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Some good news and some bad news
on July 13, 2004
I am the coauthor, with Jim Benson, of the companion guide to "Rod Serling's Night Gallery." We've been tracking this release pretty closely and are privy to as much information as we can squeeze out of Universal Studios. We're grateful the series has been tapped for a DVD release, and the set has been struck from original, uncut prints--the same ones Columbia House used for its mail-order volumes--and not the butchered half-hour syndication version that played on the SciFi Channel for years. That said, the master for the pilot is 20 years old, and those for the series are 15 years old--acceptable, but a bit long-in-the-tooth compared to the up-to-date treatment other television series have received. Imbedded in a few of the episodes are some errors, mostly in the sound and music tracks, and it would have been preferable had Universal seen fit to correct these. We also fail to see why a series which featured the involvement of both Rod Serling and Steven Spielberg did not rate a budget that allowed special features. If Warner Brothers can load extras into DVD releases of such non-classics as "Wonder Woman" and "The Dukes of Hazzard," then Universal is out of touch with current standards in the DVD business when they fail to properly document their own classic TV shows (such as "Rod Serling's Night Gallery" and "Columbo"). However, Universal is new to the TV side of their property library and may need to get their feet wet before they finally catch up to their more forward-looking competitors.
As a caveat emptor, the first season is relatively free of errors compared to the second season. The most critical error is the crackling that runs through the soundtrack of Serling's segment "The House" (found in Episode #3). Any further critique will have to wait until the release.
And who knows, if sales for Season One are impressive enough, maybe the studio will do right by Season Two and give "RSNG" a budget that more accurately reflects its classic status.