Skip to content

Focus on the Frightful: The Outer Limits (1995-2002)

The ninties reboot of The Outer Limits is on Prime right now so we’ve been watching it at my house. It was a random watch ad I was pleasantly surprised. I’d never seen the original series so I really didn’t go into it with any expectations. I was kind of hoping for a few more horror oriented episodes but I realize that it was a bit of an unrealistic expectation as I knew it was mainly a science fiction oriented series. My little horror heart always hopes, though.

The Outer Limits cover

I’m not going to do an episode by episode review, partly because I haven’t watched Season 2 and also, there being seven seasons with 152 episodes total it would take forever. A lot of the episodes are ok, good background noise and entertaining but not too special. There are some standouts, however, that I’d like to talk about.

One thing that surprised me, besides seeing most of the usual television familiar faces from that time period, there were a lot of fairly famous actors and actresses such as Kirsten Dunst, William Sadler, Thora Birch and Cary Elwes. I also recognized Nathan Fillion solely from all of the Firefly gifs that Lilyn has sent me.

I’d say its worst flaw is being somewhat predictable at times. We came to a point near the end that if there was something mysterious going on we started playing a guessing game of Alien or Android. The effects in general are pretty decent overall and some episodes are downright fantastic looking.

Quality of Mercy – Season One, Episode 13

And then there’s times they look like this –

Corner of the Eye, Season 1, Episode

Some of my favourite episodes are Quality of Mercy in which humanity is fighting an alien race and the episode follows two human prisoners locked together. The Revelations of Becka Paulson some might recognize as Deputy Becka Paulson’s story arc in the Tommyknockers movie. Stephen King wrote the screenplay for the episode but it was never written in short story format (he probably decided to use it in Tommyknockers instead).

Hearts and Minds has an excellent twist to it that I really liked. Phobos Rising had a really good tension to it. The Human Operators has a really good story and Malcolm MacDowall is perfect as the creepy computer voice. What Will the Neighbors Think is one of the more humorous episodes but also has a dark and nasty side to it as well. It’s…something else.

Tribunal is easily the best episode of the series. I don’t want to give too much away but it made me teary. It also has the best karmic punishment ever and an ending that’s surprisingly hopeful given the way a lot of the other episodes turn out. Alex Diakun (left in picture) is also a recurring character in other Outer Limits episodes and it’s cool to see him return, he’s got charisma to him that I enjoyed.

Tribunal – Season 5, Episode 12

Summit is another one with great tension and one hell of an ending. Decompression is also very good and had me on the edge of my seat wondering what was going on and waiting for the other shoe to drop. Zig Zag is just a really fun episode. I like the actor, Frank Whaley (who is also on an episode in season one that I liked very much, as well) and he really makes the episode.

Mona Lisa was a very good robot-themed story with a lot of heart to it. Free Spirit is one of the few that plants its feet firmly in the horror field and it’s a great episode. The episode right after, Mindreacher, is also excellent.

One thing that I can really respect with Outer Limits is that it’s not afraid to take stories to their natural conclusions. If the world is about to be destroyed then that’s where it goes. No last minute stepping back. I think that made the stories much better.

One thing that surprised me is how much sex there is in it. I thought I had seen it on television but with how much they show (and they show a lot) that can’t be possible. So I’m assuming it aired on cable? If anyone knows, please, let me know because it’s really bugging me.

I would recommend Outer Limits. Just remember that if you’re watching it with the kiddos be warned, there is nudity and some of the violence can be fairly graphic.

Published inFocus on the Frightful
┬ęSci-Fi & Scary 2019
%d bloggers like this: