Once upon a time, TV Science Fiction was literate, thoughtful, and could be, on occasion, profound. From the long lost but quite well done One Step Beyond, to Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone, television that focused on the strange and alien unknown sought to fire our imaginations and move our thoughts beyond the common, mundane, and trivial. These genres (science fiction and the supernatural) were used to explore the human condition by situating human dramatic conflict within strange, fantastic, alien contexts and environments. Within this context, the great dramas of human existence, such as the overarching struggle between good and evil and the struggle within each of us between our baser and higher natures, can be articulated with unusual clarity and depth.
Much modern science fiction over the last 30 to 40 years, both television and cinematic, has retreated into two fundamental corners: sheer visual stimulation and politics. Not so with the classic television series, The Outer Limits. From the moment one hears Dominic Frontiere’s errie and evocative score, to the point when the “control voice” invites us to experience “the awe and mystery” of the “great adventure” of our journey to the Outer Limits, our imaginations and minds are open and receptive.
So let’s take a look back at a classic anthology of science fiction stories, unencumbered by ideological sermons, incessant pop cultural references, gratuitous titillation (as with the rather sex obsessed 1995 remake), and intellectual fluff, and look at some celluloid science fiction that conservatives can really sink their teeth – and minds – into.