The Twilight Zone – Season 1 Disc 1 Review

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The Twilight Zone

The Complete Definitive Collection

Season 1

“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.”

Disc 1

#1Where Is Everybody?

Season 1 Episode 1

Original Air Date: October 2, 1959

Writer: Rod Serling

Guest Star: Earl Holliman

Synopsis: Mike Ferris finds himself walking alone on a dusty road as he enters the small town of Oakwood. He has no memory of who he is, or why he is there. In a deserted town, he feels he’s being watched. As the tension builds, his hysteria increases resulting in a mental breakdown.

Impressions: This wasn’t bad for a first episode. It’s a nice introduction to The Twilight Zone where nothing is as it seems. This story falls is both science fiction and psychological thriller. The story is well written and builds towards the climax without feeling rushed. It makes me interested to see what else lurks in The Twilight Zone.

Rating: 3.5/5

 

#2One For the Angels

Season 1 Episode 2

Original Air Date: October 9, 1959

Writer: Rod Serling

Guest Stars: Ed Wynn (1st of 2 appearances), Murray Hamilton

Synopsis: Mr. Death calls upon a salesman as it is his time. The salesman negotiates a loophole to escape, only to find Mr. Death has found a replacement. The replacement is a little girl the salesman knows. Only the salesman can save her, and he’ll have to make the greatest pitch of his life.

Impressions: This is not the best of episodes, but isn’t the worst either. This one falls somewhere in the middle. Ed Wynn’s performance makes it better than it could have been. The story is fine, it just didn’t appeal to me. It was too straightforward. This lacked the elements of a classic episode. There was no science fiction, horror, anything. It also lacked the classic trademark ending. I’ve seen this episode a few times before, but there’s no surprise ending. It plays out as you’d expect it to, and as it should.

Rating: 3/5

 

#3Mr. Denton On Doomsday

Season 1 Episode 3

Original Air Date: October 16, 1959

Writer: Rod Serling

Guest Stars: Dan Duryea, Martin Landau (1st of 2 appearances)

Synopsis: The town drunk of this Old West town receives a gift when Mr. Fate intervenes. Mr. Denton has his lost abilities as a gunslinger restored, but he gets more than he bargains for inside of one bottle.

Impressions: Rod Serling got too high on his moral horse with this Western tale. As with the previous episode, it lacks the classic Twilight Zone elements. The trademark ending is also absent. The only thing I liked about this episode is the actor playing Mr. Fate. His demeanor is straight from The Twilight Zone. This episode didn’t do anything for me. It’s just an episode, and not a good one.

Rating: 1.5/5

 

#4The Sixteen Millimeter Shrine

Season 1 Episode 4

Original Air Date: October 23, 1959

Writer: Rod Serling

Guest Stars: Ida Lupino, Martin Balsam (1st of 2 appearances)

Synopsis: Barbara Jean Trenton is an aging actress spending her days drinking alone in a dark room watching her past glories. She doesn’t want to leave the room, with one exception.

Impressions: We’re on the right road, but we haven’t traveled far. This is a story best described as fantasy. There is a decent ending, and it’s one that can only happen in The Twilight Zone. The story didn’t appeal to me, but the ending was more in line with what I want and expect. It was an episode, and the ending made it better.

Rating: 2/5

#5Walking Distance

Season 1 Episode 5

Original Air Date: October 30, 1959

Writer: Rod Serling

Guest Stars: Gig Young, Ron Howard

Synopsis: Martin Sloan finds himself within walking distance of the town where he grew up. After walking into Homewood he finds everything is just as he remembers it was in 1934. Including his parents, and himself.

Impressions: We’re still on the right road and going in the right direction. This story doesn’t have a twist ending so to speak. The twist comes at the beginning. The ending ties it all together bringing the story full circle. This piece of fantasy has a moral. It’s subtle and summed up in one quote. This was a story that I enjoyed.

Rating: 3.5/5

#6Escape Clause

Season 1 Episode 6

Original Air Date: November 6, 1959

Writer: Rod Serling

Guest Stars: David Wayne, Thomas Gomez (1st of 2 appearances)

Synopsis: Walter Bedeker is a hypochondriac who fears death. To avoid his greatest fear he sells his soul for immortality, but soon gets bored with his new lease on life. In seeking a new thrill his plan backfires, and his immortality is a sentence worse than death.

Impressions: Rod Serling takes the Faustian legend into The Twilight Zone. This episode has all the elements of a classic episode, without the need to fit into one over the other. The ending is obvious, but that doesn’t take anything away from it. This is the second story in a row I’ve enjoyed, and the series is starting to find its direction.

Rating: 4/5

#7The Lonely

Season 1 Episode 7

Original Air Date: November 13, 1959

Writer: Rod Serling

Guest Stars: Jack Warden (1st of 2 appearances), John Dehner (1st of 3 appearances), Jean Marsh, Ted Knight (uncredited)

Synopsis: James Corry is a convicted murderer serving his sentence alone on an asteroid. A supply ship captain takes pity on him and brings him a gift to help him fight the loneliness and keep his sanity. The gift is a female robot, but soon he receives another gift that he has waited so long to receive. Now he must choose.

Impressions: This is the first episode that has all the trademark qualities of a classic episode, including the ending. It also had a story I could into, and I enjoyed this science fiction tale from start to finish. Of all the episodes on this disc, this was my favorite. I’ll call it the first true classic episode. The direction is set and we are going deeper into The Twilight Zone. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Rating: 5/5

One disc down, 27 more to go. What did we get? Well, we got a bit of everything as far as quality of the stories. This disc covers the first seven episodes of the series. I felt it started well, then dropped off in the middle. The last three episodes brought my enjoyment level back. I found each story stronger than the one before it. The last two episodes in particular were strong offerings from the mind of Rod Serling. This disc even has an episode I would consider a classic in The Lonely. It’s a 5-star effort that makes me want to start on the next disc sooner rather than later. As always I’d love to read your comments. Of these seven episodes, which one was your favorite?

Copyright © Drew Martin 2015

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