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Image Entertainment presents
The Twilight Zone: The Definitive Edition Season 2 (1960)

"Next stop, The Twilight Zone."
- Rod Serling

Review By: Chuck Aliaga  
Published: March 30, 2005

Stars: Rod Serling
Other Stars: Art Carney, William Shatner, Bill Mumy, Burgess Meredith, Bob Cummings, Joseph Ruskin, Maxine Stuart, Dick York, Barbara Nichols, Cliff Robertson, Buddy Ebsen, Dennis Weaver
Director: various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 12h:30m:00s
Release Date: March 29, 2005
UPC: 014381244021
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A+ A+A+B+ A

DVD Review

Exploring the depths of The Twilight Zone: The Definitive Edition Season 2 brought back some great memories. Not of The Twilight Zone, specifically (this original version of the series aired before my time), but of genre-oriented anthology projects in general. The Twilight Zone continued the craze that began with numerous comic books (namely Tales From the Crypt), with the show The Outer Limits soon to follow. After these two series brought anthology tales into the general population's consciousness, many copycat shows soon followed, with some good (Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories and HBO's Tales From the Crypt, both of which desperately need to come out on DVD soon!) and some bad (the newest version of The Outer Limits). Still, none can compare to the original episodes of The Twilight Zone, and nowhere is that more evident than in this glorious five-disc set.

The 29 creepy tales kick off with the mind-bender, King Nine Will Not Return. Starring Bob Cummings, this tale of an ex-World War II Captain who wakes up in the desert next to his plane with the crew nowhere in sight. This incredible season continues with The Man in the Bottle, in which Joseph Ruskin plays a genie who grants a curio shop owner four wishes that don't exactly have the desired consequences behind them. The next four tales don't have any major guest star power behind them, but each still ends with the kind of a twist that we know and love from the series. Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room, A Thing About Machines, and The Howling Man take three separate men to The Twilight Zone down distinctly different paths. The fourth story, however, is not only a classic episode in the series, but a classic episode in TV history as well.

This story, aptly titled The Eye of the Beholder, is just as effective today as it was 40 years ago given the plastic surgery craze that is sweeping the world. In it, Maxine Stuart plays Janet Tyler, a young apparently disfigured woman who has just undergone experimental surgery to make her appear to be normal. The patented twist ending is one of the most effective closings to any motion picture I've ever seen, big screen or small, and is sure to continue to be a classic for years to come.

We get another big guest star in Nick of Time. William Shatner is said guest, portraying an overly superstitious newlywed who can't get away from a penny fortune-telling machine after he and his new wife experience some car problems. Shatner isn't as compelling as he is in the classic Nightmare at 20,000 Feet episode from Season 5 of The Twilight Zone, but he's still quite good. The Lateness of the Hour and The Trouble with Templeton takes a look at a couple of more older, emotionally distraught men who look for an easy road back to happiness, while A Most Unusual Camera revisits the curio shop setting.

Mysticism comes to the forefront in Night of the Meek and Dust, incorporating Santa Claus into the former and a peddler selling "magic dust" in the latter. We get back to the core themes of The Twilight Zone in the next few episodes, with Back There dealing with time travel, The Whole Truth focusing on a car that acts as a truth serum for a used car dealer, and The Invaders telling another "alien" tale.

Bewitched's Dick York pops up in A Penny for Your Thoughts, one of the best Season Two episodes, and Burgess Meredith excels in the classic episode, Mr. Dingle, the Strong. These accomplished actors, like most of the guests that appear in the series, really seem to take this work seriously, which is to be commended when they could have easily just written these appearances off as an easy paycheck and not serious material.

Twenty-Two is a (unfortunately) rare female-driven episode with Barbara Nichols playing Liz Powell, who has a recurring nightmare about a morgue. The Twilight Zone has a thing for strange occurrences involving airplanes too, and The Odyssey of Flight 33 uses an aircraft as a time traveling vessel. More time traveling antics occur during Static, A Hundred Years Over the Rim (with Cliff Robertson), and, to an extent, The Rip Van Winkle Caper. Buddy Ebsen shows up in The Prime Mover, Bill Mumy in Long Distance Call, and Dennis Weaver in Shadow Play, continuing to increase the number of guest stars in the second season.

The rather mediocre The Silence and The Mind and the Matter are next, but this season closes on a very strong note, in the form of Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up and The Obsolete Man. The former is another great alien-themed story, while the latter has Burgess Meredith on board again, this time as a librarian in a future world where books have been outlawed.

As you can probably see, The Twilight Zone: The Definitive Edition Season 2 has a little something for everyone, but you have to be willing to completely buy into these stories, regardless of how implausible they may seem. Once that's out of the way, you'll be along for a wild, twisty ride in each and every show. Plus, if you're a sucker for a surprise ending (which is seemingly a prerequisite in today's major motion pictures), you're in the right place.

Kudos to Image Entertainment for making "The Definitive Edition" actually mean something. After beating around the bush with countless volumes of The Twilight Zone DVDs, Image has given the series more than its due with this wonderful set. Not only are all of the Season Two episodes here and in their original broadcast order, but the audio and (mostly ) the video have been finely polished, knocking over 20 years off of their age. Plus, as an added bonus, we even get the inclusion of Rod Serling's codas advertising upcoming episodes, and there are even short clips of other CBS shows, including The Andy Griffith Show.

A wealth of extras are on board too, including numerous audio commentaries by surviving cast members, isolated music scores, Twilight Zone radio shows, rare Rod Serling appearances, and the complete script for Twenty-Two via DVD-ROM.

Rating for Style: A+
Rating for Substance: A+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: The best word to use here is WOW! Comparing these episodes side-by-side with the previous DVD releases and even with reruns of the show on TV make them look almost brand new here. These high-definition transfers (taken from the original negatives) are exquisitely beautiful, proving restoration is an art form. It's impossible for all of the specks of dirt or grain to be wiped away, but these are kept to the bare minimum. Every image is shockingly sharp, with blacks and grays maintaining an incredibly high level of detail.

Image Transfer Grade: A+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio tracks are also well-restored, but not as revelatory as the video transfers. The dialogue is very clear and seamlessly integrated into the mix, meshing well with the nice music and other sound effects. There is a slight hiss during a few of the episodes, but this doesn't distract much from these overall impressive new mixes.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 145 cues and remote access
Screenplay
Isolated Music Score with remote access
7 Feature/Episode commentaries by Donna Douglas, Don Rickles, William Idelson, Bill Mumy, Cliff Robertson, Dennis Weaver and Shelley Berman
Weblink/DVD-ROM Material
Packaging: Nexpak
Picture Disc
5 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Twilight Zone Radio Shows
  2. Excerpts of Marc Zicree's Interviews with Buzz Kulik, Douglas Heyes, Maxine Stuart, George Clayton Johnson, and Bob Serling
  3. Rare Rod Serling appearances in the shows: The Mike Wallace Interview, Tell It to Groucho, and The Jack Benny Show
  4. Twilight Zone Comic Book
  5. Rod Serling Promos for "Next Week's" Show
Extras Review: Fans of the show will be extremely pleased with the extensive extra features that are spread out among the five discs in this set. Seven of the episodes feature audio commentaries by surviving cast members, all of which are very entertaining, as these actors look back at the show that served as a springboard to many of their careers. We then have interview excerpts by The Twilight Zone Companion author Marc Zicree with various people who were behind the making of the show. Isolated Scores are available on a whopping 22 of the 29 episodes.

Six episodes of The Twilight Zone Radio Drama are also available, which feature the likes of Jane Seymour and Jim Caviezel (yes, Jesus himself from The Passion of the Christ) providing the voice talents. It's great to hear these newer takes on such classic episodes as Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room and A Hundred Yards Over the Rim. A collection of Rare Color Photos show up for Eye of the Beholder, with that episode also featuring Alternate End Titles from when the episode was still being called The Private World of Darkness. An Original Production Slate is included with six of the episodes, while Twenty-Two also allows you to view the Complete Script with Rod Serling's Handwritten Notes by putting the DVD in a DVD-ROM drive. Another DVD-ROM feature is the Twilight Zone Comic Book.

The rest of the extras are housed on Disc 5, and include a segment from The Mike Wallace Interview, a 20-minute discussion with Mike Wallace (who is actually smoking a cigarette during the interview) and Rod Serling. There are also clips from Tell It to Groucho and The Jack Benny Show, where Serling talks about the series in great detail, even taking a stab at comedy with Jack Benny. Also here are The Twilight Zone Season 2 Billboards, a collection of clips from the show that introduce its various sponsors and some Season 2 Stills.

Extras Grade: A

 

Final Comments

Twilight Zone fans can rejoice again, as the "Definitive Edition" of season two is available on DVD. This classic TV show will never look or sound better than in this set, which is the epitome of TV on DVD done right.

 


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