DVD review: 'The Twilight Zone' Season 4 (Blu-ray)
The fourth season of television’s most imaginative anthology series would open with a new voice-over introduction from creator Rod Serling: “You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension: a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over into … the Twilight Zone.”
Trouble was, CBS withheld the key from eager viewers for half of the first-run season, fiunally reopening the door on Thursday, Jan. 3, 1963, to reveal a new hourlong version of TZ’s science fiction, fantasy and the supernatural. After three groundbreaking years of deservedly out-of-this-world success, Friday night’s most feverishly anticipated half-hour had been inflated and moved to replace the canceled and now long-forgotten hourlong comedy series, “Fair Exchange.”
Serling protested that his was “the perfect half-hour show,” tailored to the kind of rapid suspense buildup and spring-loaded twist ending that marked the stories he and shock-meisters such as Richard Matheson and Charles Beaumont were capable of crafting. And he was mostly right. Many of the fourth season’s episodes were obviously padded and drawn out, “soap opera style” as he called it.
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