The first season of The Twilight Zone received a rapturous response when it was first aired on American screens in the fall of 1959. For all its quality attributes; the acting, the music and the adult tone of the series, the one thing that set The Twilight Zone above its rivals on television screens was the quality of its scripts. Rod Serling worked extremely hard to craft an engaging series, with interesting, topical and thought provoking stories that are as relevant 50 years later as they always were.
Some episode highlights of the second series include: The Russian allegory The Invaders, the William Shatner starring The Nick of Time which was recently remade as the feature film The Box, and A Thing about Machines which goes to show that some things never change.
The vast majority of the second season Twilight Zone scripts were again penned by creator Rod Serling and showed little evidence of degradation and burn out that would plague later seasons. Just like the first series, The Twilight Zone is quality and relatively timeless television at its best.
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.
The vast majority of the second series of 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. For this release (and future broadcasting) new 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. Unfortunately, due to studio cost cutting, six of the episodes were shot and edited on low quality analog tape. Unsurprisingly, these look considerably poorer than the majority of the episodes shot on film.
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, this set features some very pleasing transfers that replicate the Twilight Zone masters perfectly.
The main restored audio track is encoded in uncompressed PCM 2.0 (dual mono) with an unrestored mono audio track using the same codec.
Viewers of the Twilight Zone: Season will know exactly what to expect here. The audio track on offer here is every bit the 50 years of age and all the audio track can do here is present it to the best of its capacity. It's fine enough, but don't go expecting any surround sound shenigans here.
There's not much that really needs to be said about the audio. Suffice to say, it is highly audible and very clear. Sound effects and music sound perfectly fine, however their frequency response is severely hampered.
Overall, this features perfectly serviceable audio under the constraints of the original elements.
Again, Shock Entertainment and Image have produced a fabulous treasure trove of extras for fans of the series. Let's jump in.
20 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. 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, 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 16 episodes equal around 12 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 promo spots for the series.
Overall, a very impressive collection of extras. Just like the first season, it's hard to imagine this set will ever be bettered.
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