As a latchkey kid in Southern California during the 1980s, The Twilight Zone was constant part of my summertime television watching. With not much of a yard, there was little for a kid to do throughout the three-month break except watch TV. In those days, there were no 24-hour cartoon networks, so during the week, for the hours I would normally be in school, there was little on television to interest me. It was always at noon that one of the local stations played two Twilight Zone episodes back to back. Each day with my sandwich, I would ingest a couple of morsels of Rod Serling’s lessons in morality.
I’m sure the main points of my childhood experience with The Twilight Zone aren’t terribly unique and since the series was originally ran between 1959 and 1964, there are probably millions with similar stories. When I was younger, that same local TV station would also run a Thanksgiving Day marathon, to which I would be glued, waiting until the absolute last minute to eat with my family. Now, there are a few marathons that run throughout the year, but they are still infrequent enough that many fans are eager to own their own copies of the iconic series.
The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series is the latest DVD release from Image Entertainment and makes it out just in time for the holiday season. The box set includes all five seasons and 156 episodes of Rod Serling’s inspired creation. Each episode promises to let you travel to another dimension of sight and sound with a cast that included the likes of Art Carney, Burgess Meredith, Cliff Robertson, Dennis Hopper, Bill Bixby, Leonard Nimoy, Burt Reynolds, Don Rickles, Jack Klugman, Robert Redford, Lee Marvin, Martin Landau, Telly Savalas, William Shatner and of course, Rod Serling himself.
While this certainly isn’t the only collection of The Twilight Zone, there are some benefits of this latest release. An earlier collection featured a slew of extras, which may appeal to the more voracious fans, but The Complete Series’ more barebones approach is slightly more authentic and less likely to give away plot lines with liner notes and previews. That’s not to say that less is more, but all of the extras aren’t necessarily for everyone. The more streamlined approach this DVD set offers does allow for a more authentic viewing approach.
The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series Box Set comes in five individual multi-disc cases, a case for each season. The total running time for all 156 episodes comes in at around 4,524 minutes or 75 and a half hours. Each story is presented in the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio in black and white. The picture and sound quality is really pretty good considering the age of the source material. The only audio offered is English Dolby Digital Mono with no Closed Caption support. For many, this barebones, episode only version of the Twilight Zone series will do just fine, but more serious fans may prefer other editions.