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Twilight Zone: Season 1, The (Blu-ray Review)

7 Oct, 2010 By: Chris Tribbey

$99.98 five-disc Blu-ray
Not rated.
Stars Rod Serling, Anne Francis, Burgess Meredith, Jack Klugman, Roddy McDowall, Ed Wynn, Vera Miles, Ron Howard.

Let’s face it: There’s only so much one can do with remastered, 50-year-old black-and-white content on Blu-ray Disc.

Beef up the original negatives to 1080p, and upgrade the original magnetic soundtracks to uncompressed PCM, but outside of serious videophiles and audiophiles, most consumers might just shrug and pick out something new, shiny and colorful.

That would be a mistake with Image Entertainment’s Blu-ray Discs of “The Twilight Zone.”

This is among the more gorgeous black-and-white presentations on high-def, with a picture that perfectly balances the sharpness you must have in a high-def picture, and very subtle grain that speaks honestly to how dated this 1959-60 material is. There are no noticeable digital artifacts and not enough dirt worth complaining about.

If you’re in the market for this set, you don’t really need someone else to tell you how fun most of the 36 episodes of this first season are, from the seminal “Time Enough at Last” (“That’s not fair at all!”) to the nostalgic “Walking Distance” to the downright creepy “The Hitch-hiker.” You’re probably already familiar with most of the content.

What’s really delightful about this collection is the bounty of new bonus material spread across the five discs, including 19 new audio commentaries; the show’s unofficial pilot, “The Time Element” (written by Rod Serling); interviews with actors Dana Dillaway, Suzanne Lloyd, Beverly Garland and Ron Masak; the “Tales of Tomorrow” episode “What You Need”; vintage crew interviews and syndication promos; nearly three dozen isolated music scores and 18 radio dramas. That doesn’t include the dozen or so holdovers from the previous DVD release.

Of course the 4:3 picture can annoy those addicted to widescreen presentations on their HDTV, and yes, a couple of these episodes are dated and silly.

But there’s far more good than bad here, and the sheer amount of bonus material Image dredged up boggles the mind. Throw away your old VHS copies, give away the 2004 DVD release you have of the first season and invest in this Blu-ray set.

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