DVD Review: 'The Twilight Zone: The Complete First Season'

By: Heather Seebach

The Twilight Zone first hit airwaves back in October 1959. Despite being a black-and-white program filled with actors who are now quite old - if not dead - Rod Serling's science fiction classic refuses to age. The stories are timeless and continue to be quoted and referenced even today. Countless subsequent sci-fi and anthology series were made possible by it, not to mention the many writers and filmmakers who credit Serling as inspiration. Its impact on pop culture cannot be denied, but the show stands on more than just its reputation - the series is as watchable today as it was 50 years ago.

The Twilight Zone of course was the brainchild of Rod Serling who, along with legendary writers Charles Beaumont and Richard Matheson, penned the majority of the first season's episodes. Back then, the show lacked its famous Marius Constant score (doo-doo-DOO-doo, doo-doo-DOO-doo) and instead, a simple Bernard Herrmann score was the backdrop for Serling's original intro:

 "There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to Man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of Man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call The Twilight Zone."

 Serling himself only appeared at the very end of each episode, where he would preview the following week's story. This DVD release includes those rare bumpers, as well as a few PSAs and CBS advertisements. These are a bonus treat for fans of long-lost television.

Season one included some of The Twilight Zone's most famous and revered stories, including "Time Enough at Last", wherein Burgess Meredith longs for time alone to read but is not careful what he wishes for. There was time now! Other notable episodes include the Red Scare-fueled "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street"; the youth-revisited tale in "Walking Distance"; and "The Hitch-Hiker", all of which were named among TIME's top 10 Twilight Zone episodes.

Image Entertainment's 5-disc DVD release of season one includes all 36 episodes with no special features. Guest stars include Martin Landau, Kevin McCarthy, Roddy McDowall, and Ron Howard. The stories tackle everything from aliens to war to creepy mannequins. The Twilight Zone is full of amazing tales but perhaps no season has as many consistently unforgettable episodes as season one. You can pick up the DVD of season one here:

 This month, Image Entertainment also releases the complete box set of The Twilight Zone, which includes all 156 episodes of the series. Unfortunately, this is a bare-bones set that does not include special features. However, the Blu-ray release of The Twilight Zone: The Complete Collection does include some fantastic interviews, commentaries, and rare footage. You can purchase either the episodes-only DVDs or the special-feature-heavy-Blu-rays below:

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