When Twilight Zone entered its fourth season, changes took place. Producer Buck Houghton moved on, and Serling's involvement in the show was considerably less. The series also became made up of 18 hour long episodes. Unfortunately, this experiment never really caught on and the next season reverted back to half hour stories.
The fourth season has had something of a bad reputation for many years, but it seems that people are beginning to realise that some of the episodes worked extremely well at the expanded length.
The episodes that work well: 'In His Image,' about a man prone to psychotic tendencies and memory problems, who discovers a terrible truth; 'Death Ship,' featuring the excellent Jack Klugman and Ross Martin, about a space ship crew who discover their own dead bodies; 'Jess-Belle,' Earl Hamner Jr's finest episode, about a young woman who seeks out a potion in order to keep her beloved; 'Miniature,' an originally non-syndicated episode starring Robert Duvall as a shy, sweet man who falls in love with a figure from a dolls' house; 'The Incredible World of Horace Ford,' in which a toy designer returns to his childhood - literally; 'On Thursday We Leave For Home,' a powerful story with a superb central performance from James Whitmore; and 'The Bard,' a lighthearted satire about a writer who summons Shakespeare to help him with his plays.
The rest of the episodes either fall flat or remain average. 'The Thirty-Fathom Grave,' 'He's Alive,' 'No Time Like The Past,' 'The Parallel,' 'I Dream of Genie,' and 'Of Late I Think Of Cliffordville' are episodes that just don't work, and suffer from the expanded length.
The remaining episodes are pretty average - all full of good ideas that don't come off so well in execution.
But there's one episode that is difficult to watch for entirely different reasons. 'Mute' is the most uncomfortable episode the series has ever produced. Essentially supposed to be an episode about finding love in a family, it actually presents itself to be an episode more about child abuse, and the disturbing after taste of the episode stems from the viewer being made to believe that the story has a happy ending. It's extremely bleak.
This is still a very worthwhile season to buy, and the DVD itself will surprise you. This boxset has some more extras than the previous release. Interviews with some of the real players, Serling clips, colourised footage of 'Miniature,' commentaries as always and an excellent contemporary commentary by Marc Scott Zicree for 'Death Ship.'
After this, Twilight Zone stumbled into its worst season, Season five. But Season four can stand well on its own, and is certainly worthwhile of a fans consideration.