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DVD Shopping Bag: Twilight Zone Season 1 Blu-ray

A Dimension of Perfection!

By Robert T. Trate     September 07, 2010

The Twilight Zone Season 1 on Blu-ray Sept. 14, 2010
© Image Entertainment


It is September and the titles have returned to the DVD Shopping Bag. It was getting bleak there, week after week with nothing new in our favorite genres. That all changes right here right now because for the next few months the studios will be after us with all the summer, as well as, new Blu-rays of our favorite titles. I am going to jump ahead a week, because next week has something that all of you should either pre-order now or get the second it hits the shelves next Tuesday. The title is none other than the first season of The Twilight Zone on Blu-ray.
This is a show we all have seen and experienced. To simply be on the site says you have seen The Twilight Zone. The mere mention of the show breaks anyone into that conversation, did you ever see the one where… The show is a classic and what all genre television hopes to be. I know it has been on DVD and VHS in the past. I am sure many of you either have huge stacks of VHS tapes or collections of your favorite episodes on DVD. Image Entertainment and CBS Blu-ray have done the impossible by assembling every episode from season 1 in chronological order and supplied each episode with special features. Starting with commentaries, interviews and even isolated music scores (34 total). This is the definitive edition that fans of Rod Serling’s classic series have been waiting for.
Where does one begin with trying to dissect the entire first season of The Twilight Zone? I for one would stay up late and record them to VHS tapes as a kid. I loved watching Serling come into my darkened living room and educate me on just how powerful a story could be. In reading over the special features the feature that stood out above the rest “The Time Element”. This was the extremely rare, never-before-released unofficial pilot featuring William Bendix as Peter Jenson a man who believes he travels back in time every night he goes to sleep. His psychiatrist Dr. Gillespie (Martin Balsam) takes in his story and is our window into this man’s personal nightmare. It is a nightmare to Jenson because he goes back every night to Dec. 6th, 1941 in Hawaii. This is original pilot, that aired on Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse and was hosted by Desi Arnaz, and it contains that perfect Serling mix of the every day man stuck in this extraordinary circumstance. Amazingly enough this was an hour long episode and still contained its original commercial bumpers. I might as well mention Arnaz’s significant other turns up at the end as well. Not ever having seen this episode I thought I knew exactly how it would turn out. I was wrong. I consider myself a student of Serling’s having seen countless episodes over the years and 52 years later his original pilot still managed to be a huge surprise. I obviously won’t spoil it you’ll just have to wait to pick it up next week.
For picture quality I was willing to cut Image Entertainment some slack considering how old these episodes were and that they were on television. Image Entertainment might have miserably failed with their Time Bandits Blu-ray (see review) but The Twilight Zone is clear cut beautiful HD in 1080p. The quality of the picture is as if you are watching it for the first time in glorious black and white. I needed that first episode, outside of the unofficial pilot, to be something special. I picked the classic “Time Enough at Last”.
If you have never heard of this episode clearly you have never seen The Twilight Zone before. Henry Bemis (Burgess Meredith) is a mousey little man who wants nothing to do but read all day. His wife and his boss are his biggest enemies in the pursuit of his happiness but luckily for Mr. Bemis he has just entered into the Twilight Zone. The episode looked as if it was shot yesterday. I marveled at the fact how many times I had seen the episode yet felt as if each moment was as fresh as if I had never seen it before. Obviously, it is Burgess Meredith’s performance that keeps this a fan favorite. Image Entertainment placed a commentary by Marc Scott Zicree, a Twilight Zone Companion novelist, and an interview with Meredith that Zicree had conducted back in 1978. The interview only runs for 15 minutes over the episode but it is so clear that one can easily hear the ocean in the background. Meredith isn’t up on all his facts, due to his age and how long ago it was but Zicree keeps him talking long enough to make it worth it. Zicree’s commentary is quick, precise and to the point as he is squeezing something into every second of the episode. A great example of which is the number of episodes Meredith would do for the series as well as how many the director, John Brahm, would complete for Serling. Any fan of the series will be in awe with just how much extra information is here on these Blu-rays.
The complete details for The Twilight Zone season one on Blu-ray can be found on Amazon. You won’t find a better collection of special features for a series of this magnitude any time soon. Today TV series come pre-packaged with first looks and behind the scene specials and they feel stale. Image Entertainment must have known that they just couldn’t turn out a collection of episodes for The Twilight Zone. They knew it had to be something extra special worthy of taking us to that other dimension of both time and space. They successfully crossed us over into The Twilight Zone.
The Twilight Zone: Season 2 will be released on Blu-ray November 16th 2010.
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Robert Trate has written the DVD Shopping Bag for 3 years as of today. He also writes the Toy Maniac for Mania. Robert participates in a pod cast that reviews movies, comics and celebrates all things geek. Check it out at You’ve Got Geek on You.com.


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redhairs99 9/7/2010 9:08:16 AM

Dang it!  There goes more money I can't afford to spend, but I WILL have Twilight Zone on Blu-Ray!

rockywp 9/7/2010 9:41:13 AM

I like Twilight Zone a  lot!

jppintar326 9/7/2010 12:32:33 PM

You're entering another dimension, a dimension of not only sight and sound but of mind.  That's the signpost up ahead, your next step:  The Twilight Zone.  Gotta get this show.  No matter how many times I see an episode, it is still great television.  "The Monsters on Maple Street" , for example,  have not aged a day.



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