The Outer Limits (1995 TV series)
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|The Outer Limits (1995)|
The Outer Limits intertitle
|Narrated by||Kevin Conway (control voice)|
|Country of origin||United States
|No. of seasons||7|
|No. of episodes||154 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||43–44 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Alliance Atlantis Communications
Trilogy Entertainment Group
CanWest Global Communications
Global Television Network
The Movie Network
|Distributor||MGM Worldwide Television|
Showtime (1995–2000)Sci Fi (2001–2002)
|Audio format||Dolby Surround 2.0|
|Original run||March 26, 1995 – January 18, 2002|
The Outer Limits is a US-Canadian 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 from 1963 to 1965.
Distinct from The Twilight Zone in that the stories were science fiction based only, and not fantasy/science fiction as was the case with The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits is an anthology of distinct story episodes, sometimes with a plot 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. Currently, the Chiller network airs two episodes daily starting at 6 a.m. U.S. Eastern time and also airs multiple episode blocks on an infrequent basis. 152 Episodes of the series are currently available on demand online through Hulu.
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, The X-Files and anthology shows such as Tales from the Crypt convinced rights holder Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer 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. 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), "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.
The series was filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia. Stories by Harlan Ellison, A. E. van Vogt, Eando Binder, Larry Niven, Richard Matheson, George R. R. Martin, Stephen King, and James Patrick Kelly were adapted with varying degrees of success, including Sci Fi airings. The series contained an underlying story arc about mysterious or extraterrestrial forces, including open-ended storylines that were related to each other in the clip shows at the end of the season.
Most episodes in the modern series featured actors with name recognition from their previous film and TV work. Actors in notable roles included Tom Arnold, Beau Bridges, Josh Brolin, Jon Cryer, Nicole de Boer, Michael Dorn, Kirsten Dunst, Nathan Fillion, Michelle Forbes, Melissa Gilbert, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Heather Graham, Mark Hamill, Neil Patrick Harris, Laurie Holden, Jack Klugman, Howie Mandel, Alyssa Milano, Kandyse McClure, Pat Morita, Leonard Nimoy, Catherine O'Hara, Robert Patrick, David Hyde Pierce, Amanda Plummer, Natasha Henstridge, Ryan Reynolds, Molly Ringwald, William B. Davis, William Sadler, Ally Sheedy, Brent Spiner, Jessica Steen, Mario Van Peebles and Wil Wheaton.
Leslie Stevens was a program consultant for the first season while Joseph Stefano was an executive consultant. Stefano also remade his episode "A Feasibility Study," retitling it "Feasibility Study" for the third season. He later served as a senior advisor on the episode "Down to Earth" during the sixth season. Mark Mancina and John Van Tongeren composed new music different from that of Dominic Frontiere and Harry Lubin. They also scored ten episodes for the first season. The musical theme for the modern Outer Limits series is credited to Mark Mancina and John VanTongeren. However, the same music is used in The Ambush, a theme in Dune 2000's soundtrack.
In most seasons there was a clip show that intertwines the plots of several of the show's episodes (see "The Voice of Reason" for an example). At each commercial interval, the Control Voice can be heard saying "The Outer Limits...please stand by". The voice also repeats this phrase upon return from the television ads. The surreal images from the opening are mostly the work of Jerry Uelsmann.
Six themed DVD anthologies with 6 episodes each have been released: Aliens Among Us, Death and Beyond, Fantastic Androids and Robots, Mutation and Transformation, Sex & Science Fiction, 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.
|DVD name||Ep#||Release date|
|The Complete First Season||22||May 4, 2010|
|The Complete Second Season||22||May 4, 2010|
|The Complete Third Season||18||June 1, 2010|
|The Complete Fourth Season||26||July 6, 2010|
|The Complete Fifth Season||22||August 3, 2010|
|The Complete Sixth Season||22||September 7, 2010|
|The Complete Seventh and Final Season||22||October 5, 2010|
TGG Direct released the seventh season on December 3, 2013. The 5-disc set is called The Outer Limits: The Final Season.
|DVD name||Ep#||Release date|
|The Final Season||22||December 3, 2013|
- "MGM Worldwide Television and Trilogy Entertainment Group enter exclusive, multiyear television deal.". 1997-02-07.
- "Speakers – Toronto Screenwriting Conference". 2011.
- "Pen Densham". Retrieved 2011.
- "Internet Movie Database: Wil Wheaton". Retrieved 2013.
- "The Outer Limits Trivia Facts". Retrieved 2013.
- "All DVD reviews by Gord Lacey". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved 2012-08-17.
- The Outer Limits at the Internet Movie Database
- "The Outer Limits Season 7 (SCI FI Original Episodes)". Official site (Sci Fi Channel). Archived from the original on February 19, 2003.