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The Twilight Zone: Season One (1959) Blu-ray Movie Review

"There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man…It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone."

| Blu-ray Movie Reviews in HT & Movies | Posted: Mar 5, 2011 4:32 pm
TweakTown Rating: 81%Manufacturer: Shock Entertainment

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Before I start, for all those under 25 years of age. No, The Twilight Zone is not some new, awesome forum for Twilight fans. Neither is it a documentary on either the Twilight books or films. So click away if you were expecting that. For everyone else, The Twilight Zone is the original and classic science fiction TV series from the late 1950's and spanning into the early 1960's. Every episode is a self-contained story within itself, with a different cast and setting. Many Hollywood writers and actors had stints on The Twilight Zone early on in their career; it really is a 'who's who' museum of sorts.

 

The first season of The Twilight Zone features 36 half hour episodes over its 5 discs. Episode highlights include 'Time enough at last' featuring a nuclear holocaust survivor and 'The four of us are dying'.

 

The Twilight Zone really is a classic of the Television medium, with a level of quality that was unmatched for decades. While some younger viewers might be turned off by the black and white nature of the series, I'd strongly suggest that a new generation give it a go - I doubt they'll be disappointed.

 

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Video

 

The Twilight Zone is presented in a full screen aspect ratio of 1.33:1 (its original aspect ratio), encoded with AVC MPEG-4 compression.

 

Like most TV series of the time, The Twilight Zone was shot on 35mm film, before being transferred to video. All previous TV, VHS and DVD masters were derived from these video transfers. However, recently copyright owner Image undertook a major restoration of the series from the original camera negative, revealing a level of detail and quality never seen before.

 

For fans of the series, the quality on offer here is nothing short of a miracle. Check out almost any shot featuring a facial close up to see exactly what I mean. Obviously, there is no colour in the image, but the gradients of black and white are pleasing, with very little black crush.

 

Overall, a beautiful transfer and one that does not disappoint.

 

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Audio

 

The main restored audio track is encoded in uncompressed PCM 2.0 (dual mono) with an unrestored audio track using the same codec.

 

Obviously, with a mono track no one is expecting amazing sonic quality, and if you aren't you won't be disappointed. This audio track is really about restoring the audio that viewers heard 50 years ago and not about re-creating it to appeal to today's generation.

 

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There's not much that really needs to be said about the audio. Suffice to say it is highly audible and very clear. And that's all we really expected.

 

Overall, a very serviceable track and a pleasing restoration without going overboard.

 

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Extras

 

Wow. This really is the definitive Twilight Zone collection - they've thrown the kitchen sink at this one. There's so much good stuff, newly produced and vintage, it really is a feast for fans. Let's jump in.

 

19 of the 36 episodes feature an Audio Commentaries; featuring original actors, screenwriters and Twilight Zone aficionadas such as authors and film historians. I didn't listen to each and every one due to the obvious time factors, but I thoroughly enjoyed what was on offer here - fans will definitely learn a lot and be enthralled by the tidbits and trivia they'll learn. Additionally, every episode bar one features an Isolated score from Hollywood legends such as Jerry Goldsmith and Bernard Hermann.

 

Next up are a few unaired goodies; the original cut of the episode 'Where is everybody' is a few minutes longer than the finished cut and the episode which is generally considered to be the pilot for the series - 'The Time Element' which runs for nearly an hour.

 

A 2002 re-creation of select episodes were performed as radio plays and are presented here with a single still image as a background. All 18 episodes equal around 14 hours of audio. Plasma owners would be recommended to simply turn off their display.

 

Finally, we have a bunch of vintage Interview segments, Rod Serling's undated Emmy Award Acceptance Speech and promo spots for the series.

 

Overall, a very impressive collection of extras. It's hard to imagine this will ever be bettered.

 

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