The Outer Limits: We Really Watched That Show With A Straight Face, Didn't We?

SciFi had an Outer Limits marathon today and yesterday, and I watched some of it. I don’t know if I’ve been seduced by today’s spectacular special effects, but something about an “alien” walking around in a business suit just struck me funny as hell.

Another show had some astronauts trapped in a building of some kind being chased by what looked like a giant turd.

Give me the old Twilight Zone any day, and I never bought that BS about them controlling transmission of my television signal either. I mean, what do they think I am, CRAZY?. :smiley:

I love the Outer Limits! Grew up watching it and I always catch those marathons when I can.

But I’m a wuss and shouldn’t watch them when I’m alone all weekend.

[The aliens are pretty amusing. But did you see the one about the scientist studying bees?]

My favorite one is where Earth is at war with evil lizard-like aliens, and one ship is sent to drop a Brand New Secret Bomb on their homeworld, which will kill all the aliens. But then the aliens invade the ship and kill a bunch of people, and some low-ranking schlub is left to complete the mission. But little does he know that,

You don’t say if it’s new Outer Limits or old Outer Limits. I grew up on the original series.

My opinion: As a dedicated science fiction fan, I have to say that when i was good, it was excellent, but in general, it’s an outrageously over-rated show. Stephen King and Harlan Ellison wrote reams of praise about the shows, but, in my opinion, all too often the writers would get hold of a really good science fiction concept, but not have the slightest idea what to do with it. Most shows are boring, or frustrated cases of might-have-beens.

Nevertheless, they had some great stuff: Harlan Ellison’s Demon with a Glass Hand (my al-time favorite science fiction TV episode), Ellison’s Soldier, an adaptation of Eando Binder’s Adam Link, Robot (which I believe they redid for the new series), Feasibility Study.

But most of the rest, IMHO, is awful.

I’m so glad to hear that it was just a marathon. I thought it was a new schedule. Hubby has been glued to the t.v. the past two mornings.

I liked Twilight Zone better because it had creepiness for everybody. Where as, Outer Limits was mostly science fiction type creepiness.

They did indeed. Leonard Nimoy appears in the new version as well.

And I love the Outer Limits. Some episodes stank. The special effects were generally awful. But most of the time, it was a great show.

Yes, The Outer Limits was quite variable, with some great episodes and some terrible ones. The same can be said of The Twilight Zone, which was a little weaker, in my opinion. And I would take either of those series over any of the Star Trek series.

I read that a problem with the Outer Limits is the producer wanted a monster in every episode (which he would refer to as the ‘bear’). When someone would pitch a story idea, he’d ask ‘Where’s the bear?’, and they would have to write in some scary looking monster.

This did give it a certain appeal to me over the Twilight Zone as a young child…I liked monsters, also Outer Limits seemed a little more science-fictiony than TZ.

My problem with the 1980s version of The Outer Limits is that the episodes were so damn slow! Most of the episodes could have been a taut 30 minutes but ended up being padded out to a sluggish 60 minutes. There were far too many useless scenes of characters struggling with the implications of what they had discovered, instead of just dealing with it.

It probably says something unwholesome about me that my favorite Outer Limits (recent version) episodes were the ones with unhappy endings, or at least happy endings achieved only after a lot of suffering and loss.

Although the good ones were very good (like the one Friedo mentioned), they had way too many episodes in which events tended naturally toward a happy ending, and the characters were just sort of carried along by the plot. I recall a certain tendency to preachiness in many episodes, too.

From what I’ve seen, the old version had fewer good episodes, and the bad ones were “Roger Corman-bad”, while the new ones were “Gene Roddenberry-bad”.

Outer Limits was ok, but Twilight Zone was brilliant. Still creepy to this day.

I prefer OL to TZ. TZ depended on the cheap plot twist; OL usually went for much more.

The first season was brilliant. The Sixth Finger was one of the best SF episodes ever (especially the wonderfully ambiguous ending), The Zanti Misfits a useful antidote to the Star Trek universe, Controlled Experiment was just plain funny.

I’ll also add that The New Twilight Zone of the 80s was superior overall to the original TZ.

I like the new Outer Limits better because they seem to give more of a variety. The old Outer Limits seem to always be about aliens are boring. I saw this amusing new Outer Limits episode with Tom Arnold who, remarkably, wasn’t annoying. He is a workaholic father who buys a robot to help with the family (family consisting of an alcoholic wife, and horrible children). The robot becomes the surrogate father, pushing Tom out of the picture while the family becomes perfect.

I loved the b/w Outer Limits when I was a wee tot; I was in diapers when they were originally broadcast, but they showed up in reruns on the local UHF channel. Despite its flaws, the old Outer Limits was serious science fiction, a novelty on television, which had previously only shown children’s programming on the level of “Tom Corbett-Space Ranger” (and, yes, I count “Lost in Space” as a kiddie show).

Having watched all of the first season and some of the second on DVD, I have to say that the quality of the episodes was uneven, from the ludicrously bad “Z-Z-Z-Z-Z” in which a queen bee becomes human and tries to mate with a man to the brilliant “Demon with a Glass Hand,” which IMO is an SF classic.

The new Outer Limits has its clunkers, too, but I’d say that overall it is some of the finest SF ever broadcast. I really, really hope MGM sees fit to release more than the measly 2 DVDs I already have.

I don’t know what “Reality” you’re living in Chuick :wink:


I bought the 4-disc DVD set of the original Outer Limits (so stated on the package. I guess it’s just the first four seasons), thinking I would enjoy it. Turns out it’s just a lot of boring schlock. I do enjoy some of the sounds though.

I was a New Twilight Zone fan.

I bought all 5 seaons of Twilight Zone for the low, low price of 350 bucks :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Was “The Cold Equations” (in which a space pilot must jettison a stow-away) an Outer Limits or a Twilight Zone?

It was Twilight Zone.