Outer Limits: New Series
Sex And Science Fiction

Outer Limits: New Series Sex And Science Fiction

The main themes in Outer Limits: New Series
Sex And Science Fiction are nicely varied

Outer Limits: New Series Sex And Science Fiction

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Outer Limits: New Series Sex And Science Fiction

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One of my all time favorite television shows while I was growing up was this series. One night, years ago, I was surfing the cable stations and much to my delight, Showtime had new episodes of this classic show.

Of course, considering the show was now on premium cable, in the nineties and freed of many of the constrains imposed by broadcast standards, the show was now able to explore different themes in a much more adult manner. MGM/UA has released not only the entire first season of the original series but two theme oriented compilation discs of the new series. One of these sets is Outer Limits : The New Series: Sex And Science Fiction.

Now, the episodes chosen for this set are not on the same level as many soft-core television popular on late night cable. Instead, the episodes probe imaginative science fiction themes in a more mature fashion. In al there are six episodes presented here. They cover the six years that the series existed on cable. The main themes in this collection are nicely varied although they all have some aspect of human sexuality at their core. For example, there is ‘Human Operators’, a tale of a young man (Jack Noseworthy) living on a senescent space ship. His life’s entire purpose is to keep his ship, his master, in good working order. One day he is forced into a reproductive role with the introduction of another human operator (Polly Shannon). Along with this natural act of human connection comes a yearning for freedom and self-determination. Then there is Valerie-23, about a physically challenged man (William Sadler) who is chosen to beta test a new ‘artificial human, Valerie-23 (Sofia Shinas). Valerie becomes overly attached to her human and what follows is a cross between Robocop and Fatal Attraction. Freed from the limitations of broadcast Standards and Practices, the new Outer Limits is able to go deeper into the motivations of human behavior and this resulted in a much more intense series. Still, with all the changes possible the new series never lost sight of the mandate of the original series. They still sought to present material that might never be acceptable and coat it in science fiction. By doing this the producers of this show look at social issues without forgetting to actually entertain the audience. This is the charm of the Outer Limits. They actually live up to what their opening voice promises, to take you where you may have never imagined. In this collection there are some explicit scenes but the integrity that made the Outer Limits so popular is never lost.

There are many excellent performances presented in this collection. As with the original series, Outer Limits: New Series Sex And Science Fiction anthology series was able to attract actors committed to turning in their best. In ‘Bits of Love’ Natasha Henstridge (Species) plays a computer-generated hologram programmed to organize the life of the last survivor of a cataclysmic disaster. She successfully balances portraying a computer program while allowing the human emotions of her programmers to come through. Then there is notable TV actress Alyssa Milano in ‘Caught in the Act’. Here she plays a young college student, a young woman that wants to wait before having sex. She is inhabited by an extraterrestrial life form that turns her in to a seductive killer. Milano takes this role and is able to show the internal conflict that was catalyzed by the creature within but that only reveals her own hidden concerns. Performances like these make each 45-minute episode of Outer Limits: New Series Sex And Science Fiction into small movies complete with story arcs depth and realism amidst the unreal.

There are six directors represented in the Outer Limits: New Series Sex And Science Fiction collection. Each has his own style and methods but each maintains a consistent dedication to maintaining the standards set by this series. Most of the directors have not forayed into the world of feature films yet after being a fan of the Outer Limits I have not doubts what so ever that they could handle the challenge. Brad Turner represents a director often used by the producers of the Outer Limits. He also directed the two films on Showtime revolving around cases in the Post Office Inspector’s office. Turner is excellent at juxtaposing such human traits as responsibility, desire, companionship and loneliness. He is at his best when he shows reasonable people caught in unreasonable circumstances. Jeff Woolnough is another director that has taken the helm of many episodes of the new Outer Limits. Like his fellow directors here he brings out the human qualities of his actor’s characters. This vision is what all the directors, writers and producers have in common. They have the ability to permit the audience to connect with the characters and feel as if the often impossible events depicted are possible. One departure from the original Outer Limits series is often the endings are a bit on the dark side. Things don’t always wind up with the happy Hollywood ending many are used to.

The Outer Limits: New Series Sex And Science Fiction DVD is excellent. While the Dolby Surround and full screen presentation reveal the cable television origins, they are well done. The sound field is not the greatest, possessing only a hint of stereo separation but to me this only harkened back to what I enjoyed about the original series. The focus is on the stories not the audio/video technology. The video shows a marked improvement with the later episodes. There is little in the way of what most expect for extras but what there is well done. There is a little 10 to 15 minute discussion presented as a companion to each episode. The cast and crew discuss what vision they had for the material and provide a bit if insight to how the task was accomplished. I have to admit I would have preferred the current DVD trend of complete seasons to be used with Outer Limits: New Series Sex And Science Fiction. I hope that MGM is only testing the waters for the new series here with full seasons in store for the future. Even with that said the Outer Limits: New Series Sex And Science Fiction collection is not only worth having for the Outer Limits fan but it is an excellent introduction for those that are unfamiliar to the series. The Outer Limits: New Series Sex And Science Fiction disc deserves a place in any serious collection.

Movie Review of Outer Limits: New Series Sex And Science Fiction
by Doug MacLean of hometheaterinfo.com

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