Loneliness is the prevailing theme in the second season of 'The Twilight Zone.' Episodes like "King Nine Will Not Return," "The Obsolete Man," and "Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room" all deal with some feeling of loneliness or neglect. Captain James Embry in "King Nine Will Not Return" ends up in familiar 'Twilight Zone' territory when he finds himself stranded in the middle of the desert with his World War II bomber. Only his crew is gone, and he's beginning to have hallucinations. "The Obsolete Man" tells the story of a man who is lost in a utopian society that rivals the evils of creativity-squashing communism. "Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room" deals with a wannabe gangster who doesn't have the guts to perform his next criminal act. He's supposed to kill someone, and he doesn't know if he can. Alone in a cheap hotel room he tries to convince himself to do the job.
There are quite a few one-man-shows in this season, but isn't that what 'The Twilight Zone' is all about? Episodes starring only one person allow us to delve deep into their psyche. See what makes them tick. Experience what they are experiencing. To this day, no show has been able to explore human emotions and fears like 'The Twilight Zone.' Rod Serling definitely knew how to string us along through a story inside someone's mind, learning along the way about humanity and how hard being human can be.
By the second season 'The Twilight Zone' had amassed a healthy audience and the show was off and running. It covered so many different angles and plots it's impossible to discuss them all now. From pawn store genies, to time travel, to bags of battles of the mind. One week the show would delve into the supernatural, and then the next week it would deal with a strong human emotion like loneliness or love.
There's just something about these taut half-hour episodes that suck you in and don't let you go until the end. In a day where serial dramas reign supreme on TV and we watch the same characters doing the same things over and over for years, it's refreshing to revisit a time where each episode encapsulated a beginning, middle, and end. New characters were introduced each week, and with Serling's brilliant writing we were able to fall in love before our fleeting 30 minutes with them were up. By season two, 'The Twilight Zone' had clearly become one of the best shows to ever grace the small screen, before or since. After the fantastic job they did with season one, let's all give Image Entertainment a standing ovation for releasing another stellar season of this iconic series.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
'Twilight Zone: Season 2' Comes packed in a nice oversized keepcase. With a slickly designed cardboard slipcover that looks great on the shelf next to season one. The set comes complete with 4 50GB Blu-ray discs all packed into the keepcase with flipper trays so the discs are housed back to back. Each episode features Rod Serling's preview for the episode that will air the next week.
Most of the second season was shot on 35mm film. For this transfer, just like the first season, they went back to the original 35mm negatives and created all new transfers. However, there is one caveat. Six of the episodes in this season were shot on videotape ("Static," "The Lateness of the Hour," "The Whole Truth," "The Night of the Meek," "Long Distance Call," and "Twenty Two"). These episodes have a very notable difference in overall look and feel compared to the other episodes filmed with 35mm film. The videotape episodes are presented in 1080i while the rest of the set is presented in 1080p.
First let's talk about the episodes that were filmed on 35mm film. Just like the first season, they look absolutely spectacular. Detail is top-notch. Take for example the wallpaper in the hotel room of "Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room." That intricate pattern most likely was hardly visible until now. Here each tiny aspect of the repeating pattern can be seen clearly. Facial detail such as fine hairs and even pores are visible during the extreme closeups that populate the entire season. Errant noise pops up frequently, but this is to be expected from a show this old. Still, the black and white image is a striking reminder of exactly how much HD and Blu-ray can improve an older image.. Blacks are deep and provide an inky depth to the picture, while the varying shades of gray pop with clarity.
As is expected, the episodes shot on videotape don't fair nearly as well. They appear blurry compared to the 35mm episodes. Detail is obscured and not nearly as fine. The look and feel of them just doesn't measure up. Grays and blacks aren't nearly as revealing. Overall, it's almost as if you picked up a different set all together when you watch these episodes. Here's the deal though. This isn't Image's fault. It's no one's fault really, and Image has done as good of a job as they could to get the picture to look as clean and clear as possible. Their restoration of the videotaped episodes looks to have had just as much care put into them as the 35mm episodes. It's just that the source material didn't provide much in the way of fine detail to begin with. Artifacts appear frequently in the videotaped episodes. Aliasing, at times, is pretty bad. In "Static" as the camera opens on the characters sitting in their living room, the image breaks apart and shudders as the image moves from left to right. All the videotaped episodes have the same feeling and look of "Fairy Tale Theater" episodes, like they were filmed for live TV.
While 'The Twilight Zone' season two isn't a stunning piece of clarity throughout the season, I'm confident that this is the best looking presentation of this season we'll get.
Just like the first season, you can pick from two sound options for each episode. You can choose the original mono audio, which is how the episode originally sounded when it aired, or you can pick the restored mono audio that has been digitally restored from the original magnetic tapes. Having the choice of the two is part of the fun. Die hard fans and audiophiles will want to hear exactly what the show sounded like during its original broadcast, but may want to switch over every now and then to a wonderfully restored soundfield created just for this Blu-ray set. Just so you know, the default for each episode is the restored audio option, if you want to listen to the original audio you have to select it in the menu.
The newly restored Linear PCM mono audio has a clean, precise sound to it. Dialogue is always intelligible and never crackles or hisses even during times where characters are yelling and screaming. The eerie soundtrack produced for each of the episodes never drowns out the dialogue. Overall the restored audio is crisp and clear. It's a perfect way to experience each episode.
The original audio on the other hand is a lot less clear and suffers from hissing and crackling here and there. Let's be honest though, if you're listening to the original audio that's exactly how you want to hear the show. You want the nitty gritty of it all, and you'll get it with this option. Having both options gives you the best of both worlds.
It's a pretty safe bet to say you haven't even made it through the mountain of special features on season one. Image doesn't care about that though, because once you're finally done with season one, you'll have a new mountain of features to climb with season two. From a variety of audio commentaries to the always wonderful 'Twilight Zone' Radio Dramas, this season has just as many quality features as season one.
Episode 37: "King Nine Will Not Return"
Episode 38: "The Man in the Bottle"
Episode 39: "Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room"
Episode 40: "A Thing About Machines"
Episode 41: "The Howling Man"
Episode 42: "Eye of the Beholder"
Episode 43: "Nick of Time"
Episode 44: "The Lateness of the Hour"
Episode 45: "The Trouble with Templeton"
Episode 46: "A Most Unusual Camera"
Episode 47: "The Night of the Meek"
Episode 48: "Dust"
Episode 49: "Back There"
Episode 50: "The Whole Truth"
Episode 51: "The Invaders"
Episode 52: "A Penny for Your Thoughts"
Episode 53: "Twenty Two"
Episode 54: "The Odyssey of Flight 33"
Episode 55: "Mr. Dingle the Strong"
Episode 56: "Static"
Episode 57: "The Prime Mover"
Episode 58: "Long Distance Call"
Episode 59: "A Hundred Yards Over the Rim"
Episode 60: "The Rip Van Winkle Caper"
Episode 61: "The Silence"
Episode 62: "Shadow Play"
Episode 63: "The Mind and the Matter"
Episode 64: "Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?"
Episode 65: "The Obsolete Man"
Kudos to Image Entertainment on yet another stellar release of this iconic television series. Bravo to them for providing another extensive, and exhaustive special features section that has more than enough Blu-ray exclusives to require DVD owners to upgrade to these sets. 'The Twilight Zone' shines on Blu-ray. It did in its first season, and here the second season looks just as good. Granted the six episodes on videotape provide some ugly anomalies in what is otherwise a damn good looking set. The videotaped episodes are dealt with as best as possible, and they come out looking reasonably good. The episodes that were filmed on film, however, look tremendous. The restored audio sounds fantastic, but if you're a purest then the original audio tracks are also provided. This set has everything a 'Twilight Zone' fan would want for a special Blu-ray release of the show. Another must own from Image Entertainment.