Blu-ray Review: The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series - 156 Episodes on 24 Discs

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Here it is. All 156 episodes of arguably the most iconic television series of all time collected on 24 Blu-ray discs. This is not the high definition debut of Rod Serling's 1959-1964 classic. The five seasons were rolled out on Blu-ray one-by-one over the course of 2010 to 2011, with the first five-season bundle available in 2012. If you don't already own that set (now out of print), the newly-released CBS/Paramount repackaging The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series is the one to get. It carries a SRP of $126.99, but shop around for significant discounts (it's not hard to snag the set for well under a hundred bucks).

When Image Entertainment first issued a complete box set of The Twilight Zone, they basically put all their individual season sets in one big cardboard slipcase. This set is packaged in a thick clamshell plastic case (though it's pretty trim considering there are two dozen discs in it), with a bundle of hinged disc-storage panels inside. Wisely, this "folder" of discs isn't actually attached to the clamshell case. That's less interconnected plastic to worry about breaking. Each panel has two discs on either side (they are clear of each other, in other words you can spin the disc without worry of it brushing up against the one above it).

Be forewarned: when I opened my set, there were three discs loose among the panels that I had to put back on their hub (and these posts are, admittedly, a little bit pesky in terms of getting the discs on and off—do it carefully in order to avoid breaking the hub). I don't mean to make it sound like the packaging is a pain in the rear. It's actually a very good compromise in terms of keeping the size of the package itself down and also the production cost down (resulting in the lower SRP than the 2012 package), while still delivering a functional set. The plastic case is housed in a cardboard slipcase. 

Twilight Zone BD (309x380).jpg If you haven't yet seen The Twilight Zone on Blu-ray you're in for a treat. Yes, there were deserved rave reviews for the original Definitive Collection DVDs (the first time complete season sets were issued on DVD) back in 2004-2005. But these Blu-ray truly blows those right out of the water. Even the shot-on-videotape episodes from the second season look better (presented in 1080i) than ever. But the majority of the series was shot on 35mm and the restoration job is tremendous (they went back to the original film negatives). These haven't been remastered since the previous Image Blu-ray set, but there was really no need to do so.

The audio options are also the same as the previous release, with a truly breathtaking remastering in uncompressed LPCM mono. The original mono tracks are included as the alternative option. This is kind of interesting for a before-and-after comparison, but there's hardly any reason to use this track for an extended period of time. It would be like trying to recreate the original broadcast standards of the visual presentation instead of watching the startling clarity and richness of the 1080p versions.

As for extras, the set is bristling with hours upon hours of commentaries, isolated scores, radio drama versions of select episodes (of a much more recent vintage, like Ed Begley, Jr. starring in a radio version of "To Agnes - With Love"), sponsor billboards, interviews with writers and actors connected to specific episodes, and various other odds and ends.

Missed it the first time it was out as a Blu-ray box set? Now's the time to make amends with CBS/Paramount's The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series.

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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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