For the original series, see The Outer Limits (1963 TV series).

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The Outer Limits is an American television series that originally aired on both Showtime and Sci-Fi Channel between 1995 and 2002. The series is a remake of the original The Outer Limits series that aired in the 1960s,but not as good-too cynical against humanity.

Similar in style to The Twilight Zone with more science fiction than fantasy stories, The Outer Limits is an anthology of discrete story episodes, sometimes with a plot twist at the end. Over the course of the series, 154 episodes were aired.


After an attempt to bring back The Outer Limits during the early eighties, it was finally relaunched in 1995. The success of television science fiction such as Star Trek sequels, The X-Files, and anthology shows such as Tales from the Crypt convinced the rights-holders, MGM, to revive it. A deal was made with Trilogy Productions, the company behind such cinema hits as Backdraft and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and the show would run on the pay-tv channel Showtime. The episodes appeared in syndication the following season (the same arrangement as MGM/Showtime series Stargate SG-1 and Poltergeist: The Legacy). It continued on Showtime until 2001, when the U.S. Sci Fi channel quietly took over production.

It remained in production until 2002 before finally being canceled, after a total of 154 episodes—far more than the original incarnation of the show. In the revived show, the Control Voice was supplied by Kevin Conway. The new series distanced itself from the "monster of the week" mandate that had characterized the original series from its inception; while there were plenty of aliens and monsters, they dramatize a specific scientific concept and its effect on humanity. Some episodes illustrating this difference include "Dark Rain" (biochemical warfare causes worldwide sterility), "Final Exam" (discovery of practical cold fusion power), "A Stitch in Time" (a time traveler tinkers with history), as well as several episodes revolving around a human mutation known as Genetic Rejection Syndrome (humans mutating into violent creatures) as a result of a government experiment.


The series was filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Stories by Harlan Ellison, A.E. van Vogt, Eando Binder, Larry Niven, Richard Matheson, George R.R. Martin, Stephen King, and James Patrick Kelly were adapted with varying degrees of success, and some of the original series' episodes were remade as well. The revived series on Showtime contained more violent and sexual content, including occasional female nudity (Alyssa Milano in episode 1,17) was not shown in most syndication markets, including the Sci-Fi Channel. The series contained an underlying story arc about mysterious or extraterrestrial forces, including open-ended storylines that were related to each other in the clip shows at the end of the season.

Most episodes in the modern series featured actors with name recognition from their previous film and TV work. Actors in notable roles included Tom Arnold, Beau Bridges, Josh Brolin, Nicole de Boer, Michael Dorn, Kirsten Dunst, Michelle Forbes, Melissa Gilbert, Mark Hamill, Neil Patrick Harris, Laurie Holden, Jack Klugman, Howie Mandell , Alyssa Milano, Pat Morita, Leonard Nimoy, Robert Patrick, Amanda Plummer, Ryan Reynolds, Molly Ringwald, William Sadler, Ally Sheedy, Jeremy Sisto, Brent Spiner, and Jessica Steen.[1][2]

Leslie Stevens was a program consultant for the first season while Joseph Stefano was an executive consultant. Stefano also remade his episode "A Feasibility Study" and retitled it "Feasibility Study" for the third season. He later served as a senior advisor on the episode "Down to Earth" during the sixth season. Mark Mancina and John Van Tongeren composed new music different from that of Dominic Frontiere and Harry Lubin. They also scored ten episodes for the first season. The musical theme for the modern Outer Limits series is credited to Mark Mancina and John VanTongeren. However, the same music is used in the Westwood Studios' video game Dune 2000.

In most seasons there was a clip show that intertwines the plots of several of the show's episodes (see "The Voice of Reason" for an example). At each commercial interval, the Control Voice can be heard saying "The Outer Limits...please stand by". The voice also repeats this phrase upon return from the television ads. The surreal images from the opening are mostly the work of Jerry Uelsmann.

DVD releasesEdit

Several "grab bag" DVD anthologies have been released: Sex & Science Fiction, Aliens Among Us, Death and Beyond, Fantastic Androids and Robots, Mutation and Transformation, Time Travel and Infinity.

On November 1, 2005, MGM Home Entertainment released Season One of the New Outer Limits on DVD in North America; no further seasons have yet been released.

DVD name Episodes Release date
Season One 22 November 1, 2005

See alsoEdit

Similar seriesEdit


External linksEdit

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