Twilight Zone: Season 5
Creator: Rod Serling
Company: Image Entertainment
Release Date: Sep. 3rd 2013
"The Twilight Zone" is a series that needs little introduction. Whether it be a huge fan of the series, a casual watcher, or someone living under a wet log, the gravitas of this series is recognized throughout pop culture without debate. The show's writer and creator, Rod Serling, utilizes elements of subversive science fiction style writing intertwined with strong notes of suspense and fears that are very much rooted in reality. Genre anthologies have have been flaring up and burning out for the past 60 years, barely causing a stir. Few shows go on to be remembered- But most sit in the broadcast graveyard, never to be watched again. As time goes on, "The Twilight Zone" has proved its worth and secured itself as a crucial bloodline for syndicated television, closing gaps between generations who congregate around the TV to absorb the show's honest and heart-filled storytelling.
Spanning the years of 1959 to 1964, the show had gone on to produce 5 seasons (156 episodes if you discount the pre-series pilot). By the time the fifth season came to be in 1963, a frequent changing of writers, producers, and budgeting over the years had caused Serling and the network to become exhausted. Having written majority of the series, Serling felt that lines were beginning to blur when it came to the quality of his work. This became the defining point that brought "The Twilight Zone" show to a close. But the final season proved to be a very successful effort, churning out classic episodes including "Nightmare at 20,000ft", "Living Doll", and "The Masks". It also boasts strong writing/directing talent such as Richard Matheson, Dick Donner, Don Siegel, as well as a casting the likes of William Shatner, Mickey Rooney, Martin Landau, and many more. "The Twilight Zone" delivers a powerful final season which makes it all too bittersweet.
Image Entertainment has recognized our love for this classic anthology program and decided to answer the call with earnestness. Within the past couple of years they've made the complete series available to us on DVD and Blu-ray! For this review, I'll be taking a closer look at season 5 on DVD. This five disc set will be released on September 3rd, 2013.
Man, this looks good. I mean really good. Image has carefully (and lovingly) restored the episodes from the original 35mm negative to a pristine hi-def black and white picture. From start to finish, the episodes are lathered with crisp textures and background detail, showing no evidence of clunky edge enhancement. Every nuance on the grey scale is duly represented, creating lush imagery that can go toe to toe with its full color companions. Slight white speckles are seen from time to time but no offensive print damage to be found. My only complaint is that some of the wider shots can look a bit soft and suffer from slight fuzziness at points. Presented in its original 1.33.1 TV format. All in all this is a beautiful job well done.
Dolby Digital 1.0 L/R mono isn't the most exciting thing on earth but that's how it is when you're pulling material from 60's television. Having said that, the audio has undergone a well deserved clean-up. The high octane scores sound bright without being too overbearing in the mix. Dialogue has also undergone much needed maintenance and now sounds clearer than ever before- If I close my eyes, it sounds like Rod Serling is sitting right next to me, blowing smoke in my face. Mmmmmmm *coughing*
Unfortunately, there are no extras to report on for "The Twilight Zone: Season 5" DVD. That's a dang shame. I will note that the full box set, put out by Image, does come with commentaries, Rod Serling bloopers, and so many other goodies. I wish they'd break off a little piece for the separate seasons!
If you are the type of person to grab a single season of your favorite shows- I couldn't imagine a better pick than this! However, the completist in me thinks it's worth it for a fan to spring for the entire box set.