Wednesday, January 12, 2011

2011 -- "The Outer Limits" for the New Year!

There's a wonderful internet experience going on and we'd like to point you there. A couple of terrific and talented writers and TV experts are tackling a grand task -- watching and critiquing every episode of the brilliant early 1960s' science fiction/horror series The Outer Limits. As a practically life-long fan of TOL, I can tell you that this is a sacred and important mission Peter Enfantino and John Scoleri are on. The Outer Limits is one of those very special TV series which continues to gain fans and respect as time goes by. No way this show is going to be forgotten! (Below, Martin Landau in the haunting "The Man Who Was Never Born", co-starring Shirley Knight.)

Just before embarking on the TOL project, Peter and John finished up a similar episode-by-episode treatment for the 1960s' horror anthology series Thriller, which is also definitely worth checking out. Not only are the fellas smart and completely in the know about genre TV, literature, and almost everything else, they're also a bunch of fun to read and not at all stolid or humorless in their appreciation of the series that they cover. That's what I really like -- people who love TV but who can love all the absurdities and crazy bits that make us love the programs all the more.

If you're new to The Outer Limits, I would suggest that you start watching. All the episodes are available on Hulu, plus you can pick up DVD sets for bargain prices these days. There are only 49 episodes, so it's not like you're going to be playing catch-up the rest of your life. Nothing too daunting here, and with Enfantino and Scoleri's commentary to guide you onward, you'll end up with a keen understanding of just what makes TOL a keeper. (Left, David McCallum in his terrifying and brilliant role in "The Sixth Finger".)

Much as I'd like to post it here, it seems that there are no versions on YouTube of the famous The Outer Limits opening that can be embedded -- boo to that! However, I did find a nice piece, from TNT back in 1991, when we ran an entire night of TOL on our groovy MonsterVision franchise. Guess who programmed that, naturally? Please -- my department was dedicated to only bringing you the best of TV, what would you expect? We had just gotten the series in a big package of MGM titles -- practically the best thing in the whole deal! -- and we couldn't wait to get them on our science fiction movie franchise. So here is a little interstitial piece that the production kids put together for that initial marathon -- thanks to YT user Videoholic90sA for keeping, finding and posting this bit of history!

There's nothing like The Outer Limits -- not Twilight Zone, not Night Gallery, not any other anthology, and definitely not the TOL remake from the 1990s, thought there were some great segments. If you remember, it premiered on Showtime back then as one of their original productions, and initially had lots of soft-core nudity from an interesting bunch of actors and actresses. Once it began to be re-run it was edited, but it did add another dimension to the show, I will say that!

Bottom Line: Go to Peter and John's wonderful We Are Controlling Transmission website! Give them some feedback and thanks for taking on this delightful project! An added treat on the site are reprints from the ultimate TOL book written by David S. Schow, and he's also a frequent commenter there. You can totally get your The Outer Limits geek on -- I sure am!


Classic Film and TV Cafe said...

Thanks for the recommendation, Lisa. I'll definitely check it out! I've covered some of my favorite episodes ("Demon With a Glass Hand" and "The Zanti Misfits") at the Cafe.

Jane said...

When I was a kid, I found Twilight Zone thought provoking and memorable...but thought Outer Limits was absolutely TERRIFYING. From the opening credits and all the way through, it was really scary and weird. Loved it though. Thanks for the great recommendation!