Although The Outer Limits lasted only two seasons in the middle of the 1960's its influence is still being felt today. Because it was an anthology series it is often compared to The Twilight Zone but while Rod Serling's brainchild often relied on 'sing in the tail' conclusions The Outer Limits was much more interested in creating strong science fiction stories that could have easily been feature films. With it's hour long running time the show could stretch out to spin large, detailed and complicated tales with multifaceted characters and complex motivations. The best episodes combined strong acting, great storytelling and absorbing ideas to build stories that would stay with the viewer for decades. Even the least effective entries were capable of bringing new things to television whether it be a strange special effect or a concept so dark that most TV would have to shy away for fear of a backlash. Great science fiction often uses the tropes of the genre to comment on contemporary problems and The Outer Limits certainly qualifies.
For our latest podcast artist Mark Maddox joins me to talk about this fine television show. It made a deep impression on both of us, coloring the ways in which we enjoy science fiction film and TV to this day. We discuss some of our favorite episodes; what made them effective; what elements stood out on first viewing as well as things that stick in the memory over time. Mark relates the chore he had a young man trying to see the show at a time when there was only one television in the house and everyone had to compromise on which program would be watched. We talk about the various monsters the show featured as well as the smart cost cutting ways the producers found to fool the eye and broaden the limited visual scope possible on a TV budget. I also babble on a bit about the incredible photography of the show which I think rivals what was being done in big budgeted films of the time. This might well be ground zero for the idea of sci-fi noir! The Outer Limits is a show that accomplished a lot with meager means and still stacks up today as one of the best SF series ever made.
Comments and suggestions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org in either typed or MP3 form. We'd love to hear from you. What are your favorite episodes of The Outer Limits? What is the scariest of the show's monsters? Are there episodes that we love that you think are bad? Let us know! And if you would like to help us out there is a donate button on the right side of the blog page - feel free to click it and send a couple of bucks our way. Thank you for checking out the show! Mark and I will return later this summer with another show on 1960's television - if we can stay on topic.