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The Twilight Zone: Season Three (1961) Blu-ray Movie Review

"That's the signpost up ahead. Your next stop: the Twilight Zone."

| Blu-ray Movie Reviews in HT & Movies | Posted: Jun 18, 2011 11:43 am
TweakTown Rating: 79%      Manufacturer: Shock Home Entertainment

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After two highly successful seasons of the Twilight Zone, creator and writer Rod Serling was beginning to feel rather burnt out, culminating in him significantly cutting back his input to the show at the end of the season. At this point he had written some 70 scripts in 2 years that were produced and countless more that had not - no mean feat.

 

Despite this, season three continues to remain strong, with numerous memorable episodes including "It's a Good Life" (which I recall being lampooned on an episode of The Simpsons and also remade in the 1983 feature length Twilight Zone Movie) and To Serve Man (also referenced in The Simpsons).

 

Like many episodes of the Twilight Zone, many episodes feel padded out and their editing style is a far cry from snappier paced entertainment we now enjoy. But there is something rather quaint and almost innocent about the series that is hard to resist, even if you don't appreciate every single episode. For that reason I'm so glad that the series has been restored to (and even surpassing) its former glory for the next generation to enjoy.

 

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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.

 

Thankfully, like season one of the show, every one of the season three episodes were filmed on 35mm, with none being committed to analog tape. As such, the quality is significantly higher across the board than those featured on season two.

 

The transfer reveals many flaws in the production of the series which would never have been revealed in other formats, such as seams in character makeup and flaws in the visual effects - but this is all part of the charm of the now 50 year old series.

 

Overall, this set features some very pleasing transfers that replicate the Twilight Zone masters perfectly.

 

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Audio

 

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

 

Fans of the series that have picked up the first and second series of The Twilight Zone will know exactly what to expect here. Like those before it, the remastered audio tracks are every bit their 50 years of age and all the audio track can do here is present that to the best of its capacity. It's fine enough, but don't go expecting much in the way of surround or bass activity.

 

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There's not much that really needs to be said about the audio, other than it's perfectly audible and relatively clear. Sound effects and music scrub well, albeit hampered by a strangled frequency response.

 

Overall, this features perfectly serviceable audio under the constraints of the original elements.

 

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Extras

 

Again, Shock Entertainment and Image have produced a fabulous treasure trove of extras for fans of the series. Let's jump in.

 

Like previous sets, 22 of the episodes feature an Audio Commentary (in fact, many have multiple commentary tracks); featuring original actors, screenwriters and Twilight Zone aficionados such as authors and film historians. Life is too short to keep listening to these tracks (maybe I'm not as hardcore as some of you) but diehard fans will have plenty to be happy about. Additionally, almost all of the episodes also feature an Isolated score audio track from Hollywood legends such as Jerry Goldsmith and Bernard Hermann.

 

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 19 episodes equal around 14 hours of audio. Plasma owners would be recommended to simply turn off their display during this time.

 

Finally, we have a bunch of vintage Interview segments and promotional spots for the series. Thank God they don't do product tie-ins like this anymore.

 

Overall, an extremely impressive collection of extras. Just like the first two seasons, it's hard to imagine this set will ever be bettered. When this collection is finished later this year, fans will be very happy indeed.

 

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