• Steven Heller

You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby

Some people prefer the Stones, others the Beatles. Some prefer the Yanks, others the Mets. Some prefer Letterman, others Leno. Some prefer rice, others potato. And some prefer The Twilight Zone, others The Outer Limits.

For me, The Twilight Zone remains the sina qua non of the sci-fi/social commentary genre yet from time to time I watch The Outer Limits to clear my head of excess metaphor and allegory. Outer Limits was not as well written or acted or directed, although the title sequence (“Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We can reduce the focus to a soft blur, or sharpen it to crystal clarity. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical.”), is just as good.

Also TOL had many more great black and white monsters in its repretory than TZ. For those who don’t recall, or weren’t even born, here is a sampling of the best low-tech extraterrestials on TV. And don’t forget The Outer Limits credo:

“It is said that if you move a single pebble on the beach, you set up a different pattern, and everything in the world is changed. It can also be said that love can change the future, if it is deep enough, true enough, and selfless enough. It can prevent a war, prohibit a plague, keep the whole world… whole.”