The Outer Limits is an American television series that aired on ABC from 1963 to 1965. The series is similar in style to the earlier The Twilight Zone, but with a greater emphasis on science fiction, rather than fantasy stories. The Outer Limits is an anthology of discrete story episodes, sometimes with a plot twist at the end.The series was revived in 1995, airing on Showtime from 1995–1999, then on Sci-Fi Channel from 1999 until its cancellation in 2002. In 1997, the episode "The Zanti Misfits" was ranked #98 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time. All 49 episodes of the original series are available on Hulu.
Like The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits had an opening and closing narration in almost every episode, by the 'Control Voice' (Vic Perrin). Both shows were unusually philosophical for science-fiction anthology series, but differed in style. The Twilight Zone stories were often like parables, employing whimsy (such as the Buster Keaton time-travel episode "Once Upon a Time") or irony, or extraordinary problem-solving situations (such as the episode "The Arrival").
The Outer Limits was usually a straight action-and-suspense show which often had the human spirit in confrontation with dark existential forces from within or without, such as in the alien abduction episode "A Feasibility Study" or the alien possession story "The Invisibles". As well, The Outer Limits was known for its moody, textured look in many episodes (especially those directed by Byron Haskin or Gerd Oswald, or photographed by Conrad Hall) whereas The Twilight Zone tended to be shot more conventionally—although there are, of course, notable exceptions to these rules of thumb on both series.However, there is some common ground between certain episodes of the two shows. As Schow & Frentzen, the authors of The Outer Limits: The Official Companion, have noted, several Outer Limits episodes are often misremembered by casual fans as having been Twilight Zone episodes, notably such "problem solving" episodes as "Fun and Games" or "The Premonition".
A few of the monsters reappeared in Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek series later in the 1960s. A prop head from "Fun and Games" was used in Star Trek to make a Talosian appear as a vicious creature. The moving microbe beast in "The Probe" later was used as the 'Horta' in "The Devil in the Dark", and operated by the same actor (Janos Prohaska). The process used to make pointed ears for David McCallum in "The Sixth Finger" was reused in Star Trek as well. The 'ion storm' seen in "The Mutant" (a projector beam shining through a container containing glitter in liquid suspension) became the transporter effect in Trek.
The black mask from "The Duplicate Man", is used by the character Dr. Leighton in "The Conscience of the King". The Megazoid, from The Duplicate Man, was seen briefly near Captain Christopher Pike in the first Star Trek pilot "The Cage".Actors who would later appear in Star Trek included Leonard Nimoy who appeared in two episodes ("Production and Decay of Strange Particles" and "I, Robot") and William Shatner appeared (in the episode "Cold Hands, Warm Heart") as an astronaut working on a Project Vulcan. Other actors who subsequently appeared in Star Trek were James Doohan in a supporting role as a policeman in "Expanding Human", and Grace Lee Whitney in the episode "Controlled Experiment".
Each show would begin with either a cold open or a preview clip, followed by a "Control Voice" narration that was played over visuals of an oscilloscope. The earlier and longer version of the narration ran as follows.
" There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to... The Outer Limits. — Opening narration – The Control Voice – 1960s"
Later episodes used one of two shortened versions of this introduction. The first few episodes began simply with the title screen followed by the narration and no cold open or preview clip.
The Outer Limits is an American television series that originally aired on Showtime, the Sci Fi Channel and in syndication between 1995 and 2002. The series is a revival of the original The Outer Limits series that aired in the 1960s. Similar in style to The Twilight Zone with more science fiction than fantasy stories, The Outer Limits is an anthology of distinct story episodes, sometimes with aplot twist at the end. Unlike the original incarnation of the series, which was a pure anthology with each episode completely unrelated to the others, the revival series maintained an anthology format, but occasionally featured recurring story elements that were often tied together during season-finale clip shows. Over the course of the series, 154 episodes were aired.
After an attempt to bring back The Outer Limits during the early eighties, it was finally relaunched in 1995. The success of television science fiction such as Star Trek spin-offs, and The X-Files, and anthology shows such as Tales from the Crypt, convinced the rights-holders, MGM, to revive The Outer Limits. A deal was made with Trilogy Productions, the company behind such cinema hits as Backdraft and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and the show would run on the pay-tv channel Showtime (Trilogy, an LA and Canada based company is credited with creating the 1995 series). The episodes appeared in syndication the following season (the same arrangement as MGM/Showtime series Stargate SG-1 and Poltergeist: The Legacy).
It continued on Showtime until 2001, when Sci Fi quietly took over production. It remained in production until 2002 before finally being canceled, after a total of 154 episodes—far more than the original incarnation of the show. In the revived show, the Control Voice was supplied by Kevin Conway. The new series distanced itself from the "monster of the week" mandate that had characterized the original series from its inception; while there were plenty of aliens and monsters, they dramatize a specific scientific concept and its effect on humanity. Some episodes illustrating this difference include "Dark Rain" (biochemical warfare causes worldwide sterility), "Final Exam" (discovery of practical cold fusion power), "A Stitch in Time" (a time traveler tinkers with history), as well as several episodes revolving around a human mutation known as Genetic Rejection Syndrome (humans mutating into violent creatures) as a result of a government experiment.
Several "grab bag" DVD anthologies have been released: Sex & Science Fiction, Aliens Among Us, Death and Beyond, Fantastic Androids and Robots, Mutation and Transformation, Time Travel and Infinity.On November 1, 2005, MGM Home Entertainment released Season One of the New Outer Limits on DVD in North America. Because sales of the set could not meet MGM's expectations, no further seasons were released.Alliance Home Entertainment has released all seven seasons of The Outer Limits on DVD in Region 1 (Canada only). Some shots containing nudity have been trimmed or replaced, but not all episodes in these releases were censored that way.