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The second season of Night Gallery offers 22 more terror-filled tours for those "whose tastes in art run lean towards the bizarre," as host Rod Serling described its viewership; a wealth of extras spread across the set also makes this sophomore journey into darkness a worthwhile one for series devotees and TV horror fans in general. Though Serling was the face and frequent author of Night Gallery's episodes, his creative control over the series was fading by the second season (1971-1972); frequent clashes between Serling, the network and producer Jack Laird over the tone and direction of the show left the acclaimed television scribe feeling powerless over a series that used his Twilight Zone pedigree as its calling card. And while the hit-and-miss nature of the second season is unquestionable--episodes like "The Flip Side of Satan," "Professor Peabody's Last Lecture" and "Hell's Bells" are embarrassingly bad, as are Laird's short comic vignettes--but there are an equal number of terrific and memorable stories to be found in the set as well. Chief among them is the Serling-penned "The Caterpillar," a gruesome tale of revenge that stands as one of the most horrifying tales ever presented on television; Serling also provided the moving Christmas fable "The Messiah on Mott Street," which features one of Edward G. Robinson's last screen appearances, as well as "Class of '99" with Vincent Price and "The Academy," with a surprising and effective turn against type for Pat Boone. Other standouts include two H.P. Lovecraft adaptations, "Cool Air" and "Pickman's Model," and "Silent Snow, Secret Snow," which earns its chills from a combination of dreamlike visuals and narration by Orson Welles. For a show disregarded by critics and fans of Serling's early work (as well as by the man himself) the second season of Night Gallery offers more than its share of small-screen scares. Nearly all of the 22 episodes from Night Gallery's second season are contained in this five-disc set; two comic shorts, "Witches' Feast" and "Satisfaction Guaranteed," are missing or presented incomplete, respectively, though their absence has little to no impact on the set's value. Scott Skelton and Jim Benson, authors of the invaluable companion guide Rod Serling's Night Gallery: An After Hours Tour, provide a wealth of background information on the show in audio commentaries on three episodes, while director Guillermo Del Toro (Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth) discusses the show's influence on his work in fascinating detail on three additional episodes. Revisiting The Gallery: A Look Back is a half-hour featurette that includes interviews with show contributors ranging from director John Badham and theme composer Gil Melle to actress Lindsay Wagner, while Art Gallery offers a glimpse at the show's evocative paintings with commentary by their creator, artist Tom Wright. A small battery of TV promos for the show round out the exemplary set, which should please fans who were disappointed by the lack of material in the first season presentation.

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MC01070 Night Gallery Season 2 DVD (1971) $34.98 $31.49