MGM probing 'The Outer Limits'
Variety reports that the financially-embattled MGM has retained SAW series writers Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan to write a feature film version of THE OUTER LIMITS.
In a scenario that sounds a a bit more like THE TWILIGHT ZONE, the company that is unable to raise the cash to make another James Bond film or greenlight THE HOBBIT, has choosen to pay the pair a fee in the “mid-six figures” for a movie based on an anthology TV series. The script is due in October. Their debt extension expires September 15th.
Maybe they know something we don’t. Maybe they’re recieving strange transmissions. The Form the film will take is a Thing Unknown*. Will it be an anthology, like the TWILIGHT ZONE movie, or a stand-alone film?
The original OUTER LIMITS ran for just under two seasons on ABC, from 1964-65. Produced by Leslie Stevens and Joseph Stephano the first year and Ben Brady in the second season, the show was an hour-long anthology that focused on science fiction. But it was often a strange, film noir-ish look at the field, with one foot in the laboratory, and the other in a haunted house.
The term Gothic Science Fiction has been used to describe the moody black and white series, and it fits. Sometimes the episodes served as cautionary tales, with downbeat endings, while others celebrated the human spirit and noble aspirations. It was like watching a compressed sci-fi movie, told in 60 minutes.
A revived version of the series ran seven seasons, airing from 1995 to 2002, beginning on Showtime, and continuing on The Sci-Fi Channel.
Produced by Pen Desham, Richard Barton Lewis, and others, some episodes of the original program were reprised and updated for the new series.
In my opinion, the show was much more inconsistent in style than the original, and often seemed to have general air of pessimism and an anti-scientific tone. Some endings seemed to go out of their way to “snatch defeat from the claws of victory”.
But who can argue with a seven-year success?
* The Form of Things Unknown was the last episode of the first season of the original OUTER LIMITS— my little joke.