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YMMV / The Outer Limits (1963)

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  • Archive Panic: 49 episodes, each running around 50 minutes. It takes 30 hours and 50 minutes, or well over a full day, to watch the entire B&W series.
  • Awesome Music:
    • The series' first season had impressive orchestrated scores by Dominic Frontiere, especially for episodes like "The Galaxy Being" (which created music cues frequently used throughout the series), the transformation sequence in "The Sixth Finger", and whenever the telepathic power manifests in "The Man With the Power". The climax of the stirring strings used to represent Harold J Finley's powers was used in, "It Crawled Out Of The Woodwork", during the first two times the energy cloud of 'that' episode appears as a cheeky nod to the energy cloud in 'Man With The Power'.
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    • The positively eerie opening theme of Season 1, which became a recurring Leitmotif through its episodes. The second season ditched the lavish orchestrated scores for more standard sci-fi fare, but the second opening jingle is still pretty memorable.
    • The second season ending theme is melodic and melancholy, but just as eerie.
    • And the heart-wrenching, inspiring music that plays in the last scene of "A Feasibility Study" as everyone in town joins hands to perform a Heroic Sacrifice. It got reused in a couple of other episodes, too.
    • The consensus on Harry Lubin, who replaced Frontiere for season 2, is that his scores overuse the Theremin. However, Lubin has his moments, such as the atmospheric, piano-driven music for "Demon With a Glass Hand" and the pretty, flute-like melody heard in "The Duplicate Man".
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  • Bizarro Episode: "Controlled Experiment" is an oddball of the first season due to its unusual comedic tone. The second season's "Behold, Eck!" is another attempt at a humorous episode, but most fans agree it's not as funny as its predecessor; between the script and the performances, it's hard to tell that it's supposed to be a comedy.
  • Cult Classic
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: The original design for the ghost of Private Gordon in "The Human Factor", nicknamed "Chill Charlie", never appeared in the series proper, but is a surprisingly popular bear of the series, much more than the episode's actual ghost, due to its very, very creepy design. The Outer Limits trading card series even gave Chill Charlie its own distinctive card from Pvt. Gordon's Ghost, and it even got its own model kit released for it!
  • First Installment Wins: The revival may have lasted much longer, but the original series seems to be the one most people remember.
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  • Fight Scene Failure: The climatic fight of "Soldier"; while the villain of the piece makes a frightening entrance before it, the actual fight is so poorly choreographed, that it kills any drama the scene was supposed to have.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Ho Yay/Les Yay: Two episodes feature characters who seem implicitly gay—along with Unfortunate Implications, because said characters are deeply flawed at best.
    • "The Invisibles" features Oliver Fair, the effete aide to an army general, and needy, pathetic misfit Gennero Planetta, who are both collaborating with an Alien Invasion by Puppeteer Parasites. Gennero befriends fellow recruit Luis Spain; when he learns that Luis is a spy sent to stop the infiltration, he responds like a betrayed lover.
      Gennero: When I like somebody, when they trick me, I just want to beat them up and beat them up 'til they're all beat up! I liked you!
    • In "The Bellero Shield", sinister servant Mrs. Dame is very close to her (married) Rich Bitch employer, Judith Bellero. She reacts badly to any criticism of Judith, to the point that she fatally throws Judith's father-in-law down a flight of stairs when he insults her. There's also this line:
      Mrs. Dame: Sometimes, when [Judith] is dreaming, I am there.
  • My Real Daddy: Leslie Stevens created the series, but Joseph Stefano was the man primarily responsible for its noir-ish tone.
  • Narm Charm: Some episodes run on this, most famously "The Zanti Misfits", where the antagonists are oversized alien ants, but the actors play the terror of the scenes so perfectly straight in spite of that, that it made the episode a Cult Classic of sorts.
  • Nightmare Retardant:
    • The Zanti Misfits from the eponymous episode, not merely for the uneven effects but the sheer fact that they're oversized ants with faces making gurgling sounds.
    • The Empyrian from "Second Chance". The actor (Simon Oakland) does his best to make him imposing, but his fur suit appearance and inane dialogue (Simon had to do the "I'll explain later when you're capable of listening to explanations." line 15 times before he could say it without laughing) destroys the scare factor. The original costume for the alien also had a bird like beak, which was considered so ridiculous that they had to remove it for the final film.
    • The Megasoid costume from "The Duplicate Man" reused the Empyrian's facial appliance, restored the beak, and attached the whole thing to what was basically a gorilla costume. The result has been ridiculed by fans ever since.
    • The Venusian from "Cold Hands, Warm Heart". It's an obvious ragdoll puppet floating in a water tank.
    • The eponymous creature of "Behold, Eck!", although it's a Reluctant Monster who probably wasn't meant to be too scary, since it's from one of the only episodes deliberately written to be funny.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Leonard Nimoy in "Production and Decay of Strange Particles". When Nimoy returned in the second season episode "'I, Robot'", he had a much more prominent role.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
  • Seasonal Rot: The second season, while not horrible, was of very uneven quality, due in part to it being moved to a Saturday Night Timeslot against The Jackie Gleason Show, which in turn caused major staffers to leave in protest, and then the production budget was cut even lower than it already was, and they tried to make the show more commercial than before. That the second season was a ratings flop and triggered its cancellation midway shows how well that turned out.
  • Special Effects Failure: It varies a lot. The title character of "The Galaxy Being" still looks fantastic decades later, as do many of the show's effects (Mr. Zeno's teleportation effect in "The Special One," the energy monster in "It Crawled Out of the Woodwork," and many others). But it's heartbreaking when some of the best scripts gets saddled with some of the worst effects of the series: it can be hard for a modern viewer to watch the classic "Demon With a Glass Hand" because the aliens' makeup jobs and costumes just look so pathetically cheap.
    • "The Zanti Misfits" for the most part has excellent stop motion effects for the aliens, but some shots of them, most notably when they're clinging to a person or "crawling" down a wall, are obvious static puppets on strings.
    • "The Man With The Power" has the scene where a rock is lifted into the air by the man's mind, where at several points you can clearly see the strings holding it up.
    • The makeup for Aabel, the shapeshifting alien from "The Children of Spider County", looks fine—as long as you forgive the fact that the show couldn't afford to have his eyes move while he's an alien. But then comes a scene where Aabel is required to talk in alien form, at which point you can no longer ignore that it's just an actor wearing an immobile rubber mask.
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously: In "Second Chance", you can just tell Simon Oakland is doing the best he can to play the role of the silly looking, over dramatic Empyrian with conviction, even in spite of the asinine premise and having to speak dialogue that was so badly written, that even a classically trained actor like him had to do multiple takes before he could say the lines without laughing.
  • Too Good to Last
  • Values Resonance: "O.B.I.T.", with its theme of an all-seeing surveillance device demoralizing its subjects by destroying their privacy and creating an atmosphere of paranoia, is even more relevant in The War on Terror era than when it was new.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The show often achieved impressive effects for a TV show of the time, most famously the Galaxy Being from the eponymous episode and the Energy Cloud in both 'Man With The Power' and its Spiritual Successor 'It Crawled Out Of The Woodwork'.


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