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  • I don't care what anyone says, this is THE series that changed television and ushered in Sci-Fi and human frailty with excellent, excellent scripts.

    Okay, I'll admit, I was three, four and five years old respectively when this series had its first run. And again I will write the words parents don't want to hear or read about: "I remember". Not all, but most. Many of them I caught on re-runs in syndication when I was in my 20's and said, "Oh yeah, this is the one."

    But let me tell you about the ones I remember. I remember -- "The Architects of Fear", "The Sixth Finger", "Keeper of the Purple Twilight", "The Zanti Misfits", "Fun and Games", "Demon With a Glass Hand", "The Man Who was Never Born", "It Came from the Woodwork", "Children of Spider County", "I, Robot", "The Invisibles" and the wonderful, wonderful two parter, "The Inheritors".

    Those would be the "classics", but there are so many more. What do I remember about those? The Monsters and/or special effects. I didn't quite grasp how well written these were until much, much later. Make no mistake, they are very well written and thought provoking, alot of lessons to be learned/things to ponder even in 2003.

    A few notes from me though -- when ABC executive Ben Brady took over, (I guess around 1965?) some of the stories went more "soap opera" than the ones before it. They were still excellent stories but now with Ben Brady leading the helm, you knew his breakthrough night time series "Peyton Place" was rolling around in his mind. Again, this is something I noticed, way later upon syndication views.

    I've always had a secret wish, and that was to take a few of these classic Outer Limits series and develop a feature film out of each them. Some are so well written and hit right to the center of your brain to make you take a moment and wonder, seriously, about your world around you and those who are in charge of it.

    I am in love with this series. It is classic television, classic Sci-Fi, classic story writing and even though these folks had a nickel and a dime for a special effects budget, they did very, very, well for its time.

    Along with the writers, the creators of this 60's series, The Outer Limits, I also have to add that the music was to die for. It added so much to each installment. That and the main Cinematographer, the late, great, Conrad Hall. Wanta see the beginning of excellent work in cinnematography on a less than shoestring budget? Watch these. A must for all film students. You'll be so overwhelmed and wonder how could they do this for the money they had in the 60's no less.

    A must for everyone's library. I own every single one of the issues on VHS and started collecting on DVD. A genius of a series. A wonderful collaboration of Producers, Directors, Writers, Network, Actors, Actresses everyone to make a series that will be immortal. This series is beyond excellent.
  • I was a fan of this show from the premier episode of "The Galaxy Being" which I saw when I was ten years old. I just recently was given the DVD set of both seasons. It's great to be able to see THE UNCUT episodes the way they were originally broadcast. It's true that the special effects of the early 60's are rather crude compared to what can be done with CGI today, however, the original Outer Limits made up for it by two things which often are missing in todays science fiction movies and series:excellent story lines with equally excellent acting. Another thing which always stood out for me was the music score which accompanied each episode. I was surprised when my teenage daughter watched some of the episodes with me and like them. One episode which resonated with her was "Don't Open Til Doomsday" It was weird having her discuss the episode with me and express the same feelings that I had 42 years ago when I saw it for the first time. I have to say that when the technology allowed for more realistic and fantastic special effects it seemed to take the heart out of good story telling. Even though I watched The new Outer Limits on Showtime and enjoyed it I feel that it still was inferior to the original series.
  • I was eight when this show first appeared on TV. I can give no greater example of the potential power of television than by saying that when the control voice came on to take over the TV set, I would run out of the room. I couldn't watch a single first run episode of this show. Yet when it was over, I would relentlessly pump my brothers for information on what happened in each episode. And sitting in my room listening to the sounds in the living room and Dominic Frontiere's brilliant and unmatched score would transport me despite myself into realms of imagination and fear that I quite simply had never conceived of before. When I finally was old enough, and brave enough, to watch this show (and yes, I've seen every episode and now have the dozen best episodes on VHS), I discovered that what the camera had captured was, by and large, every bit as wondrous as what I had imagined. This show changed my life. How can any movie or TV show do more than that? Best 10 episodes: "The Architects of Fear", "Nightmare", "Demon with a Glass Hand", "O.B.I.T.", "Corpus Earthling", "The Sixth Finger", "It Crawled Out of the Woodwork", "The Borderland", "The Galaxy Being", and "The Inheritors". And don't miss the great performances by Robert Culp, Robert Duvall, David McCallum, James Shigeta, Jill Haworth, Martin Landau, Jeff Corey, Salome Jens, Martin Sheen, Henry Silva, Ed Asner, Nina Foch, George Macready, Sally Kellerman, Arline Martel, Warren Oates, Michael Ansara, Ivan Dixon, Leonard Nimoy, and Steve Ihnat - among others. The so-called Outer Limits anthology series running now doesn't have a clue of what "The Outer Limits" is all about. I wish the producers would be honest and just not use the title "Outer Limits". Then I could forgive them their mediocrity. And for those who say the original is outdated, I say you're only missing out on what this show really means. And don't be so sure that what we understand about the universe now - IN OUR SOULS - is better than what we understood in 1963. Thank you, Internet Movie Database. I've finally found the forum to get this off my chest.
  • I was nine years old when this classic series debuted. The episodes that scared me the most and the reasons why were: "Nightmare" (the sadistic powers of the Ebonite control rod), "It Crawled Out of the Woodwork" (a swirling cloud-monster frightening people to death), "The Guests" (being dragged upstairs for interrogation by a gelatinous brain), "Don't Open Till Doomsday" (being seized and drawn into a box inhabited by a one-eyed alien blob), "A Feasibility Study" (having your neighborhood kidnapped and taken to an alien world while you sleep), and "The Production and Decay of Strange Particles" (radiation suits taken over by energy beings whose face masks glow with lightning bolts). Episodes I really enjoy now are "Demon With A Glass Hand" (great location in the darkened, dilapidated office building, total suspense), "Architects of Fear" (Robert Culp's superb portrayal of a man being transformed into an alien and losing his sanity), "O.B.I.T" (an early commentary about the dangers of electronic spying and loss of privacy), "ZZZZZ" (insects turn the tables on humankind and send one of their own to our world), "The Bellero Shield" (Sally Kellerman's excellent portrayal of a "murderous wife"), "The Invisible Enemy" (sea serpent-like beasts dragging their victims underneath the sand) and "The Mice" (who could forget the grinding claws and constant stalking behavior of this grotesque monster alien?). I do favor the first season more than the second season, because the episodes and story plots are harsher and darker with very chilling music.

    In general, series creator Joe Stefano's suspicion of government and scientific research institutions and their motives is truly admirable. Also, he does not always make the aliens the bad guys, as shown in "Nightmare" when the Ebonite wants to put a stop to Earth-government sanctioned torture of POW's. "Outer Limits" on DVD brings an even richer, louder and penetrating quality to this outstanding series. Also, "The Outer Limits: The Official Companion" is a great book for information about the show's production and episodes.
  • This science fiction anthology series that lasted for 2 seasons and 49 episodes, great acting, superb set design, and wonderful stories made this in some ways better than even "the Twilight Zone". I know that statement could very well be considered close to heresy to some, and don't get me wrong I do love Twilight Zone and hold it among my favorite shows, I merely find the endlessly thought-provoking and wonderous episodes of Outer Limits to edge out the great, but reallying on last-minute twists episodes of Twilight Zone. Followed in the mid '90's by a revival show on Showtime that while good in it's own right, just couldn't hope to hold a candle to the original series.

    My Grade: A+
  • From reading the comments many people love this series,and I am another "Outer Limits " fan.The 60's show is far superior to its 90's namesake and the cliched special effects driven SF programs being made today."The Outer Limits" had none of the technological wizardry available to t.v.now, nor even the recources Irwin Allen's productions at Twentieth Century Fox and"Star Trek" at Desilu/Paramount could draw upon in the 1960's.The series was made by Leslie Steven's "Daystar" productions(a small independent),in black and white and on very tight budgets using the Hollywood soundstages of KTTV(and later Paramount Sunset), with some external scenes shot at the MGM backlot at Culver city.The special effects and makeup vary in quality ,some are very good indeed bearing in mind the limitations in budget (examples-the "Sixth finger", "Nightmare","The chameleon", "A feasability study","The galaxy being" "The Bellero shield" and "The keeper of the purple twilight"--what a title!). The show comes from a period when an unusual amount of high quality writing was evident on American t.v.drama (despite what the F.CC. were saying about t.v. being a "vast wasteland").In my view the first season produced by Joseph Stefano is generally superior to the second when Ben Brady of "Perry Mason" took over.Stefano, who had in 1960 scripted "Psycho" for Hitchcock, wrote quite a number of episodes and extensively re-wrote many of the scripts provided by others during the first season. Not just the writing, but the cinematography (often by Conrad Hall),direction and music gives the show a brooding, moody "otherworldly" quality.Gerd Oswald, a minor film director, was used extensively on the show and his episodes are often the most striking. Even the best series will have it's quota of poorer episodes.In my opinion, among "The Outer Limits" worst are "The Probe"(the final episode,with a notably pathetic monster), "The duplicate man"(an interesting idea poorly executed,with another rotten monster), "Behold Eck", "Cold hands, warm heart", "Tourist attraction","The mutant" and "Specimen unknown"(fiendish extra terrestrial plants which sure aint Triffids!--oddly the highest rated episode of the series).Among my favorite shows are "The sixth finger", "A feasability study" ,"Nightmare", "The chameleon"( with Robert Duvall), "Fun and games"(with a great performance by Nick Adams),and "The Inheritors"( a two parter with Duvall again, and featuring a terrific speech at the end, beautifully delivered by Steve Ihnat). A special mention for four outstanding episodes.In "Obit","The Outer Limits" , back in 1963,was warning about that unpleasant instinct in people which leads them to want to spy into the personal lives of others,and which t.v. has sunk to pandering to today with the likes of "Big brother" and "Survivor"."The forms of things unknown",is a stunning piece, an object lesson in what can be achieved by talented people with a limited budget.The car recklessly driven down the road, Andre's poisoning in the lake, and Tone's weird clock machine are all images that you don't easily forget."The man who was never born", a sci -fi variant on "Beauty and the beast", is full of poetic writing and dreamlike scenes.Martin Landau is superb as the soulful mutant from the future, and the poignant final shot where the camera pulls back from a bereft Shirley Knight who is left in a tiny box of light with the dark all around, is the kind of ingenious moment which starkly sets "The Outer Limits" apart from most t.v. productions."The Guests" is a show I often return to.Within the framework of a Sci-Fi horror tale, we find an elegy on the passage of time, love and loss, beautifully filmed with an outstanding musical score. The performances, from Gloria Grahame( cast in type), Luana Anders( cast rather against type),Geoffrey Horne(among others), the direction by Paul Stanley and script by Donald S. Sanford reward re-viewing with further insights and appreciations.A landmark series.
  • poe42614 January 2002
    I was among the lucky ones who saw this series when first it aired; was lucky enough to find myself going to bed afterward feeling... uneasy... It was somewhat unnerving at the time to see the familiar test pattern flutter and roll and to hear a voice solemnly intone, "There is nothing wrong with your television set..." That feeling must be akin to the gut-wrenching dread people felt when The Mercury Theater broadcast WAR OF THE WORLDS in 1938. Orson Welles, his distinctive voice calmly modulated, told a tale of terror that panicked the nation. Vic Perrin, who did The Control Voice at the start of each episode, spoke calmly and lucidly as he told us not to adjust our television sets: "There is nothing wrong..." In many respects, he was right: we were now in the hands of perhaps the most talented group of innovators in television history. Had Val Lewton (who pioneered "thinking man's horror" with movies like CAT PEOPLE, I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE, ISLE OF THE DEAD and -my favorite- THE BODY SNATCHER, during the 1940's) turned his talents to science fiction, he might well have produced something along the lines of THE OUTER LIMITS. I won't bother to list the responsible parties by name here in these comments (that's what the IMDb is for), but for the brilliant creator, Leslie Stevens, writer-producer Joseph Stefano (who had adapted Robert Bloch's novel PSYCHO for mastermind Alfred Hitchcock), cinematographer Conrad Hall, and composer Dominic Frontiere (whose music has haunted more than one sleepless night).

    From the opening moments of THE GALAXY BEING, it was clear that this was not going to be just another run-of-the-mill show. It was creepy, but in a dramatic, thoughtful way that most TV never is. (Now, of course, we have THE X FILES- but there was a very, very long time when viewers looking for something of genuine worth on television were left wanting.) The fact that the series was being shot in black and white (which always puts the viewer at one remove), with LOTS of shadows and an overall Gothic sensibility underscored (pun intended) by the theme music, marked this as a series of no small consequence; in fact, I've stated before, in print, that THE OUTER LIMITS is the greatest anthology series ever aired. The first season provided some, er, stellar episodes. Among my personal favorites are: THE GALAXY BEING, THE ARCHITECTS OF FEAR, THE SIXTH FINGER, THE MAN WHO WAS NEVER BORN, CORPUS EARTHLING, NIGHTMARE, THE ZANTI MISFITS, THE MICE, THE INVISIBLES, THE BALLERO SHIELD, THE CHILDREN OF SPIDER COUNTY, THE MUTANT, THE GUESTS, FUN AND GAMES, THE SPECIAL ONE, A FEASIBILTY STUDY, THE CHAMELEON, and THE FORMS OF THINGS UNKNOWN. Not a bad percentage for the first season alone...

    The second season provided its share of memorable moments, beginning with Harlan Ellison's adaptation of his short story, SOLDIER. (The audio track from this episode would make a great "audio book;" it's THAT well written.) There was also EXPANDING HUMAN, DEMON WITH A GLASS HAND (an award-winning episode and another potential "audio book," again written by Harlan Ellison), CRY OF SILENCE, I,ROBOT, THE INHERITORS, KEEPER OF THE PURPLE TWILIGHT and THE DUPLICATE MAN. Argue the merits of each and every episode I've listed here, but rest assured of one thing: you won't be BORED.
  • If you wanted to know what really good,really spectacular effects along with a good story for maximum effort,then this show set the standard for all science fiction shows as we know it today. And for good reason. For one the stories were based on science fiction subjects ranging for nuclear explosions,aliens and extraterrestials from another world(and some of the most scariest monsters on TV back then!),and creatures from beyond the depths of imagination,and secondly humans who tried to communicate beyond the point of other dimensions and other lifeforms. This show came along with the status of other science fiction shows that domination TV sets throughout the 1960's,with titles like "The Twilight Zone", "Boris Karloff's Thriller","Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea","Lost in Space","Star Trek",and the UFO series "The Invaders". In my opinion about this show it scares the daylights out of me every time I see it. The new version doesn't have a clue to what the original was like,and to me the original rules. Point Blank. Even though it ran for two astounding seasons and producing a total of 49 episodes running in prime-time for ABC-TV from September 16,1963 until January 16,1965,the science-fiction/horror anthology series "The Outer Limits" brought some of the most electrifying special effects ever devised for TV(it would have really fantastic if the original series would have stayed around for another season to make its transition to color but the entire series was shown in black and white). During its first season, the series brought in astounding ratings then toward its second season the powers that be at ABC torpedoed it when it moved from Monday nights to Saturday nights opposite "The Jackie Gleason Show",and "Flipper" which clobbered it in the ratings. Several episodes do stand out as brilliant that made up the guest star roster ranging from future "Star Trek" cast members William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Grace Lee Whitney, James Doohan and DeForest Kelley. Other guest stars were Donald Pleasence, Adam West, Arlene Martel, David McCallum, Barbara Luna, Jill Haworth to Martin Sheen, Sally Kellerman, Robert Culp, Michael Ansara, Eddie Albert,Cliff Robertson and future Oscar winner Robert Duvall. There were 32 episodes for Season 1 of this series that aired from September 16, 1963 until May 4,1964. For its second and final season when ABC moved the series from Monday nights to Saturday nights in an earlier time slot opposite "The Jackie Gleason Show" and "Flipper" a total of 17 episodes aired from September 19,1964 until January 16,1965 when it was canceled in mid-season. The show that replaced "The Outer Limits" on January 24,1965 was the variety family series "The King Family Hour".
  • Let me take you back. Let me pull you there. A male human child of 6 cycles. It is 1963. Dad was cool and suggested we watch this new 'weirdo' show. We did that sort of thing together - bonding, don't you know? From the very first second the show was unlike anything I had ever seen before. The set up? We just lost control of our TV sets and 'they' were going to show us something - 'awe and mystery'. I'm all for that. 'The Twilight Zone' had already done this...yet this was something different. The visuals combined with the truly subversively semi-subliminal (I hope) sound effects - very compelling. It pulled you right in, teased and hypnotized. Then, that gut wrenching music slowly wanders in and disorients. Hurry up, commercial! Get over already! (Commercials were somewhat shorter back then as I recall)

    I believe the first episode, which I haven't seen in years, segued right from the sine-wave intro. I also recall the intro as being a bit longer with the first few episodes. I could be wrong. These were on TV and - you know - TV takes liberties. Later episodes started right in on the action...a prologue to tease you for what's to come. Then - a crescendo note of surprise, awe and mystery - the 'sine-wave- intro. I want to watch this! This same technique was later adopted by such peers as 'The X-files'.

    Folks! The original Outer Limits intro was fun! It was almost art...the first season anyway. I do like the 'new' Outer Limits on occasion - but that intro of theirs? Ugh, I can't wait til it's over and the show starts. The intro of the original series came as a part of the package.

    Then we have those stories. A child of 6 expects monsters to be monsters. Many of these monsters - each horrific in a surprisingly memorable way - turned out to be well-meaning or benign. That will certainly screw with the perceptive 6 year old mind. So, the monster under my bed might not be a monster at all? Wow!

    Yes, those stories were assisted by the most symbiotic music I had heard at the time. Those dirges piped in at just the right moment, working the mood into a niche, and making the plot point. You know, we, the audience, were being seduced by the notes to 'listen up! You might learn something'. The second season unfortunately lost these tunes and were replaced by this wavering 1950-ish B-movie ilk. I shouldn't bash it. It wasn't bad - it just wasn't the Frontiere-groove anymore, man.

    I could adorn each episode with praises. Even a bad one was better for me than anything else on TV then. If they were on today I would still watch a bad episode. They still made you consider your place in the Universe. Sometimes they even scared the crap out of you. But the good episodes were gems! Those creatures were fantastic. At the time our local station edited 'Architects Of Fear' so we never got to see the creature since it was deemed too scary. The story still held together even without the extra boost a fearsome face would provide. Many years later I finally saw what the creature looked like. I can see why the stations did what they did for that innocent era. I probably would have screamed myself to sleep. 'Zanti Misfits' had me doing that anyway. The 'Bellero Shield' had me upset for years. I think I actually understood the ending at 6 years old.

    So, I am not going to keep listing episodes. I like them all and will be owning them in my library.

    Bottomline, folks! If you haven't seen any of these - DO! Unfortunately short-lived, these early episodes are a one-of-a-kind example of good TV. Rare and perhaps extinct. A series that didn't underestimate its audience and nearly always challenged them. Giving this an 8 because of the poor second season - though the first season is frequently easily a 9 or above.
  • Although "The Outer Limits" was hampered by excruciatingly low budgets (creating, in some cases, some ridiculous special effects), it was a terrific show that died an unnatural death. As IMDb pointed out, the network effectively killed it--even though it has been a popular show. Why? I have no idea, but it's a shame the series only ran two years--two very, very good years.

    In my summary, I mentioned the rival series "The Twilight Zone". This is because they clearly dealt with a lot of the same material, though "The Outer Limits" more often had themes involving sci-fi and monsters--more the paranormal. This isn't the only reason I prefer watching re-runs of "The Outer Limits". The big one is that there were very few really bad episodes--only a few flat ones (such as two involving South/Central American dictators that simply didn't fit in and only seemed to be there to attack these folks). It was consistently creepy, entertaining and thought-provoking. And, because they only made a few, it's not a lot of effort to see all of them for yourself--you'd be doing yourself a favor.
  • This classic series is so much fun to watch. Everything about it is great. The opening is very well crafted, the episodes are very well written and entertaining with a wide variety of fine actors and actresses and the special effects are truly splendid. It is my opinion that this show serves as a prime example of why classic science fiction is so much fun to watch.
  • Hokey, cheap special effects, yes, especially those giant ants!! BUT! Still one of the scariest, most atmospheric shows ever to run on network television. As an adult looking back to the show that frightened me so much as a child, it's fascinating to see the early work of great actors like Duval, Landau, Sheen, Shatner, Nimoy, the guy who played Lou Grant, I could go on and on. I don't know what else I could say without repeating what has been already said, has anyone mentioned the music that played at the end credits in the first season? My favorite episodes are The Inheritors, and the pilot, The Galaxy Being. The negative shot of the monster walking through the pawnshop past the hanging guitars was a genius use of the limited special effect techniques available at the time.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    !!!!!! Suggestive Spoilers !!!!!!

    This is a show that is possibly most remembered by the audience for its opening narration : " There is nothing wrong with your television set . Do not attempt to .... " which is a pity . Certainly THE TWILIGHT ZONE seems far more fondly remembered even though it's an inferior anthology series . In fact I would say when it comes to American Sci-Fi television only the early seasons of THE X FILES surpasses TOL in any way . This is pulp sci-fi at its most cerebral and compelling and whilst not every episode is a masterpiece it's always entertaining

    TOL was broadcast on American television in 1963 the same year the BBC produced a show in Britain called DOCTOR WHO . Both shows share a common ground but where as Doctor Who started off as an educational family adventure series where stories alternated between historical dramas and SF adventures, from the outset TOL had a monster fixation along with imagery . This was down to producers Leslie Stevens and Joseph Stefano who felt the show needed a monster in every story euphemistically called a " bear " in order to grab the audiences attention

    To be blunt these " bears " have dated very poorly to an audience who have spent their lives on a diet of Hollywood blockbusters but the producers deserve some credit for making the aliens appear .... well alien . All too often American TV shows have aliens who appear human because it either saves on the budget or because the production team lack any imagination . It's not a show that had totally convincing landscapes or aliens but this leads to a form of affection . Can anyone say Nightmare is dreadful television when you see a young Martin Sheen being tortured by demonic monsters in what looks like a small , bare television studio ? Most episodes are shot very much in a film noir style which lends to a gloomy , brooding atmosphere . Try and imagine Mickey Spillane on acid and that sums up a great many episodes

    It's the stories themselves that are important and like all great pulp science fiction it's a combination of the mind blowingly original material mixed in with literary roots . Nightmare owes a nod to THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE , while The Man Who Was Never Born steals an important line from Doestoevsky . Interestingly the same line is reused in Genesis Of The Daleks in 1975 . MACBETH is the inspiration for The Ballero Shield whilst I Robot owes more than a nod to FRANKENSTEIN both the novel and the 1933 film version . Where some stories fail however is that they're resolved a little too easily . The Man With 6 Fingers temporarily seems unable to read someones mind at a crucial point and when someone mentions rain in Speciman Unknown you'll know what will happen next

    None of this is plagiarism but when THE TERMINATOR was released in 1984 James Cameron found himself the victim of a lawsuit from Harlan Ellison who claimed that the film had stolen ideas from his two contributions to TOL Soldier and The Demon With The Glass Hand so Cameron settled out of court . To be honest one can't help wondering why Cameron didn't go to court since the two episodes have very little in common with the film save for a premise of people from the future going through time to present day America . In fact the original TERMINATOR shares much of the 1972 DOCTOR WHO story Day Of The Daleks where plot and time travel paradoxes are concerned . Perhaps Louis Marks should have sued Cameron too ?

    TOL has left a legacy and that involves Betty and Barney Hill who claimed under hypnosis they had been abducted by aliens . Strangely when they described in great detail the aliens they claimed abducted them the description was identical to the one that appeared in The Bellero Shield which was broadcast a couple of weeks previous to the hypnotic sessions . The case seems to have turned in to a meme of sorts since for 40 years when someone claims to have been abducted by aliens they're always the ones described by the Hills . It makes you wonder what the world would be like today if the show had never been produced or sort of legal cabaret Harlan Ellison would have brought if he'd written an episode with bug eyed monsters ?

    In short THE OUTER LIMITS is American television at its most cerebral and imaginative and most of all its most entertaining . It hasn't dated very well but for anyone who has enjoyed science fiction B movies or or Gothic horror or film noir then it's must see television because it combines the three genres very well
  • The Outer Limits was (and is) a total rarity in the crowded halls of Science fiction. Produced on a very low budget by Daystar Productions (the production company owned by the series creator Leslie Stevens) and broadcast in America by ABC as a contender to the hugely successful Rod Serling fantasy anthology series The Twilight Zone, the series explored some fascinating concepts (usually deep routed in a science fiction context) and was admirably non conformist in its execution. Far more intelligent and thought provoking than other enjoyable mainstream science fiction fare such as Lost in Space or even Star Trek, The Outer Limits challenged dominant ideologies beautifully in a number of episodes - 'Nightmare' being the finest example. The first season's production team of Leslie Stevens, Joseph Stefano (the man behind the screenplay for 'Psycho', and largely responsible for the series Gothic style) and Dominic Frontiere (whose chilling music characterised the Gothic nature of the series) the show was extremely well made. This was largely helped by a fantastic line up of directors, such as Byron Haskin, James Goldstone, Gerd Oswald and Laslo Benedek, and also Leslie Stevens himself who was responsible for the iconic opening, which has been parodied in so many series (even The Simpsons) featuring the Control Voice. Due to the flexible format of the series it could be almost anything, from a typical science fiction plot line to one of a Gothic horror (like the deservedly celebrated The Forms of Things Unknown). Like most series, however, there were some poor episodes along the way - the very poor and confusing 'Production and Decay of Strange Particles', 'The Hundred Days of the Dragon' and 'Specimen: Unknown' but all in all the first season of The Outer Limits was breathtakingly new and exciting, well written and well made. It is very hard to achieve this level of quality in any television series, but Leslie Stevens and his team had succeeded with relative ease. The most notable episodes from the first season include 'A Feasilibility Study', 'Fun and Games', 'Nightmare', 'The Galaxy Being', 'The Man Who Was Never Born', 'The Chameleon', 'Corpus Earthling' and 'The Guests'. Unfortunately like most things that are bold, new and most importantly non - conformist the first season failed to live up to the expectations of the ABC executives and when a Second Season was commissioned the budget was drastically cut and the programme makers were ordered to make the show a more generic/mainstream fare. Joseph Stefano (who had worked extremely hard on achieving the look and quality of the first season) was understandably outraged by these suggestions and left immediately. He was followed by Dominic Frontiere and a number of the original production team that had all been crucial in the originality and success of the first season. This had a very negative effect on the following season. Bizarrely, ABC chose Ben Brady (producer of Perry Mason) to replace Joseph Stefano for the new season and implement the desired changes. Brady turned the series into an unusual combination of Science fiction and Perry Mason, with the episodes 'The Expanding Human' and 'I. Robot' being the most blatant examples. The one excellent choice Brady did make was hiring Seeleg Lester as Story Consultant for the second series. Lester was an extremely talented television writer, and had a notable understanding of what The Outer Limits was all about. Perhaps because of him a number of the episodes are of fantastic quality. Some other benefits of the second season was that Brady was able to keep many of the original directors, including Byron Haskin and Gerd Oswald and a number of new writers were drafted in to provide scripts. The most notable of these is of course Harlan Ellison who provided two top notch stories 'Soldier' and 'Demon With A Glass Hand', the latter of which won two prestigious awards including 'Best Script for an Anthology Series'. Lester himself would also provide the excellent 'Wolf 359' and other classic episodes include 'The Dupicate Man', 'Cold Hands, Warm Heart', 'The Inheritors' and 'Keeper of the Purple Twilight'. Also, composer Harry Lubin produced some excellent, mysterious and moody music for the new season, and a memorable new theme (incorporating the eerie vibrations of the theremin (the ultimate electronic instrument) - even if a certain percentage of the music was recycled from his scores for the earlier anthology series 'One Step Beyond'. However, despite these successes the series had lost its visual intensity and moral drive. Put in competition with the hugely successful 'Jackie Gleason Show' (in another attempt by ABC officials to kill the programme) the second season was axed after 17 episodes, ending on the mediocre episode 'The Probe'. Thus, one of the finest science fiction series ever produced had come and gone in a very short space of time. Maybe if the impatient ABC officials had waited a little longer when the programme was under the control of Stevens and Stefano the show would have lasted, but like so many television series, this was never allowed to be. Thankfully though, once the show entered syndication it picked up many new fans and gathered a cult status. Due to this, today the series has a considerable fan following, and a 1990's revival to keep its spirit alive. This is all thanks to the creative talent and genius of Leslie Stevens, Joseph Stefano and later Seeleg Lester for making a totally different series, one with many moral messages and one that was beautifully told - from the Gothic Art House film feel of 'Forms of Things Unknown', the fairytale like execution of 'The Guests' to the claustrophobic and shadowy 'Demon With A Glass Hand' each episode has something to offer. Television at its very best. Truly exceptional. The Outer Limits is a fine example of an era in television we may never see again.
  • Yes I watched this sometimes but I was 13 and I was overdue to see it again and appreciate it more now than I am nearly 70. Suddenly, ME TV has brought it back. I happened to see an episode with Martin Landau and I was utterly dumbfounded by its excellence. I was shocked to see the beautiful and young Shirley Knight as well (the mother in As Good As It Gets). The episode was about a time conundrum and it was gripping and heartbreaking.

    The Outer Limits was at the time considered a gimmick, a Twilight Zone imitator, but I see clearly now 50 years later: it was not. Unlike the cynical, tongue in cheek typical Twilight Zone, this is dark and brooding and frightening. It is not a little half hour playlet; it is a one hour long drama, relentlessly upsetting, disturbing and uplifting all at the same time. I have set it to record all episodes now. They are just showing two per week on Saturdays.

    I was dismayed to look it up just now and find it was cancelled in the middle of the second season because it didn't draw in viewers after it was moved to another day.

    Great actors, great scripts, a noble TV show, totally underrated!
  • The reviews posted here generally say it very well. As time goes on, the incomparable quality of this classic show only stands out further and further above any and all comparisons one might attempt to make. Unlike Rod Serling's "Twilight Zone" (an excellent show Outer Limits aired contemporaneously with and is often compared to), the major focus of Outer Limits was not so much the time-honored literary conflicts of great fiction such as man-vs-man, man-vs-self, etc, but rather the human encounter with the utterly alien, as projected in a sensitive and intelligent science fiction framework. The science fiction element in Outer Limits was not a mere story device, but rather the central driving story element, balanced by the impact of the alien encounter upon individuals, their relationships and lives. The frequent comparisons with "Twilight Zone" are therefore a bit misconceived, because Outer Limits was a completely different kind of show. But nor can Outer Limits be placed next to "Star Trek" or "Lost in Space" or even more the current show going by the same name. To attempt an analogy, if these other shows were various types of popular fiction--Harlequin romances, boys' adventure stories, "trash" novels like Valley of the Dolls, etc.--Outer Limits would be the equivalent of Shakespeare. To put it differently, these other shows are like the paintings some people buy at Walmart for their living room; Outer Limits is the Mona Lisa. Yes its that good, lesser episodes notwithstanding. The comments one sometimes hears from the young hip crowd that doesn't get Outer Limits (and thinks digital special effects are the criterion of quality) sadden me in their reflection of a culture coarsened over the years by neglect and lack of cultivation. But regarding Sci-Fi Channel's airing of the series, and in contrast to the comments of praise it has received for it here, I offer them a metaphorical swift kick in the pants: they are cutting eight minutes from each episode they broadcast, in order to make more time for their commercial spots. To me, this is heinous, the moral equivalent of desecration--like cropping the Mona Lisa because it takes up too much space on the wall. It would be better not to air it at all. Sci-Fi had better hope I never take control of their television set, because they'll be off the air for good if I can help it, as in goodbye broadcast license. A crime like theirs should not go unpunished.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    For British viewers, 'The Outer Limits' was a ground-breaking piece of science fiction and fantasy. An import from The USA and screened on 'the other side' - ITV, as it then was - which was the only alternative to the ubiquitous BBC, this programme set a whole new standard in originality and budgeting.

    Beginning with a rather pretentious voice-over claiming to control the the television set and some silly hokum to reinforce the myth (I switched our set off and on again just to prove him wrong) the same narrator went on to offer an enigmatic intro to the story that followed.

    Subjects varied, and were often a tour-de-force for the imagination. Sometimes the effects were of such a frightening nature that, released as a feature-film, they might well have called for an X-rating at the time. The 'Zanti Misfits' certainly cost me a few sleepless nights.

    We would probably laugh at the effects today, but many of the underlying themes about science, politics, manipulation and control, and life itself, were very intelligently explored, as they are in all good sci-fi. For those of us with crows feet, the series was a revelation.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Okay, forget about the wires that are clearly visible when an object is supposed to be levitating; likewise, ignore the Gumbyesque, stop-motion clay animation of some of the monsters. This was a show with such great writing and performances that you could easily overlook its unimportant flaws. Compare this with special effects-laden extravaganzas like SWE I: the Phantom Menace, where overwhelming effects did not save the film due to its poor storyline and laughable dialogue (and acting.)

    (Spoilers, if that's possible): This show's episodes, like Rod Serling's "The Twilight Zone," used the sci-fi as a vehicle to give us a moral. Among my favorite episodes were "O.B.I.T.", where the horror was not so much a planned alien invasion but that people could be so easily suckered into assisting it by appeals to their most base instincts; "The Architects of Fear," where an attempt to unite the people of Earth using a fake alien invader goes horrible wrong and we see that it would not necessarily bring people closer together (as the narrator says, "There is no substitute for soft caring and hard work."); "The Borderland," where a wealthy old man so desperately wants to see his deceased son that he decides to sacrifice his current, earthly existence (heroically, in my opinion) just for the chance of seeing his beloved son again, and "A Feasibility Study" in which neighbors, abducted by an alien race to see if humanity would be suitable as slave labor, come together and voluntarily choose to sabotage the aliens' plan by destroying themselves.

    I am delighted with the DVD package of the first season's episodes. It serves as my own time machine.
  • I,like many of these other IMDb reviewers loved "The Outer Limits" and consider it my all-time favorite show. Like them, I was a very young kid probably about 8 or 9 years of age when I saw the original episodes and they scared me half to death. The atmosphere of the show was incredible unlike anything I had ever seen on television before and the special effects were way ahead of their time for television of that period with such a limited budget. Now as I sometimes get to watch the reruns of the show, I am amazed at how creative and thought-provoking the scripts were and what an outstanding series it really was. This was science fiction at its finest with incredible acting, a haunting musical score and phenomenal writing. I have probably watched all of the episodes more than once and regret that they don't show reruns on television anymore. The new remake of the show was nothing like the original "Outer Limits" and I long for the original episodes again from "The Galaxy Being" and "The Sixth Finger" (two of the finest episodes ever written for TV) to "Nightmare" which gave me a few nightmares after viewing it and the two-part episode "The Inheritors". This was a show way ahead of its time and probably will never be recreated again in this day and age.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    'The Outer Limits' is often mentioned in the same breath as 'The Twilight Zone' as one of the peaks of '60's television science fiction, and with good reason. The shows have a good deal in common, both are anthologies based partly on published fiction and original works. Both were made in glorious monochrome, feature top-drawer actors of the day, and still stand up well nearly fifty years later.

    'Limits' was the creation of Leslie Stevens, but the man who produced the first season ( and wrote many classic episodes ) is most frequently credited with its success. He was Joseph Stefano, writer of the screenplay of Hitchcock's 'Psycho'. Stefano was responsible for establishing that each episode should have a 'bear' - his nickname for a monster. He also hired Conrad Hall to create the show's distinctive lighting effects, while the special effects ( good for the time ) were by Projects Unlimited. It goes without saying that a modern audience would probably find the 'bears' hilarious, but the series did not depend entirely for its impact on monsters. In 'Limits' you will find something closely approximating the poetry of science fiction.

    Each episode opened with the picture blurring, while an announcer warned that the set was now under 'their' control. It was a gimmick designed to invoke comparison with the famous Orson Welles 'War Of The Worlds' radio broadcast ( written by Stevens, incidentally ) which conned many into believing a real alien invasion was underway.

    Stand-out stories include 'A Feasibility Study' in which an American town is transported to an alien planet, 'The Zanti Misfits' sees the arrival on Earth of hideous bug monsters with human-like faces, 'The Bellero Shield' has a devious woman attempting to exploit alien technology for her own ends, 'The Man With The Power' features Donald Pleasance as a man able to destroy anyone at will, in 'The Production & Decay Of Strange Particles' ( great title! ) atomic power triggers terrifying transformations in people, 'The Galaxy Being' ( the show's pilot ) sees a radio ham accidentally making contact with a creature from the Andromeda constellation, 'The Forms Of Things Unknown' has David McCallum as the inventor of a 'time tilting' machine constructed out of hundreds of clocks. Somewhat out of place was 'The Hundred Days Of The Dragon', a conventional spy yarn in which the Red Chinese kill the President of The United States and replace him with an impostor, but it was gripping nevertheless.

    The impressive list of guest-stars included Barry Morse, Robert Culp, Carroll O'Connor, Leonard Nimoy, Robert Duvall, Sally Kellermann, Martin Landau, Sam Wanamaker, Warren Oates and Cliff Robertson. Special mention must be made of Dominic Frontiere, whose powerful music underlined the show's atmosphere of mystery and horror.

    'Limits' proved a surprise hit, and plans for a second season was laid. But when the network announced a change of time slot, Stefano resigned in protest. A new producer - Ben Brady - was appointed. Fans do not hold the second season in high regard, but a number of episodes, such as the two-parter 'The Inheritors', Harlan Ellison's 'Soldier' and 'Demon With A Glass Hand', are as good as anything to be found in the previous year.

    Unfortunately, the new time-slot lost 'Limits' viewers and it was abruptly cancelled. It appeared on I.T.V. ( usually in a late-night slot ) in the mid-'60's, and in 1980, B.B.C.-2 ran both seasons ( often jumbling up the episodes in haphazard fashion ) in one bumper run where it acquired a new audience.

    As a result of the success of 'The X-Files' in the 1990's, 'Limits' was resurrected by cable television. Some of the original shows - including 'I Robot', 'A Feasability Study' and 'The Inheritors' - were remade. The special effects were predictably better but alas little else was. The nudity it could have done well without.

    Luckily, both seasons of the original are out on D.V.D. and serve as a timely reminder of the greatness of '60's science fiction.
  • 1963 was a great year all around for television. Two of my all-time favorite shows, The Outer Limits and The Fugitive, came out that year. I've already commented on The Fugitive, so...Like The Fugitive, The Outer Limits boasted some intelligent script writing. These people knew how to tell a story, and that's what great books, great movies, and great television are really all about. Story, story, story, and especially story. True, by today's standards, the special effects were cheesy, but give these people a break. They were very resourceful considering they had a shoestring budget and they didn't have the computer graphics back then that they do now (thank God!!!!) I believe Harlan Ellison, one of the writers for the show said that the show scared the hell out of you while you were watching it, but once it was over, it was over. As a wee lad of eight, I can testify to the truth of that statement. Some of these shows nearly made me wet my pants while I was watching them, but once they were over, I didn't forget about it, but I never had nightmares about them. (I had more nightmares about Flipper than I did The Outer Limits, but that's another story.) The only episode that gave me nightmares was the first one (The Galaxy Being). I remember waking up in the middle of the night in a dark room and thinking I saw that white radiation glow. But I still went back for more, even after I swore that night I would never watch it again. My all-time favorite episode, and the one that scared me the most was "A Feasibility Study". Others were "The Man Who Was Never Born", "Nightmare", "I Robot" (Leonard Nimoy without the pointy ears), "Expanding Human", I could go on all night naming favorite episodes.

    I kind of lost interest in it during the second season. Too many things had changed. The music wasn't as good, and they didn't have those neat monsters. The show just seemed to lose its punch a little bit during its last run. But I have the whole series on DVD now, and watching those bring back memories that almost seem close enough to touch. All in all, a great series that knew how to hook the viewer and keep them coming back for more.

    Before I sign off, one thing I find chilling. The second episode of the series titled "The Hundred Days of the Dragon" premiered two months almost to the day before the assassination of President Kennedy. I watch that episode now with all these assassination plots and conspiracies and it sends a chill up my spine. This story is about all these things we have conjectured about for 43 years! Was it prophetic? Who can say. It's chilling nevertheless.
  • award196215 February 2005
    Great series, the disc is good but needs extras. Where is the commentary subtitles etc? A show this good needs to have a commentary by either the creator or at least a qualified Sci-Fi aficionado. Hopefully future editions will include them. As to the acting and dialog, you can't compare to anything modern. The new outer limits was interesting but stilted in dialog. The acting was TV at most. The original series offers real acting by comparable stars, Robert Culp, Sally Kellerman, Chita Rivera etc. The series stressed science in the stories making it believable and scary, Even wacky shows like Zanti misfits carried moral and scientific themes that scare you as child but make you think as an adult. No other American Sci-Fi despite advances in technology, special effects or wizardry comes close to this series. Too bad it happened before the Sci-Fi craze of the late 60's. Star trek is admirable but shows like Lost in Space, the Time Tunnel, and Land of Giants ruined Sci-Fi for future generations to come. No more science now its star Wars effects and western movie plots to move us along.
  • Every so often, perhaps two or three times in a decade, a television program comes along, and that program dwells in a class of its own. `The Outer Limits,' was one such program.

    `The Outer Limits,' was one of the best written and most compelling science fiction series of its time. Even today, it should not be reckoned with. It was presented with the best writing, the best casting, and finesse, that even in the twenty-first century, is beyond compare.
  • Im 25, and never saw this except as reruns or rented tapes. I know most of the people my age are turned off by black and white and poor specail effects. But that goes to show you how boring and mediocre the new version is-those items are the only things carrying it. The old OL is 10 times more watchable, more eerie, far better written. The new OL is but a ghost, a memory, an also-ran.

    Dont judge this show by the effects. The show has a depth that none of the other 'anthology-weirdness' shows will never touch in a million years...
  • Unlike "The twilight zone", "The outer limits" deals with science fiction and horror but psychological horror aka claustrophobic paranoia (invasion-conspiracy-hallucinations) in "The architects of fear" and "Nightmare". The series has a tremendous visual identity that lacks in Rod Serling's work. Its stylish approach makes each of the episodes look like a film. The German expressionist mood (low key lightning, chiaroscuro, the use of the depth of field and the extreme close-ups with a wide angle lens, tilted framings, optical special effects, gloomy sets) is due to three men : writer-producer Joseph Stefano, director Gerd Oswald and director of photography Conrad Hall. The creator of the series, Leslie Stevens, and his friend-composer Dominic Frontiere, fashion a world of nightmarish fairytale, politic-fiction fable, gothic parable, Shakespearian tragedy, pessimistic vision of the future, symbolic and human-like monsters and ill-motivated characters. This maverick series is still a reference today because of its high-concept, its poetic flavour, its black and white innovative cinematography and its philosophical issue, for instance in the masterpiece episode, "The sixth finger" which shows the dilemma of the Darwin's theory of evolution. "Your ignorance makes me ill and angry. Your savageness must end," these sentences, culled from this episode, summarize the orientation of the entire show. Unfortunately, the odd formula never works in the 1995's new version which can be re-titled "The under limits". It's awfully true. I hope one day the two pilot-episodes, "Please stand by" and "The unknown", will be available.
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