The Twilight Zone is a series that pretty much anyone in North America has seen, or at least heard of, and while most people referring to the show are talking about the 1950s series created by Rod Serling, it also had a three-year run in the mid 80s (and a lesser-successful run in 2002). The original series ran for 156 episodes, while the 80s series was on for just 64, telling 110 stories in that time. As with the original series, the show featured a ton of recognizable actors (some who were virtually unknowns at the time).
Image Entertainment has bundled their 2004 and 2005 sets into this 13 disc complete series release. While the original series has been released countless different ways (single discs, "best of" multiple complete series sets on both DVD and Blu-ray), this is the only time the 80s series has been packaged in something other than the original season sets. Is it worth an upgrade? Read on...
I like the key art photo used for the set; a creepy window with an eye behind it in an empty room. Unfortunately that's the only thing I like about it. This packaging screams "cheap, cheap, cheap!" The front of the package is held closed by a cardboard tab inserted into a slit in the side of the package. It's a normal cardboard tab used for packaging, but this is the first time I've seen it used for something that's going to be repeatedly opened and closed; one wrong move and this will be ripped off. The cardboard is all single-thickness, and it's really flimsy.
Carefully opening the package you'll find the disc and episode information printed inside. The DVDs slide out from the left, and this is where the disappointment really hits; this is one of those horribly-cheap vacuformed plastic trays that stack the 13 discs one on top of the other. I've gotten many emails about this packaging from consumers, and they all hate it. Now, I understand why companies like Mill Creek use it (their stuff is created for Walmart's discount bins, and the prices are cheap), but I didn't think of this set as being "discount" until I saw the packaging that was used.
These 13 discs are exactly the same as the previous season sets, just with new artwork to match the complete series packaging. You'll find the same episodes, and same bonus material on the discs.
To Upgrade, or Not to Upgrade?
There's absolutely no reason to upgrade to this complete series set if you already own the season sets. The season sets used slim trays that were popular back then (the same ones used for Star Trek: Voyager), and the sets came with a nice booklet that contained the episode names, synopsis, actor/writer/director information, and a list of any bonus material. The new set just has the episode title, the name of a guest star (if they were known), and any bonus material associated with the episode.
Right now the complete series sells for $49.98 on Amazon.com ($10 off the suggested price of $59.98). However, the two season sets are selling for $33.99 each ($36 off the suggested price of $69.99 each), which complicates things for people looking to buy the show for the first time. Is it better to pay $49.98 for the complete series with cheap packaging, or $67.98 for both seasons in packaging that will stand up (mine are fine after 10 years). That's a question that only you can answer. Of course you could also pick up the complete series and buy a new case to put the set in, though that would require some work on your part.
While I find the content to be good (though not as good as the original), I'm really disappointed that Image Entertainment delivered such a poorly packaged set, especially after they keep delivering such high-quality releases for the original series.