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Image Entertainment presents
The Twilight Zone: The Definitive Edition—Season 4 (1963)

"You gotta stay in there and keep punchin'."
- Julius Moomer (Jack Weston), in The Bard

Review By: Chuck Aliaga  
Published: December 07, 2005

Stars: Rod Serling, Burgess Meredith, Bill Bixby, Dennis Hopper, Jack Klugman, Robert Duvall
Other Stars: Pat Hingle, Ed Nelson, George Grizzard, Robert Sterling, Martin Balsam, Julie Newmar, Burt Reynolds
Director: various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 18h:00m:00s
Release Date: October 18, 2005
UPC: 014381244229
Genre: television


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

DVD Review

In the fourth release of The Twilight Zone: The Definitive Edition DVD boxed set, fans have come to know what to expect from these incredible sets. There will be more episodes of the best anthology genre series to ever hit the airwaves, and, like the other sets, the video transfers will be jaw-droppingly clean, the audio will be excellent, and the extras more plentiful than imagined. So far, Image Entertainment's new release format for this classic show has served as the ultimate example in how to bring a television series to DVD, and this set is worthy of a space on any collector's shelf.

This fourth season expanded each episode from a 30 to 60 minutes, meaning the number of installments here is just 18. This was an interesting season of transition for the show; the longer episodes took some getting used to as audiences had grown accustomed to the tight pacing that the half-hour running time offered. However, the extra time allows for greater character development, and more complex, fully-realized macabre tales. Another treasure trove of writers is on board for here, with Rod Serling, Charles Beaumont, and Richard Matheson getting the most opportunities to take advantage of the longer time, and they pen some truly compelling stories.

The first show, In His Image, proves that the extra time is definitely a good thing. This is a fascinating tale about a scientist (George Grizzard) who creates a mechanical man with all of the qualities he himself lacks. The Thirty-fathom Grave takes us to the greatest of underwater depths as the crew of a naval submarine explores mysterious sounds they hear from a sub that was sunk 20 years earlier. Bill Bixby shows up, and gives a powerful performance among one of the best ensemble casts that the fourth season has to offer.

In Valley of the Shadow, Ed Nelson does a great job as Philip Redfield, a reporter who discovers a village with a secret. It turns out that this is a secret that Redfield was better off not knowing, as these villagers have the power to do something that could result in the end of the world.

He's Alive is my personal favorite fourth season entry, mainly because this Rod Serling-penned tale deals with the always intriguing and controversial Adolf Hitler. Dennis Hopper stars as Peter Vollmer, a poser neo-Nazi who yearns to become more recognized among his peers. Who better to show him the way to a bigger following than the ghost of Hitler.

Other entertaining and creepy hours are the time travel tale No Time Like the Past; Death Ship, which is buoyed by an amazing performance from Jack Klugman; The Parallel, about an astronaut (Steve Forrest) who returns to Earth only to find it has drastically changed; and Mute, a fresh take on the subject of telepathy. Twilight Zone veteran Burgess Meredith is back again in Printer's Devil, where he plays Mr. Smith, a man who visits a struggling newspaper proprietor named Douglas Winter (Robert Sterling). Winter's paper is having difficulty staying in circulation, and Mr. Smith offers him a deal to save his business.

A few ho-hum episodes are a given for any series, regardless of its reputation, and The Twilight Zone has its share of clunkers. The more well-known names aren't immune from such installments, as Miniature stars Robert Duvall, The New Exhibit has Martin Balsam on board, Julie Newmar shows up in Of Late I Think of Cliffordville, and Burt Reynolds appears in the last episode of the season, and also one of the worst, The Bard.

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

 

Image Transfer

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


Image Transfer Review: These 18 episodes of The Twilight Zone represent the hard work that has gone into making this very old program look as good as it possibly can. The images are always crisp, and very sharp, while contrast is perfectly handled. There is some of the dirt and the grain that originally existed in the source material, but a ton of these flaws have been removed for these DVDs.

Image Transfer Grade: A+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Each show gets a Dolby Digital 2.0 mono track, which is also nicely restored. The overall clarity of the dialogue, solid music representation, and lack of glaring flaws make these well above average mixes.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 18 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English
Isolated Music Score with remote access
2 Feature/Episode commentaries by 1. Death Ship - Marc Scott Zicree2. Miniature - William Windom
Packaging: Nexpak
Picture Disc
6 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Twilight Zone Radio Shows
  2. Excerpts of Marc Zicree's Interviews with Herbert Hirschman, Ross Martin, Burgess Meredith, Pat Hingle, Earl Hamner, Jr., Buzz Kulik, Anne Francis
  3. Video Interviews with Morgan Brittany, Anne Francis, Paul Comi, and John Furia
  4. Twilight Zone Comic Book
  5. Rod Serling Promos for "Next Week's" Show
Extras Review: The extensive extras that have been a staple of the "Definitive Edition" sets so far are even more plentiful for Season 4. Apparently, the fewer number of episodes means fewer audio commentaries, though, as there are only a pair of them for the entire set. However, the discussions by The Twilight Zone Companion author Marc Scott Zicree and actor William Windom (Miniature) are just as insightful and informative as in past sets, so fans are sure to want to give these a listen.

Another batch of interview segments by Zicree are included, and mostly involve in-depth talks with the various actors about their work on the show. Sixteen of the episodes have the option of isolated scores, and there are promos by Rod Serling, detailing what is going to be seen on the next episode. Other promotional material includes a series of billboards, a photo gallery, and a DVD-ROM comic book.

A highlight that has become standard on these sets is the inclusion of "Twilight Zone Radio Drama" versions of classic episodes. This set includes versions for The Thirty-fathom Grave, No Time Like the Past, The Parallel, Of Late I Think of Cliffordville, The Incredible World of Horace Ford, and The Bard, which feature voice work from Blair Underwood, Jason Alexander, Lou Diamond Philips and John Ratzenberger, among others.

Four video interviews are also available with Morgan Brittany on Valley of the Shadow, Anne Francis on Jess-Belle, Paul Comi on The Parallel, and John Furia on I Dream of Genie. Some nice rarities can also be seen, many for the first time like a Rod Serling blooper from He's Alive, color scenes from the syndicated version of Miniature, a Genesee Beer promo spot, a Saturday Night Live clip, and Rod Serling's promo for The Famous Writers School.

Extras Grade: A+

 

Final Comments

Image Entertainment has done it again with another stellar "Definitive Edition" of their flagship TV on DVD franchise, The Twilight Zone. Staying consistent with the other collections, this release offers more timeless sci-fi horror tales, presented with incredibly clean new video transfers and solid audio mixes. A ton of extras are available yet again, providing endless hours of historical footage that fans can enjoy after exploring their favorite episodes again and again.

 


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