Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Twilight Zone: Season 1 Blu-ray Review

TV-Rating: Not Rated
Release Date: September 14th, 2010
Region: A
The Video
The Twilight Zone: Season 1 comes to Blu-ray from Image Entertainment, featuring 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video encodes for each episode included. All 36 episodes span across five BD-50 Blu-ray discs.

The release has been one that I have been anxiously waiting to see the video presentation for since I really had no idea what to expect. The Blu-ray release has been advertised as being ‘remastered’ which kept me optimistic.

Anyone worried about the transfers needs not worry as the Blu-ray release is absolutely gorgeous. The episodes began airing in the late 50’s so the material has definitely aged, but wow is it impressive.

The show is in black-and-white, but the detail levels are amazing. Many shots look even better than new releases today, it is amazing the quality that the show was captured in and cleaned up. The opening titles are probably the most dated looking thing about the release to be honest.

It isn’t even just close-up shots that look great, everything really is given new life and dimension on this Blu-ray release and you quickly begin to notice all the little details you never did before. The high level of detail was something I didn’t expect at all, but I found myself completely surprised.

The video presentations are cleaned up quite well, although still not perfect. There are specks which pop up throughout, while they are clearly noticeable, they are still easy to forgive considering how good the show looks regardless. Obviously there was a great level of attention paid to each episode and it really shows.

The Twilight Zone has never looked so good and any fan of the show or high-def releases in general will find themselves extremely impressed by the quality. One of my more anticipated releases has quickly become on my favorite high-def releases, Image Entertainment really did a fantastic job here. The Twilight Zone looks amazing on Blu-ray. 10/10.

The Audio
An English 2.0 Uncompressed PCM audio track is included for each episode. The original Dolby Digital Mono tracks are included as well. Optional English subtitles are included.

The English 2.0 Uncompressed PCM audio tracks are great. The mixes of course are extremely front heavy and expectedly so. The quality of dialogue and effects are fantastic, aside from some slight and expected moments of cracking.

The dialogue is extremely clear and I am surprised the quality is as good as it is. I definitely expected it to sound much more dated and lacking, and certainly much more cracking and hissing. I am very happy to say that the show has never sounded better either.

It wouldn’t be fair to compare the mix to a new release film’s mix, but ‘The Twilight Zone’ certainly stands strong and sounds amazing from beginning to end. I don’t think anybody could be disappointed by the quality of these mixes. 10/10.

The Extras

Exclusive Blu-ray Bonus Features:
  • Extremely rare, never-before-released unofficial Twilight Zone pilot, “The Time Element,” written by Rod Serling and hosted by Desi Arnaz – presented in glorious high definition!
  • 19 New Audio Commentaries, featuring The Twilight Zone Companion author Marc Scott Zicree, author and film historian Gary Gerani (Fantastic Television), author and music historian Steven C. Smith (A Heart at Fire’s Center: The Life and Music of Bernard Herrmann), music historians John Morgan and William T. Stromberg, writer/producer David Simkins (Lois & Clark, Dark Angel), writer Mark Fergus (Children of Men, Iron Man), actor William Reynolds and director Ted Post.
  • Interviews with actors Dana Dillaway, Suzanne Lloyd, Beverly Garland and Ron Masak.
  • “Tales of Tomorrow” episode “What You Need.”
  • Vintage audio interview with Director of Photography George T. Clemens.
  • 1977 syndication promos for “A Stop at Willoughby” and “The After Hours.”
  • 18 Radio Dramas
  • 34 Isolated Music Scores featuring the legendary Bernard Herrmann, Jerry Goldsmith and others!
Also includes:
  • Audio Commentaries by actors Earl Holliman, Martin Landau, Rod Taylor, Martin Milner, Kevin McCarthy, and CBS executive William Self.
  • Vintage Audio Recollections with actors Burgess Meredith and Anne Francis, directors Douglas Heyes and Richard L. Bare, producer Buck Houghton and writer Richard Matheson.
  • Rod Serling Audio Lectures from Sherwood Oaks College.
  • Rod Serling Promos for “Next Week’s” Show.
  • Original Unaired Pilot Version of “Where is Everybody?” with Rod Serling’s Network Pitch.
  • Footage of the Emmy® Award wins for the series.
There are SO many bonus features on this release. Each episode has its own unique features, including newly produced audio commentaries and more. I plan to eventually get through all of the extras, but there is so much that I may not get done before release date.

This is one of those rare releases that features so much it is actually overwhelming, those who manage to get through all of the features can call themselves a true fan. The extras are extensive and I am so happy that Image Entertainment included newly created features as well as classic features for this release. 10/10.

The Season
The Twilight Zone’ is a series which aired before my time, but I absolutely love the show. Despite not growing up with the show as it aired, I still have a nostalgic feeling when watching the show today. Having seen the show several times on other formats, notably DVD, I always found the show to be extremely enjoyable.

I love the show’s theme and stories which featuring rewarding twists and plots. Sure, certain aspects are a bit cheesier today than they were for its time, but I find that a lovable aspect of the series. This is one show which never gets old for me and makes for the perfect time when staying indoors on a rainy afternoon on the weekends.

All 36 episodes from the first season are included and they are brought to life like never before with the Blu-ray release. The textures and details of the smaller details in the image have never been so clear before and it makes you appreciate the show even more. There are so many little details in the episodes which I had never noticed before.

The show was exciting for its time and still is today, inspiring many shows which followed decades later. The series would not be so highly regarded or perhaps not continued if it weren’t for such a strong viewer response and well-written episodes from season one.

This is one television show that I would recommend to both fans of the show and those new to the show especially. The series is extremely fun and there is no better time than now to take a trip to….The Twilight Zone. 10/10.

The Blu-news Summary
The Twilight Zone: Season 1 is a classic favorite of mine and many. The show is better than ever with stunning video presentations and impressive audio mixes. The extras are extremely extensive, so much that it may take me weeks to get through. The Blu-ray release is the release we have all been waiting for and it does not disappoint. ‘A Must Own.

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