ORBzine - Outer Limits (1963) TV Review

[Season 1 !Season 2 ]

Outer Limits (1963)

Season 1


Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 1, Episode 1] The Galaxy Being
Shown 16 Sep 63

A television engineer (Cliff Robertson - ), working at a small-town US radio station, works on his version of 3-D television. Since this episode was broadcast in monochrome, 3-D would be a major leap forward. However, the engineer manages an even greater achievement - he manages real-time communication with an alien in the Andromeda galaxy!

The alien, a nitrogen-based life-form with no concept of death, manages to communicate in broken English. However, the discussion is interrupted when the engineer's wife takes him off to attend a party.

The alien is somehow teleported to Earth. Is it the first wave of a horrifying invasion, or is the engineer's new friend the victim of an unfortunate accident? At least the SPFX look good, perhaps because of the monochrome instead of in spite of it.

The local cops assume the worst, and call in the military to repell a potential invasion. This all seems quite similar to The Day The Earth Stood Still - but without the subtle Cold War allegory.

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 1, Episode 2] The Hundred Days of the Dragon
Shown 23 Sep 63

An Asian dictator, leader of an unnamed country that is either Red China or North Korea, is on the recieving end of pressure from the US Government. However, his top scientist (Aki Aleong - V: The Series ) has a plan to replace the US President with a duplicate. Then they will replace the VP with James Hong ( Big Trouble in Little China ).

The Vice President begins to suspect that something is wrong. If this show were from the VP's perspective, the result would be a suspenseful version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers . Instead, it is more of a vaguely SciFi version of The Manchurian Candidate.

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 1, Episode 3] The Architects of Fear
Shown 30 Sep 63

The world is on the brink of nuclear war. Some scientists decide that the most logical course of action is to fake an alien invasion, so the humans must unite against the common foe. This may sound familiar to fans of Watchmen . They draw lots, like the Victorian Hydra conspirators in Agents of SHIELD . The lucky winner is selected to be mutated into an alien form, so he can be shot into orbit. The plan is that when he returns from space he will wander around like The Incredible Melting Man , scaring people until the authorities think there is an alien invasion.

Unfortunately the winner is a young man who recently got married. His lonely wife is a curious type, who suspects something is wrong.

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 1, Episode 4] The Man with the Power
Shown 07 Oct 63

A College professor (Donald Pleasance - You Only Live Twice ) has a brain implant that makes him telekinetic. It allows him to control waves in the electromagnetic spectrum ... the invisible force that surrounds every living thing in the universe. Well, it makes a lot more sense than the Midichlorians!

The bad news is that whenever the professor is irritated by someone, his telekinesis manifests a dark side ... Literally, a dark cloud appears and zaps the offender with lightning.

The episode is made or broken by its special effects. Although the dark cloud looks very impressive, even on a modern flatscreen HD Tv, there is a segment when he makes an object levitate when it is clearly suspended on wires. The real cofusion is over how the film-makers managed to have their real-world effects so poor and yet their post-production ones so good.

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 1, Episode 5] The Sixth Finger
Shown 14 Oct 63

A pair of American-style revolver-toting motorbike cops confront a Reticulan-looking alien type person who has a very familiar-sounding voice. This is a clip from the final act of the story, so the real story begins much earlier.

An English scientist (Edward Mulhare - ) lives in a remote mansion in Wales. He hires an embittered local coal-miner (David McCallum - ) as an assistant, and uses him as a subject in his experiments. Those experiments are aimed at fast-forwarding human evolution, and result in the subject's intelligence being vastly increased.

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 1, Episode 6] The Man Who Was Never Born
Shown 28 Oct 63

A US Astronaut returns to Earth. However, like Buck Rogers in the 25th Century he arrives centuries after he set out. Earth has become a post-apocalyptic hell-scape, peopled by a mutant with a face full of cancerous tumours. Much like the Reticulan in the previous episode, the mutant has a very familiar-sounding voice.

The mutant provides all the necessary exposition. It was not a nuclear war that destroyed civilisation, but a biological plague. The good news is that the mutant knows the name of the plague's progenitor, and the rough time and place that the progenitor can be found. And now the astronaut has arrived, the mutant has a way of travelling back in time ...

The mutant, Andrew (Martin Landau - Space: 1999 ) befriends a young woman ( Shirley Knight ). In a predictable twist, she will become the mother of the progenitor. He has to choose - save the woman, and sacrifice the world ... or vice versa.

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 1, Episode 7] O.B.I.T.
Shown 04 Nov 63

A US Congressional committee investigates a murder that happened in a secret computer lab. It turns out that nobody knows who designed or built the computers, even though they are now being sent to civilian contractors.

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 1, Episode 8] The Human Factor
Shown 11 Nov 63

All is not well at a secret US military base in Greenland. One of the senior officers seems on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and seems intent on destroying the base. The boss sends him to the medical officer for a psych test. By incredible coincidence, the medical officer's latest experiment is a mind-swap machine. Each man ends up in the other's body.

The insane military man, using the medical officer's body, tries to destroy the base. The medical officer, trapped in the body of a man that everyone rightly considers insane, is the only one who can stop him. Luckily, the MO's wife ( Sally Kellerman ) believes him.

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 1, Episode 9] Corpus Earthling
Shown 18 Nov 63

A geologist examines a pair of strange crystals, which are unlike any other rocks he has seen on Earth. It turns out that the crystals are sentient, and can communicate on a level that normal humans cannot detect. The bad news is that the crystals are hostile, and are plotting to control the human species. The good news is that the scientist has a metal plate in his head, and that he can hear the crystals as they plot. The bad news is that he lets them know he is a threat to them ...

The scientist and his girlfriend go on the run together. However, the crystals have the power to possess humans - like The Puppet Masters . Once they take over a cow-orker, they pursue the protagonist.

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 1, Episode 10] Nightmare
Shown 02 Dec 63

Earth has been bombarded with rockets from Planet Ebon. In response, a rocket with military personnel is sent out. Unfortunately they are captured by the aliens. Private Dixx (Martin Sheen - ), the most junior member of the team, is mentally unfit to serve.

This is more than a little reminiscent of The Manchurian Candidate , as the POWs are subjected to sophisticated brainwashing techniques. This is even aluded to in the story, as we learn that the US military has been plotting based on lessons learned in the Korean war.

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 1, Episode 11] It Crawled Out of the Woodwork
Shown 09 Dec 63

A scientist arrives at a US Government energy research lab, expecting to be allowed in because he got a job offer there. He ignores all the red flags, and discovers the hard way that his predecessors had somehow created or summoned a strange entity that absorbs all energy.

The scientist's tweenage brother, a hedonistic slacker, has to take time off from his extended one-night stand to find out the truth behind the conspiracy.

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 1, Episode 12] The Borderland
Shown 16 Dec 63

An elderly billionaire is obsessed with contacting his dead son. He gets talked into using his wealth and connections to get some scientists access to a power plant for one hour. If they have enough energy to power an entire city they will be able to open a portal into another universe. What could possibly go wrong?

As with the previous episode, one of the scientists is female. There is another named female character, the psychic medium. However, since they do not talk about something other than a man this fails to pass the Bechdel test. That said, this might still be considered somewhat progressive for 1963.

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 1, Episode 13] Tourist Attraction
Shown 23 Dec 63

Some scientists in a fictional South American country discover a strange fish-man creature living in a lake. This storyline may be based on Creature From The Black Lagoon , but the creature looks more like the merman from Cabin in the Woods .

The Generalissimo (Henry Silva - Buck Rogers in the 25th Century ) wants to use the creature as a tourist attraction, to put his country on the map and get some valuable international currency.

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 1, Episode 14] The Zanti Misfits
Shown 30 Dec 63

The highly-advanced interstellar civilisation on Planet Zanti has nowhere to store its convicts, so it sends them to the USA. Despite being a global superpower, the USA is not in a position to refuse. A few square miles of the Arizona desert is cordoned off, and all humans are forbidden from approaching when the alien spacecraft arrives.

Of course, Earth has its own criminal element. Bruce Dern ( The Burbs ) breaks through the cordon and approaches the spacecraft. Once he breaks the aliens' commandments, the US military is in a tough spot. Worse, the alien inmates then attempt a jail-break.

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 1, Episode 15] The Mice
Shown 06 Jan 64

A convict named Chino (Henry Silva - Buck Rogers in the 25th Century ) volunteers as subject in a teleportation experiment. The US Government has been in communication with an alien planet, Chromo, and plan to send intermediaries to visit each other. However, they must first test the interstellar teleporter tech before they can trust it to work for their VIPs.

The human convict wants to escape. His counterpart, the alien volunteer, must also be a convict because it runs wild and tries to break out of the American base. Dr Williams (Dabney Coleman - The Invaders ) decides to let it wander around the base grounds, where it menaces the human staff.

The only one to show compassion to Chino is the medical officer, Julie ( Diana Sands ) - an African-American woman, in the days before Star Trek: TOS .

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 1, Episode 16] Controlled Experiment
Shown 13 Jan 64

A pair of aliens pose as humans to investigate human emotions. They observe as Grace Lee Whitney shoots her lover dead because he cheated on her, The superior alien (Barry Morse - Space: 1999 ) uses time-travel to replay events to see if they can be changed by altering the circumstances.

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 1, Episode 17] Don't Open Till Doomsday
Shown 20 Jan 64

On his wedding day, a man gets trapped in a box by an alien. Thirty years later his wife has turned into Miss Faversham from Great Expectations, although her makeup makes her look like the actress in Sunset Boulevard .

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 1, Episode 18] ZZZZZ
Shown 27 Jan 64

A Queen Bee grows to human size, and turns into a young woman ( Joanna Frank ). This girl calls herself Regina ... and gets a job as the lab assistant of a human scientist who is studying bees. He has built a machine that translates bee noises into human speech.

Regina's plan is to mate with the scientist. Unfortunately he already has a wife ( Marsha Hunt ), who becomes suspicious of the newcomer.

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 1, Episode 19] The Invisibles
Shown 03 Feb 64

Three men are invited to join a secret society named The Invisibles. They are blue-collar losers, so they think they have nothing to lose. Unfortunately the process involves being implanted with an alien parasite. Then they will be given important jobs in the US government, so the aliens can manipulate society from behind the scenes. Yes, typical Invasion of the Body-Snatchers stuff.

One of the volunteers is a secret agent for the GIA - the Government Intelligence Agency. He goes undercover, pretending to be controlled so that he can roll up the entire network. Of course, everything that can go wrong does so. That said, when he gets captured and monologued by the villain it is because the villain's host is fighting back against the mind control.

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 1, Episode 20] The Bellero Shield
Shown 10 Feb 64

A scientist (Martin Landau - ) has invented a laser-based active telescope system that he uses to explore the cosmos.

The scientist's wife ( Sally Kellerman ) is less than happy at the way things are going.

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 1, Episode 21] The Children of Spider County
Shown 17 Feb 64

A group of scientists have gone missing. The only thing they have in common is they were all born in the same hospital, in a place called Spider County. There is a fifth man on the list, although he is not a scientist but an ex-convict. The Government investigator goes looking for the ex-con, in the hope of finding him before the abductor does.

Anyone familiar with The Midwich Cuckoos , which had recently been released as a movie called Village of the Damned , will guess the backstory. The scientists were fathered by aliens, and now they are being returned home. Will the ex-con choose to join them?

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 1, Episode 22] Specimen: Unknown
Shown 24 Feb 64

Capt. Mike Doweling (Richard Jaeckel - ) and Lt. Rupert Lawrence Howard (Dabney Coleman - The Invaders ) are in a team of astronauts that crew a space station on the edge of the solar system. The good news is that the discover an alien life form. The bad news is that it is a form of vegitation that grows constantly and is practically impossible to kill.

Will HQ allow the astronauts to return home, or will they be quarantined in space until they die? Earth may be overrun by the murderous plants, reminiscent of the monsters from Day of the Triffids .

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 1, Episode 23] Second Chance
Shown 02 Mar 64

This is set in a run-down carnival. A group of down-at-heel humans are given free tickets to a spaceship-themed ride by a man in an alien costume. However, both the alien and the space-ship are real.

The alien is offering the humans a second chance. After all, they are a bunch of losers on Earth. Instead, they look for reasons not to go.

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 1, Episode 24] Moonstone
Shown 09 Mar 64

Some astronauts on the moonbase discover a strange rock. It turns out to contain some alien consciousnesses. The good news is that they are friendly, because they are refugees from an oppressive government in another star system. The bad news is that the oppressors have followed them, and demand that the astronauts hand over the refugees.

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 1, Episode 25] The Mutant
Shown 16 Mar 64

This is set in the near future, when humans have developed FTL travel and discovered an Earth-type planet in a nearby solar system. A small team of scientists has been sent there, and thanks to the Earth-type atmosphere all they need are 1960s-style hard-hats and overalls. The one concession to the fact this is an alien planet is the fact they need goggles when outdoors, because the planet has eternal sunshine and no night-time.

An inspector is sent from Earth to see what is happening at the outpost. There is a subplot involving his background with some of the scientists. However, the main plot is more important. One of the expedition was exposed to radiation. Now he is a mutant, and is controlling the others with his telepathy. Their only hope is if they can hypnotise the inspector.

Strangely, what is most remarkable about this episode is the dialogue. One character's dying words are The horror ... the horror as in Apocalypse Now. The antagonist announces I'm a mutant, Doctor, not a mad-man! which may have influenced Bones McCoy's signature line in Star Trek: The Original Series .

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 1, Episode 26] The Guests
Shown 23 Mar 64

An old man runs through the woods, but when he gets to the road he dies of old age. A young man finds him and goes for help. Unfortunately this good samaritan finds himself at a creepy old house. A less genre-blind person would realise that this house is probably the place the victim was fleeing.

Some people are trapped in the house by a bug-eyed alien that is using their brains to discover the secret of Life, the Universe and Everything ... not unlike in Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy . In a twist, it turns out to be The Fifth Element ...

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 1, Episode 27] Fun and Games
Shown 30 Mar 64

A burnt-out ex-boxer is implicated in a crime, and ends up on the run from the police. Yes, this is one of the film noir cliches that was pastiched in Pulp Fiction. However, this take on the trope has a twist. The dangerous-man-on-the-run is abducted by aliens that want him to be Earth's champion in a battle royale.

The boxer is given a female partner, whose willingness to save the world stands in opposition to the boxer's cynicism. they are up against an alien that has a barb-edged boomerang.

The aliens are full-mask types, in terms of Star Trek: TOS they are more like the Gorn than Mister Spock. It may seem strange that this low-budget show has better aliens, compared to the grease-painted Klingons. However, the Trek aliens are intended to be conversational types while the Outer Limits aliens tend to be traditional BEMs (Bug Eyed Monsters) that have no conversational ability.

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 1, Episode 28] The Special One
Shown 06 Apr 64

A telekinetic supervillain is running special-education classes for super-intelligent children. When a parent gets suspicious, he is murdered. To avoid further suspicion, the supervillain moves his operation from Los Angeles to New York City.

In NYC he selects a boy whose parents were once employed in nuclear research. The father gets suspicious when their son writes that there are 125 elements, when as of 1963 there were only 102 known elements. There is also a pro-social message, that nerdy kids who study a lot end up as social outcasts. The US Government apparent insists on a normal upbringing that will produce a well-rounded person. Yes, Little League is just as important as studying.

The villain is using the kids to build terraforming machines. He fails to realise that this works both ways.

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 1, Episode 29] A Feasibility Study
Shown 13 Apr 64

Aliens are looking to enslave the human species. Instead of abducting people from some Third World country, the aliens abduct an entire American suburb. Not just the inhabitants, but the buildings as well. A huge crater is left in that part of the city. However, at first the abducted suburbanites do not realise anything is amiss.

Sam Wanamaker ( Superman IV ) tries to organise the human resistance.

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 1, Episode 30] Production and Decay of Strange Particles
Shown 20 Apr 64

Some scientists detect an anomaly in their nuclear reactor. It turns out that alien entities from another dimension are coming through a rift in space-time, and possessing the bodies of anyone who gets too close.

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 1, Episode 31] The Chameleon
Shown 27 Apr 64

A flying saucer has crash-landed in the USA. This is apparently a military matter, and the general wants to destroy the saucer in revenge for the aliens killing one of his patrols. Unfortunately the ship has fissionable materiel aboard, either as fuel or for weapons, so an attack might create a nuclear disaster.

The head of Intelligence has a better plan. A scientist has reverse-engineered the alien DNA from a scraping under a dead man's fingernails. They can use that DNA pattern, stored on a reel-to-reel tape, to alter the DNA of a human agent.

The best man for the job is Mace (Robert Duvall - ), a brutal killer on the run in Mexico. His identity was compromised, he was disavowed by the Agency, and he is on the run from his old enemies. In other words, a man with nothing to lose.

The plan is to get Mace aboard the flying saucer, wearing something called an Audio Camera. This transmits sound and video to the military HQ.

The aliens are far more advanced than the humans. Their planet is apparently a paradise. Since Mace has nothing on Earth to lose, will he defect and make a new life on the alien world?

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 1, Episode 32] The Forms of Things Unknown
Shown 04 May 64

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Outer Limits (1963)

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 1 , Episode 1 ]
Shown th October 2016 [Wednesday]

Reviewed in our special supplement Outer Limits (1963)

Outer Limits (1963)

Season 2


Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 2, Episode 1] Soldier
Shown 19 Sep 64

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 2, Episode 2] Cold Hands, Warm Heart
Shown 26 Sep 64

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 2, Episode 3] Behold Eck!
Shown 03 Oct 64

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 2, Episode 4] Expanding Human
Shown 10 Oct 64

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 2, Episode 5] Demon with a Glass Hand
Shown 17 Oct 64

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 2, Episode 6] Cry of Silence
Shown 24 Oct 64

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 2, Episode 7] The Invisible Enemy
Shown 31 Oct 64

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 2, Episode 8] Wolf 359
Shown 07 Nov 64

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 2, Episode 9] I, Robot
Shown 14 Nov 64

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 2, Episode 10] The Inheritors (1)
Shown 21 Nov 64

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 2, Episode 11] The Inheritors (2)
Shown 28 Nov 64

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 2, Episode 12] Keeper of the Purple Twilight
Shown 05 Dec 64

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 2, Episode 13] The Duplicate Man
Shown 19 Dec 64

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 2, Episode 14] Counterweight
Shown 26 Dec 64

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 2, Episode 15] The Brain of Colonel Barham
Shown 02 Jan 65

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 2, Episode 16] The Premonition
Shown 09 Jan 65

Outer Limits (1963) Outer Limits (1963) [Season 2, Episode 17] The Probe
Shown 16 Jan 65