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Despite major changes in personnel and the ill-advised switch to a full-hour format, Twilight Zone (with "The" removed from its title) began its fourth season on a promising note. Written by series veteran Charles Beaumont, the premiere episode "In His Image" maintained the high standards that Rod Serling had established throughout the first three seasons, and the story--about a man (George Grizzard) who builds an exact robot replica of himself, with dire consequences--fit well into the hour-long format that Serling reluctantly went along with. Twilight Zone struggled with its expanded length, resulting in some episodes that lack the consistent punch of earlier half-hour episodes. Exhausted by three seasons of prodigious creativity, Serling and Buck Houghton vacated their roles as producers (with Serling's involvement limited to script feedback, writing nearly half of the season's episodes, and on-screen hosting), and TV veteran Herbert Hirschman became the new show-runner (departing mid-season, he was replaced by Bert Granet), promising not to tinker with the series' proven success. But Twilight Zone was inevitably becoming a shadow of its former self, and the involvement of proven TZ writers like Richard Matheson, Earl Hamner, Jr., and Beaumont could not entirely compensate for Serling's growing detachment. Still, these 18 episodes include some fine examples of enduring quality, such as Matheson's "Death Ship," starring Jack Klugman and Ross Martin in a recurring nightmare scenario, and featuring the same spaceship model used in the 1956 sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet. Beaumont's "Miniature," starring Robert Duvall, was the only hour-long episode pulled from initial syndication (due to a plagiarism lawsuit that was ultimately dismissed), so its inclusion here (along with color scenes from its eventual syndication) is a welcome treat. Serling lampoons the medium of television with "The Bard" (with an early appearance by Burt Reynolds), and his teleplay for "On Thursday We Leave for Home" is the season's highlight, ranking among Twilight Zone's finest science-fiction episodes. It remained clear, however, that Twilight Zone was past its prime, and when the series was renewed for a fifth season in the spring of 1963, a return to its original half-hour format was a belated step in the right direction. Of course, season 4's overall strengths and weaknesses won't matter to collectors of The Definitive Edition DVD sets, and a wealth of archival bonus features make this a must-have addition to anyone's TZ collection. Image Entertainment and features producer Paul Browstein deserve extra credit for their diligent assembly of supplements that render all previous TZ releases virtually obsolete. Nothing has been overlooked, from the commentary (on "Death Ship") and interview clips by acclaimed TZ expert Mark Scott Zicree to the inclusion of a vintage TZ spoof from Saturday Night Live, radio-show adaptations starring Blair Underwood, Jason Alexander, Lou Diamond Phillips and others, and a vintage Twilight Zone comic book, accessible on computers with Adobe reader installed. There's even a brief Rod Serling blooper taken from a scratchy 16-millimeter print, proving that no stone was left unturned in making this a truly definitive TZ collection.

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Special Features Remastered from new high-definition film transfers using the original camera negatives and magnetic soundtracks Audio Commentaries by Marc Scott Zicree ("Death Ship") and William Windom ("Miniature") Excerpts of Marc Scott Zicree's interviews with Ross Martin, Burgess Meredith, Pat Hingle, and more Isolated Music Scores featuring Fred Steiner, Van Cleave, and more Video Interviews with Morgan Brittany, Anne Francis, Paul Comi and John Furia Rod Serling Promos for "Next Week's" Show Rod Serling Blooper Color Scenes from the syndicated version of "Miniature" The Famous Writers School Promo Spot with Rod Serling Genesee Beer Promo Spot Saturday Night Live Clip Twilight Zone Radio Shows Twilight Zone Season 4 Billboards and Photo Gallery Twilight Zone Comic Book (DVD-rom Feature)

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ID6425CU Twilight Zone: The Definitive Edition - Season 4 Blu Ray DVD (1962) $99.99 $79.99