware update for my player, and then burned the update files to a CD-R. I put the CD-R in my blu-ray player and let it run its course. To my surprise (I don't have a lot of luck with fixing things), after about 15 minutes it seemed to have worked. The message from the blu-ray player on my TV screen said that its firmware was updated.
I received the set in the mail and then carefully placed each disc in my player. I anxiously waited while I heard the low hum of my machine reading the high-def data on discs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Lo and behold, each disc loaded within seconds. With much happiness and relief, I was taken to the main menu screens on all the discs. To continue my test, I selected an episode on each menu and sampled a few minutes of several shows, smiling that it was working and that the episodes looked and sounded wonderful. I didn't mind this stop in The Twilight Zone at all!
My experience should convey 1) the importance of Amazon's reviewers (they swayed my opinion regarding wanting the set [those who had working discs raved about its quality], holding off on buying the set because of the loading problems, and finding a solution to the apparent problems), and 2) the affordability of something being a huge determining factor in purchasing it (I never would've taken the chance on buying the set had it not been on sale).
I look forward to watching this first season of one of my favorite shows and someday picking up the other seasons (provided they're on sale).
Thank you all for your help, and if you are wavering in your decision on buying this set, I would urge you to add it to your shopping cart (provided you have the latest firmware for your blu-ray player and that you think it's affordable).