This is my second review in as many that has given a zero to the poor packaging and contents and higher marks to the show itself.Let's take a look at the show first and then we'll take a look at the rest.
This is one of the top Sci-Fi shows ever to appear on television.Created by Leslie Stevens and Joe Stefano the show made its' premiere in Sept. of 1963 and WHAT a premiere it was."The Galaxy Being" certainly scared the living begeesus out of me and I will never forget that.The whole look and feel was totally different and it definitely was not The Twilight Zone but a deep and darker version of it.Nothing that intense had been seen on TV before and nothing would equal it's impact for many years.The show was directly helmed by the team of Stefano and Stevens with Dominic Frontieres' great scoring in the background through all of season one.When Season two arrived all three had departed and were replaced by others.The format underwent minor changes but it basically stayed true to its' roots.The entire story is detailed wonderfully in the "Outer Limits Companion" by David Schow and Jeff Frentzen.
Some prefer one season over the other but there is much to recommend both.Season one has its' "Galaxy Being","The Zanti Misfits","Second Chance" ,"Production and Decay of Strange Particles" and "A Feasibility Study".Season Two "The Inheritors-Parts 1&2","Keeper of the Purple Twilight" and one of the entire series top eps "The Demon with the Glass Hand".The series is filled with many well known actors like Cliff Robertson,Ted Knight,Robert Culp,Ed Asner,Eddie Albert,Robert Duvall and so many more.There is also a huge Star Trek connection as William Shatner,Leonard Nimoy and James Doohan would all make appearances,along with many of the future shows supporting actors.The ep "Production and Decay..." contains at least five future Trek actors at once,including Leonard Nimoy!
The show never had a big budget and many of the shows today look dated as a result but in quite a few like "Demon...",the props are totally minimal and it is the great script,direction and acting that more than compensate for any shortcomings in the special effects department.That the show could do so much with so little at times,is a testament to the skill of everyone involved.
It is so unfortunate it only lasted two short seasons as the show should have gone many more.As one ep in the first season states:"Maybe young people are the only ones who listen and understand-you can't reach a closed mind".And so it was,as the almighty ratings beast dictated to the head network honchos just how they ought to proceed with shows;promising or not.The biggest shows' fans were the younger gen of the time who did write in frequently praising the show but it was the adults in the end who controlled the decision making of what to watch and they weren't generally impressed with the show;at least not enough for ABC to continue with it.To top this,in the second season it was put up against the ever popular(among the entire family) Jackie Gleason Show;and Gleason wasn't going anywhere.The show may have been cancelled but it has continued in syndication ever since staying in the collective memories of those who first saw it and gaining new fans along the way.
Now let's look at the presentation.The one thing positive about this new set is the price.The original release about eight years ago broke the series into two release sets and both at the same price(at least $10 higher than this set per season!).Everything else goes down hill from here.MGM has decided in their "wisdom" to re-release this set again in the double sided disc format.BAD choice,period.As I stated in my other recent review Universal and MGM(among others) have a fondness for this type of release;it is cheap and yields the greastest profit.DVDs are notoriously scuff and scratch prone and that alone should preclude any such release of this type if these companies actually cared about the product and consumers.
The second thing about this "new" set is...that it isn't.I do not see any difference in the transfer of this product onto DVD from the original release sets."A Feasibility Study" was particlularly grainy in the first release and it remains so in this one and all other eps with any excesses in this area are also the same.So the question presents itself:"Why?".Why would MGM not remaster these eps like they should be,after all this time?
I can certainly recommend the series itself as a groundbreaking one of its' day,as many of the eps still hold up very well,despite the budgetary restrictions.But it gets a zero as far as release presentation goes.It certainly is cheaper than the original release sets but it is just a simple re-packaging of the material on hand.Shame on MGM.