Loneliness still seems to be the driving character force in the 'Twilight Zone's third season. Still, the show kept going strong. Even if the same aspects of human nature kept popping up throughout the season, Rod Serling and his team still found ways to tell the stories in different ways. Not only do we get a few "one-man" shows here, where characters wander around an empty world trying to figure out what's going on ("Two") we get quite a few episodes where characters are lost in their own psychosis ("The Arrival" and "Nothing in the Dark").
By the end of the season 'The Twilight Zone' had surpassed its 100th episode. There are a few instances during the season where you can tell the team of writers may have been running out of fresh ideas. Even though "Nothing in the Dark" features a young and vibrant Robert Redford, the episode itself seems quite mediocre compared too many of the classic episodes in the first and second seasons.
That isn't to say season three isn't without its merits. Season three is home to quite a few episodes that are considered classics by many, including "To Serve Man" and "Five Characters in Search of an Exit" (an inspiration for 'Toy Story' perhaps?). Famous author Ray Bradbury even lent his talents to the show by writing "I Sing the Body Electric." My personal favorites from the season include "A Game of Pool" where an obsessed pool player is challenged to a game of pool by the ghost of Fats Brown, the best pool player who ever lived, or "The Shelter," which shows just exactly how crazy and selfish people can get when they're faced with destruction. Continuing on with the scare of nuclear war and how people act when they're facing the end, "One More Pallbearer" features a sadistic rich man wanting to get even with people who wronged him in the past.
Season three of 'The Twilight Zone' is an enjoyable addition to the collection, but as I said, there are times where you can see that the show was gasping for original ideas. Still it plowed through, occasionally popping out well-crafted episodes that stayed true to the 'Twilight Zone' aesthetic.
By now you know what you're getting into. Fans of 'The Twilight Zone' will rejoice once season three hits store shelves. Even if it doesn't pack the same punch as the first couple seasons, this is still extremely solid storytelling, backed by some fantastically writing dialogue. I absolutely love the dialogue in "One More Pallbearer." Sure it comes off a bit hammy, but it's introspective nature and the way it's delivered make it perfect.
There isn't much more to say about this release. It's wonderful that Image is going through and fully restoring these seasons to their original glory. Reliving 'The Twilight Zone' on Blu-ray is definitely one of the greatest things about the format!
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
The third season of 'The Twilight Zone' has been packaged together on five 50GB Blu-ray discs. Discs one, two, and five have seven episodes each while discs three and four have eight. Disc five also contains some extra special features that aren't specifically tied to an episode. Like the other seasons, this season is packed nicely into an oversized Blu-ray case that has a two swivel disc hubs that nicely house a disc on the back and front of them, with the fifth disc sitting in its own hub against the back cover. An insert is provided with an extensive episode list, which lists all the special features that can be found with each episode. A slipcover is also provided.
My oh my! The first season looked astounding on high-def. Absolutely breath-taking. The second season featured a few episodes that were shot on video tape that didn't transfer to the format all that well, but still, the rest of the season was just as solid as the first. Image continues with its fantastic restoration with their 1080p presentation of season three.
Detail is utterly superb. What's truly amazing is that it isn't until now that people have been able to see every single detail that was captured by the show's film. TVs back then obviously couldn't reproduce the kind of clarity they can now. Finally, in high definition we can see every single detail! From the individual beads of sweat that form on Fats Brown's head during "A Game of Pool" to the smooth boyish good looks of a young Robert Redford. Detail is simply amazing throughout the season. Pores, hairs, and smile lines are all completely visible.
Blacks are sufficiently deep. Grays are bold and defined, with whites adding a wonderful contrast. Depth and dimensionality shine here as the black and white photography reveals the detail of the image.
I did notice a few very minor hiccups, however. During "The Arrival" at approximately the 11:37 mark there's a small digital flub that causes random blocking to appear for a brief second as the camera pans across the inside of the plane's fuselage. Also in "The Arrival" along with a couple other episodes throughout the season, tightly checkered jackets pulsate like they're blinking. In "The Arrival" it's Serling's corduroy jacket that throbs relentlessly while he's on screen. Noise does pop up on occasion in the form of white flecks and spots that appear and disappear rather frequently. Even though these specks are apparent through all of the episodes, they never detract from viewing.
Overall though, this is another fine video presentation from the folks at Image Entertainment. They treated this show right with seasons one and two, and they haven't stopped with season three.
As with the other seasons, Image has offered the choice of listening to either a restored uncompressed PCM mono audio mix, or if you prefer you can listen to the original mono mix.
There are slight differences in the two mixes. The restored mix puts more emphasis on the dialogue, bringing voices to the forefront, and pushing the musical soundtrack to the back. Still, I find either of the options worth listening to. Purists will most likely want to stick with the original mix, while others may opt to listen to the newly restored mix.
Either of the options offers brilliant dialogue reproduction, with the restored track putting a little more emphasis on the voices. Every word uttered comes clearly through the center channel, and never becomes lost in the sound effects and music even though it's all packed into the same channel. Hissing and crackling never pop up to spoil the show.
Just like in the other two 'Twilight Zone' releases this Image release features a wonderfully rich audio presentation even though it's confined to a mono source. It still feels like it's something more than that.
I'm tired of watching the commercials, but I suppose it's nice to see who sponsored the show and provided it the money to create new episodes. Other interviews and assorted clips are also found here.
Episode 66: "Two"
Episode 67: "The Arrival"
Episode 68: "The Shelter"
Episode 69: "The Passerby"
Episode 70: "A Game of Pool"
Episode 71: "The Mirror"
Episode 72: "The Grave"
Episode 73: "It's a Good Life"
Episode 74: "Deaths-head Revisited"
Episode 75: "The Midnight Sun"
Episode 76: "Still Valley"
Episode 77: "The Jungle"
Episode 78: "Once Upon a Time"
Episode 79: "Five Characters in Search of an Exit"
Episode 80: "A Quality of Mercy"
Episode 81: "Nothing in the Dark"
Episode 82: "One More Pallbearer"
Episode 83: "Dead Man's Shoes"
Episode 84: "The Hunt"
Episode 85: "Showdown with Rance McGraw"
Episode 86: "Kick the Can"
Episode 87: "A Piano in the House"
Episode 88: "The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank"
Episode 89: "To Serve Man"
Episode 90: "The Fugitive"
Episode 91: "Little Girl Lost"
Episode 92: "Person or Persons Unknown"
Episode 93: "The Little People"
Episode 94: "Four O'Clock"
Episode 95: "Hocus-Pocus and Frisby"
Episode 96: "The Trade-Ins"
Episode 97: "The Gift"
Episode 98: "The Dummy"
Episode 99: "Young Man's Fancy"
Episode 100: "I Sing the Body Electric"
Episode 101: "Cavender is Coming"
Episode 102: "The Changing of the Guard"
Additional Bonus Material
Fans of 'The Twilight Zone' will once again be pleased with Image's treatment of the source material. It's just amazing how great these episodes look and how well the film holds up. This third season isn't as packed with classics as the first two seasons, but it has its fair share of memorable episodes. This is an extensive set, featuring more special features than you can care to remember. Still, the features that have been compiled here, with special attention paid to Blu-ray exclusive commentaries, is astounding. Any fan will be ecstatic to pick this one up. This is a must own release, as are the previous two seasons.
Portions of this review also appear in our coverage of Dunkirk on Blu-ray. This post features unique Vital Disc Stats, Video, and Final Thoughts sections.