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The Twilight Zone: Season 4 (The Definitive Edition)
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The complete fourth season of Rod Serling's classic, groundbreaking series exploring the fantastic and the frightening. This landmark series of episodes found the series switching to a one-hour format, allowing for more elaborate and detailed stories which plunged viewers even further into Serling's world of the uncanny and the enlightening. EPISODES: In His Image - The Thirty Fathom Grave - Valley of the Shadow - He's Alive - Mute - Death Ship - Jess-Belle - Miniature - Printer's Devil - No Time Like the Past - The Parallel - I Dream of Genie - The New Exhibit - Of Late I Think of Cliffordville - The Incredible World of Horace Ford - On Thursday We Leave for Home - Passage on the Lady Anne - The Bard
Despite major changes in personnel and the ill-advised switch to a full-hour format, Twilight Zone (with "The" removed from its title) began its fourth season on a promising note. Written by series veteran Charles Beaumont, the premiere episode "In His Image" maintained the high standards that Rod Serling had established throughout the first three seasons, and the story--about a man (George Grizzard) who builds an exact robot replica of himself, with dire consequences--fit well into the hour-long format that Serling reluctantly went along with. Twilight Zone struggled with its expanded length, resulting in some episodes that lack the consistent punch of earlier half-hour episodes. Exhausted by three seasons of prodigious creativity, Serling and Buck Houghton vacated their roles as producers (with Serling's involvement limited to script feedback, writing nearly half of the season's episodes, and on-screen hosting), and TV veteran Herbert Hirschman became the new show-runner (departing mid-season, he was replaced by Bert Granet), promising not to tinker with the series' proven success. But Twilight Zone was inevitably becoming a shadow of its former self, and the involvement of proven TZ writers like Richard Matheson, Earl Hamner, Jr., and Beaumont could not entirely compensate for Serling's growing detachment.
Still, these 18 episodes include some fine examples of enduring quality, such as Matheson's "Death Ship," starring Jack Klugman and Ross Martin in a recurring nightmare scenario, and featuring the same spaceship model used in the 1956 sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet. Beaumont's "Miniature," starring Robert Duvall, was the only hour-long episode pulled from initial syndication (due to a plagiarism lawsuit that was ultimately dismissed), so its inclusion here (along with color scenes from its eventual syndication) is a welcome treat. Serling lampoons the medium of television with "The Bard" (with an early appearance by Burt Reynolds), and his teleplay for "On Thursday We Leave for Home" is the season's highlight, ranking among Twilight Zone's finest science-fiction episodes. It remained clear, however, that Twilight Zone was past its prime, and when the series was renewed for a fifth season in the spring of 1963, a return to its original half-hour format was a belated step in the right direction.
Of course, season 4's overall strengths and weaknesses won't matter to collectors of The Definitive Edition DVD sets, and a wealth of archival bonus features make this a must-have addition to anyone's TZ collection. Image Entertainment and features producer Paul Browstein deserve extra credit for their diligent assembly of supplements that render all previous TZ releases virtually obsolete. Nothing has been overlooked, from the commentary (on "Death Ship") and interview clips by acclaimed TZ expert Mark Scott Zicree to the inclusion of a vintage TZ spoof from Saturday Night Live, radio-show adaptations starring Blair Underwood, Jason Alexander, Lou Diamond Phillips and others, and a vintage Twilight Zone comic book, accessible on computers with Adobe reader installed. There's even a brief Rod Serling blooper taken from a scratchy 16-millimeter print, proving that no stone was left unturned in making this a truly definitive TZ collection. --Jeff Shannon
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in that group producing or directing he got the product the way he wanted. No interference from a bunch of
network suits thinking they knew what was better The series is timeless and if put in up in prime time against
network garbage today it would win hands down. Intelligent programs to challenge, I don't even know what
to call the stuff- but garbage, No wonder people around the world hold us in such low esteem-they think we are
like what they see from our programs. Too bad Rod shut it down after 5 years and sold the rights to CBS.
Few shows have been so provocative and unforgettable. And its on DVD now. Here's to you, Rod.
The opposite can be said for the half hour shows, as sometimes they seemed a bit rushed and you could tell that the stories would be even more awesome if they could be fleshed out a bit more. That isn't to say that this is a weak season, or that previous seasons suffered from the amount of time allotted. While some episodes are more of a standout than others, overall, the writing was exceptional, the casting was dead-on, and the direction was without flaw. With an a-list cast list, with actors that have went on to great success after this series, it is definitely a treat to have all of these seasons on blu ray. Considering the age of the series, and it being in black and white, it's overwhelming how great they look on blu ray. Usually blu ray brings out the flaws of something this old. but everything looks outstanding and sounds just as outstanding. I am not going to go into too much detail concerning the actual episodes, because I just want everyone to know how great the series is as a whole and how great it is to have this on blu ray. its worth every penny. I can not compare the dvd sets to these, as I held off on buying them until they finally released an "ultimate" version. I wanted it to be season by season and in chronological order.
The extras are definitely a plus as well with radio dramas, audio interviews, sponsor billboards and other interesting extras (such as Rod Serling's appearance on Groucho Marx's old show) You don't get this amount of extras on newer shows. With the exception of Everybody Loves Raymond most tv. shows have very few if any extras. Even my beloved Cheers was kinda shafted by Paramount as far as extras go. But, with the Twilight Zone they didn't leave anything out. All of this in great blu ray cases that fit neatly in your collection. Blu Ray is really the way to go for this series. Even if you have never watched an episode in your life, or if you are revisiting this show from your past. You will not be disappointed. Star Trek (the original series - 3 Seasons) look great on blu ray as well. I'd recommend both series. As with Star Trek they give you the option of watching the shows with improved special effects as well as original effects (but I'm not that much of a purist I love the new scenes/special effects) With Blu Ray these two prestigious shows are shown in the best possible way. I can not recommend these two series enough. They are classic tv in the best modern presentation.
Most episodes have excellent picture and sound quality and in fact this has improved a great deal over the previous seasons as well. Overall this is a very good blu-ray set of season four of the series which I personally believe to be the best Twilight Zone season.