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DVD REVIEW
THE TWILIGHT ZONE: THE DEFINITIVE EDITION SEASON ONE
By Tony Albarella

Finally, fans of The Twilight Zone and Rod Serling have reason to rejoice. After multiple and mostly redundant DVD releases, Image Entertainment has given the original series the treatment it deserves: the aptly named "Definitive Edition" set. The first of these fantastic new transfers is currently available; the remaining four seasonal releases will be out by the end of this year. Remastered episodes and a wealth of extras are primary reasons to again take a trip into the land of shadow and substance.

The initial box set includes all thirty-six episodes (15.5 hours of programming) of the show's inaugural season. At long last, the series can be viewed as it was five decades ago; in airdate order, complete with commercial bumpers and Serling's "Next Week" promo spots. The prints are remastered from high-definition film transfers of original camera negatives and look spectacular. The rich black-and-white palette - an integral part of the show's film noir look - is stark and clear, with none of the digital artifacts that plagued previous releases.

The soundtracks also enjoy a necessary overhaul. While the audio can't compete with modern films in terms of surround sound, peripheral background noises and dialogue add a sense of presence that is quite unexpected from a television show nearly a half-century old. Brilliant musical scores by composers such as Bernard Herrmann and Jerry Goldsmith, another trademark of the show, enjoy newfound depth, resonance and clarity.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the release is the veritable treasure chest of supplemental material. Newly recorded audio commentaries by several of the series' stars - and vintage audio recollections featuring cast and crew, many of whom have since passed away - add priceless insight and enrichment to multiple viewings. The packaging includes a shrunken version of THE TWILIGHT ZONE COMPANION as well as an insert for Gauntlet Press' AS TIMELESS AS INFINITY, a comprehensive new book series of Serling's Twilight Zone scripts.

Lastly, a bonus disc includes the uncut pilot episode (complete with three different audio commentary tracks), Serling's network and syndication sales pitches, a segment featuring Rod as host of the 70's game show The Liar's Club, a Serling outtake, a photo gallery, clips of various Twilight Zone-related Emmy Award ceremony acceptance speeches, a radio dramatization, original sponsor billboards and more.

If you haven't yet invested in a Twilight Zone DVD collection, now is certainly the time to do so. If you've already taken the plunge, this edition (despite a steep retail price) gives you more than enough reason to upgrade. (Season two, slated for release on March 29th, boasts a reduced list price.) If Image Entertainment can maintain the quality of treatment and quantity of extras presented in season one, late March - and indeed, the rest of the year - can't arrive soon enough.