New on Blu-ray: The Twilight Zone Season 5

By Robert B. DeSalvo

The final season of Rod Serling's seminal series is packed with pristine high-definition picture, remastered sound and vintage extras.

Creator: Rod Serling MPAA Rating: Not Rated Studio: Image Entertainment

Some movies and TV shows are slapped on Blu-ray just to cash in on the latest format and offer little appreciable difference from the DVD versions. One glaring exception is The Twilight Zone, which Image Entertainment has been releasing over the past year on Blu-ray for the first time. Each of the four seasons currently out there features a pristine high-definition picture, remastered sound on every episode and all the vintage extras one could hope for in this or any other plane of existence.

Image Entertainment finishes off its collection that helped generations “enter another dimension” with all 36 episodes of The Twilight Zone: Season 5, the final season of Rod Serling’s seminal series. After trying out an hour-long format in Season 4, Serling wisely switched back to the leaner, faster-paced 30-minute episodes that proved more popular for the first three seasons. Everything about the original show is kept intact, from the CBS station-identification breaks to Serling’s previews of the next episode at the end of each show.

One of the best episodes in Season 5 is “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” which is directed by Richard Donner and stars William Shatner as a man recovering from a nervous breakdown who keeps seeing a gremlin on the wing of the passenger jet he is onboard. The episode was later reworked for Twilight Zone: The Movie in 1983. Other Season 5 standouts include Jack Klugman as an alcoholic who wishes he was a better father to his son in “In Praise of Pip,” the android boxers of “Steel,” Telly Savalas in the Child’s Play-inspiring “Living Doll,” and the killer car of “You Drive.”

Not all of the episodes resonate equally, but for the most part Serling finishes off his landmark series on a high note. Whether he took us to outer space or another time or an alternate reality, Serling remained an integral part of The Twilight Zone—"a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas"—until he crossed over into other dimensions with new projects at the end of this stellar season.

Best extras: This Blu-ray debut has 20 new audio commentaries, conversations with Rod Serling, a vintage audio interview with director of photography George T. Clemens, “George Clayton Johnson’s Home Movies,” additional sponsor billboards and 22 radio dramas featuring the voices of Adam West, Kate Jackson, Jane Seymour, Luke Perry, Karen Black and many more.


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