( Max score: 100 )
All 36 episodes of the first season of Rod Serling’s classic, groundbreaking series, now presented in pristine high-definition for the first time ever, along with hours of new and exclusive bonus features not available anywhere else!
You know that saying, "They just don't make em' like they used to", well The Twilight Zone is the perfect example. Can you believe this aired on TV over 50 years ago??--Without the aid of 100 million dollar budgets, Megan Fox in a thong and 100 computer whiz's CGI-ing anything imaginable; almost every episode in this set (OK they were a few stinkers) blows most of todays films/TV series out of the water. Even though they are Black and White, have limited rudimentary special effects and sets, and are under 30 minutes in length, they have what is missing from most of the generic slop we are force fed today, amazing plots and great acting. PS M. Night... Serling owned the big twist ending 40 years before you!
These bizarre tales of science fiction, suspense and horror by creator Rod Serling and his band of master storytellers connect to the viewer because they understood and utilized the most basic foundation a story needs, a connection to the human condition. Whether it is the avid, almost addicted reader who ends up having all the time in the world to read after being the only survivor of a nuclear war; Or the man who ends up visiting his childhood home after 20 years, finds himself to be back in time and meeting a child version of himself. These episodes seemed to connect somewhere in our psyche and through the bizarre fifth dimension we found a bit of humanity lurking around every Monster, Martian or out of this world event.
I was born in the mid 70's, over ten years past then last season of The Twilight Zone so, when I was old enough to see a few episodes I was 20 years late. It seemed cheesy and old to me...and cmon now, it was Black and White...bhech! (I don't think that now! I was 9 in '83) I never gave The Twilight Zone a fair chance. I saw 1983's Twilight Zone: The Movie and thought it was OK but it never resonated with me as a little kid.
My older brother became a fan of The Twilight Zone in the early 2k's, collecting all the series on DVD. He told me how great it was but I never bothered to reinvest my time. When I found out this was coming for review, I told him about it and made sure he would come over when I threw it in. We chose his 6 favorite episodes of Season 1 and gave it a spin. I went into this set figuring I would just watch those and have feel enough for the show. Guess what?? I kept going, and in 4 days I watched the whole first season. I cant recommended this first season of The Twilight Zone enough. Just be warned it is a bit dated... but is great storytelling ever 'dated'?
Not Rated. Some Mild Violence and Adult Themes
'The Twilight Zone: Season 1' comes to Blu-ray Disc from Image Entertainment & CBS featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 18.2 mbps and uncompressed PCM mono sound that has an constant bitrate of 1.53 mbps
Image Entertainment mastered 'The Twilight Zone: Season 1' Blu-ray from a new 1080p transfers using original film negatives and soundtrack. The black level and shadow details are surprisingly strong and detailed. There is something about the black and white that helps give this naturally grainy, slightly noisy and at times imperfect 35mm source a nice pop off the screen. Don't get me wrong, the grain and small amount of random pops and scratches are in the source and this new transfer squeezes every bit of detail out of what was available. I can't see this looking any better, though it can never reach reference quality. The uncompressed mono audio is the same way. The dynamics can get a bit off as the relationship between dialogue/effects/score are not completely fluid. Not that they are bad or even stick-out as a sore thumb, they actually sound fitting to the time periods sound design. Surprisingly I never had an issue making out dialogue or any part of the mix. The audio sure is clear and tonally acceptable, though never having deep low end or the refinement we are so spoiled with these days. I found it more enjoyable and a bit more clear then the original mastered audio which as also included. I bet 'The Twilight Zone' has never sounded or looked better. Fans will be very happy with this A/V presentation.
The scoring system used weighs things like color, LFE, surround sound and flesh-tones. These are obvious things a Black and White source that has a mono mix wont have. In all fairness, it would be wrong for that to give this a super low score, so I balanced out where I think this should be rated by padding those categories.
If you enjoyed The Twilight Zone when it originally aired or in syndication you will throughly enjoy this set by Image Entertainment. I would venture to say this will be a welcome upgrade and is a must have for die hards. If you have never seen The Twilight Zone like me, it is very worth a rental. Image Entertainment didn't skimp on us here as this release is jam packed with extras that include all the content from the DVD Definitive Collection, plus new commentaries, interviews, isolated scores and a top quality transfer. Go ahead, take a journey to the... "fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man, It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call The Twilight Zone."
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Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS35 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Custom 1.3 Gain 128" 2.37:1 CinemaScope Screen
Pioneer SC27 Receiver (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Pioneer Elite BDP-23FD Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Triangle Zerius Speakers (7.1)
SVS PC13-Ultra Subwoofer