Trivia: The Outer Limits

  • Billing Displacement: When the series was released on VHS, the tape packages sometimes gave top billing to well-known actors who played supporting characters (such as Edward Asner in "It Crawled Out of the Woodwork" and Happy Days' Marion Ross in "The Special One").
  • Clifford Simak: His short story "Goodnight, Mr. James" was adapted as "The Duplicate Man".
  • Creator Backlash: David J. Schow's The Outer Limits Companion makes it clear that several contributors weren't universally pleased with how episodes turned out, most notably director Byron Haskin with "Behold, Eck!". (As Haskin said in the Companion: "It was an alleged comedy that was just a bomb. They laid that script in my hands; I got one sniff of it and damn near fainted".) Also affected were writers Meyer Dolinsky and Sonya Roberts with "ZZZZZ" and "Second Chance" respectively (the latter two had their scripts changed by rewrites they didn't do, with Miss Roberts taking her name off the finished product in favour of a pseudonym). And then there was "The Invisible Enemy", a Troubled Production due to difficult special effects and multiple rewrites mandated by Executive Meddling. (Schow summed up the episode: "[N]othing cripples a show so much as the producer, story editor, director and writer all hating it.")
    • Harlan Ellison, a writer of two episodes for the second season, notably dismissed the entire first season as crap.
    "The first season, I thought, was garbage, the usual monster bullshit. They were doing 'the bear on the beach', in which you open with a bear on a beach, then you ask how the bear got on the beach. It was a lot of funny rubber masks, and basically silly ideas. Until Brady came in, there were no science fiction writers working for the show. In the second season, nobody paid any attention to what we were doing: nothing was left for production, so they left us alone to do what we wanted, and we were able to do scripts that were considerably more complex. We were allowed to experiment, because after Daystar and Villa di Stefano and everyone else had taken their cuts, nobody had an eye on us, and the ratings were already so low that no one gave a damn. And that's how the best stuff gets on - absolutely by accident. It slips through when no one's looking."
    • He also expressed dissatisfaction with how his episode "Soldier" turned out.
    "In TV they don't understand the subtleties of character. When a script runs long, or has production problems, the first things cut are the scenes that deepen characterization. Those changes tore the gut out of that show. That's why, for me, it's a less attractive or interesting show than 'Demon With a Glass Hand.' One of the things that pissed me off was Qarlo's serial number, which for some inexplicable reason was changed to serial letters, which is stupid. You can't have an army with serial letters because there are fewer combinations, but they did that because they thought they were being very modern, very futuristic. And I had nothing to say about it, because by then I was off writing 'Demon.'"
  • Dueling Shows: With The Twilight Zone, though both were in production only during Twilight Zone's final season. In the end, Twilight Zone lasted for five years while The Outer Limits ended after two. On the other hand, the 1990s revival of The Outer Limits lasted nearly twice as long as both revivals of The Twilight Zone combined.
  • Franchise Killer: The original series was abruptly cancelled mid-way through the second season due to poor ratings, although it would gain another life in syndicated reruns, and get a long running revival series decades later.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!:
  • Prop Recycling: Happens often in the original series. Even some of the alien costumes were reused, both in The Outer Limits itself and other shows (such as Star Trek: The Original Series).
  • Similarly Named Works: Although some of the revival episodes (like "A Feasibility Study" and "The Inheritors") are remakes of TOS episodes, "The Human Factor" is not one of them. it has the same title as a TOS episode, but a completely unrelated story.
  • Vindicated by Cable: The first season was fairly popular in its day, but season 2's hit or miss quality (along with a fatal timeslot change) caused it to take a nosedive and be cancelled. Fortunately, the show managed to gain a decades-long life and recognition in syndicated reruns.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The 1998 version of The Outer Limits Companion includes an appendix which provides detailed plot synopses of TOS scripts and premises that were never filmed. It also has details on rewritten and Deleted Scenes from the finished episodes, such as "The Man Who Was Never Born" originally ending on a much more upbeat, if still bittersweet, note, but changed due to time constraints.
    • "The Forms Of Things Unknown" was written by Joseph Stefano with one eye on making it his directorial debut, but it ended up being helmed by Gerd Oswald (Stefano's only directorial effort came after he left the series, with the unsold pilot The Ghost Of Sierra De Cobre).