Twilight Zone Season Five DVD REVIEW
Classic anthology series bows out
Release Date: 6 February 2012
1963-1964 * £26.19 (DVD)/£36.97 (Blu-ray)
Distributor: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Creator: Rod Serling
Cast: Jack Klugman, William Shatner, Lee Marvin, James Coburn, Mickey Rooney, Telly Savalas
In his essential book The Twilight Zone Companion, expert Marc Scott Zicree says of the programme’s fifth season: “The thoughtfulness and innovation of the first three seasons was, for the most part, sadly lacking… The quality of the writing slipped badly.” He’s being a little harsh because, besides marking a welcome return to a half-hour format, the Zone’s final season is full of fine performances, memorable scenes and some truly excellent episodes.
Pick of the lot is probably “Nightmare At 20,000 Feet”, a suspenser worthy of Hitchcock featuring William Shatner’s best pre-Trek performance. Not far behind is “Living Doll”, the twisted tale of a little girl’s doll who says things like “My name is Tina and I’m going to kill you.” Also notable are Jacques Tourneur’s spooky “Night Call”, the Richard Matheson-scripted “Steel” (recently adapted by Disney as Real Steel), and “Number 12 Looks Just Like You”, according to Charlie Brooker a key inspiration for the “15 Million Merits” episode of Black Mirror.
Sure, there are some weak instalments: “Black Leather Jackets” simply makes no sense; “The Long Morrow” is one of the episodes with a very silly pay-off; and the likes of “What’s In The Box” and “Sounds And Silences” substitute people shouting for subtlety. Maybe it was right for the show to call it a day, but the final season certainly didn’t disgrace itself.
Extras: An astonishing amount of stuff – all the extras from the DVD releases have been ported over, and there are loads of new additions, including twenty more episode commentaries (mostly by expert Marc Scott Zicree), 22 radio adaptations, and vintage interviews.
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