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With: Charles Bronson, Elizabeth Montgomery, Jack Klugman, Jonathan Winters, Peter Falk, Lee Marvin, Billy Mumy, Buster Keaton, Dean Stockwell, Robert Redford, James Best, Theodore Bikel, Andy Devine, Cliff Robertson, Carol Burnett, Donald Pleasence, Harold J. Stone, Larry Gates, Joanne Linville, Oscar Beregi Jr., Lois Nettelton, Gary Merrill, John Dehner, William Windom, Susan Harrison, Gladys Cooper, Joseph Wiseman, Warren Stevens, Arthur Hunnicutt, Larry Blyden, Ernest Truex, Barry Morse, J. Pat O'Malley, Richard Long, Joe Maross, Joseph Schildkraut, Alma Platt, Geoffrey Horne, Alex Nicol, Josephine Hutchinson, Jesse White
Written by: Rod Serling, Richard Matheson, Charles Beaumont, Montgomery Pittman, George Clayton Johnson, Ray Bradbury, etc.
Directed by: Montgomery Pittman, Boris Sagal, Lamont Johnson, Elliot Silverstein, Buzz Kulik, Don Medford, James Sheldon, Anton Leader, William Claxton, Norman Z. McLeod, Les Goodwins, Harold Schuster, Christian Nyby, David Greene, Richard L. Bare, Paul Stewart, John Brahm, Allen H. Miner, Abner Biberman, Robert Ellis Miller
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 930
Date: 19/03/2013
IMDB

The Twilight Zone: Season 3 (1961)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Dimension of Mind

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

For some reason I have only ever been able to watch "The Twilight Zone" when I was sick. When I was a kid, I was home from school for three days and found the show on TV during the daylight hours, which seemed wrong, but I devoured one episode each day. Years later, in college, I was sick over a long weekend when a local TV station played a three-day "Twilight Zone" marathon. I watched as many as I could, lying on the couch. Now, finally, a Blu-Ray box set has arrived, including all 36 episodes of the show's third season, and I have time enough at last.

What more can I say about this show, other than it belongs in my personal list of the top 5 television shows, ever? (Alongside "The Simpsons" and "The Sopranos," at least.) It was uncommonly intelligent, even poetic. The stories were dark and cynical and didn't care a whit about coddling viewers or restoring order in the universe. The events in these shows happened to innocent people, for no reason. And perhaps, sometimes, those people weren't so innocent at all. Perhaps none of us is innocent.

The major drawback of "Season Three" is that the show's greatest, most memorable episodes are spread out evenly over five seasons, and most likely you'll find yourself remembering and wanting to see one that isn't here. But what is here is pretty great. There's "It's a Good Life," with Billy Mumy as the creepy kid that can make anything happen; it's often considered one of the two or three very best episodes. There's "The Midnight Sun," an powerful episode about how the earth begins drifting closer to the sun, with a striking actress called Lois Nettleton. There's "To Serve Man," a famous episode that was already parodied on "The Simpsons." Does everyone know the ending to this one already? And then there's "Kick the Can" about a group of old folks who have lost their way in an old folks' home. Steven Spielberg remade this one for the 1983 anthology movie, but this original is much better. My favorite from this season has to be the offbeat "Five Characters in Search of an Exit," which had me totally baffled until the conclusion.

Incredibly, Serling wrote most of the episodes himself, revealing an imagination and a high-quality output that most genre novelists could never match. Other great writers, such as Charles Beaumont and Richard Matheson, also chipped in. Actors in this first season include Charles Bronson, Elizabeth Montgomery, Jack Klugman, Jonathan Winters, Peter Falk, Lee Marvin, Billy Mumy, Buster Keaton, Dean Stockwell, Robert Redford, James Best, Theodore Bikel, Andy Devine, Cliff Robertson, Carol Burnett, and Donald Pleasence.

Extras on this Blu-Ray set include a bunch of commentary tracks (19 of them brand-new), isolated music scores (some of them by Bernard Herrmann), interviews, promos, radio dramas, an optional laugh track (!) and plenty of other stuff.

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