Destruct that ship, General!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

My Life in the Glow of The Outer Limits – In Closing

And here we are. The end.

Some of you are aware that this blog was preceded by a similar 50th-anniversary rewatching endeavor for The Twilight Zone, the golden anniversary of which spanned 2009-2014. Somehow that one never felt as important, despite the fact that TZ has historically been a much more important series to me.  It wasn’t as if I had anything especially important to add to the existing critical commentary on the series (I of course refer to David J. Schow’s books, as well as the We Are Controlling Transmission blog), but there was always some strange urgency driving me. The past year-and-a-half has found me forgoing sleep, family time and a social life, and now that I can now look back at this thing as a complete work… well, I’m not convinced the end product completely justifies the effort.

Believe it or not, that’s not me fishing for validation. It’s the self-critical, never-satisfied voice in my head talking. There are other voices in there.

There’s of course an inherent gratification in simply finishing at all, and I do quite like some of the things I’ve written (I may have espoused a select few valuable insights, I dunno). And I have contributed a lot of memes to the bottomless rabbit hole that is the internet, so there’s an achievement (admittedly somewhat dubious; but Christ, if we can’t laugh at things we love, what’s the point?). The single greatest pleasure I’ve experienced, however, has been the interaction with other fans of the show. My regular comment-leavers often provided the extra bit fuel I needed to cross the finish line each week, so thanks, folks (y’all know who you are). There’s an undeniable warm ‘n fuzzy comfort to crossing paths with others who share one’s interests.

And of course I can't wrap this production without a special tip o' the hat to David J. Schow, whose presence and influence informs these pages more than anyone will ever know. He's the veritable Yoda to my clumsy and awkward Luke Skywalker. He's also an imminently cool cat, and I'm proud and tickled as hell to call him a friend. If you'd told me in 1986 (the year his Companion first saw print) that I'd one day be in regular contact with this brilliant and singular scholar of That Which We Hold Dear and Sacred, I probably would've pissed myself (I was seventeen and a virgin, so what else would I have done?).

Jesus, all these teary-eyed finalities and I’m not even quite done here. I still plan to retroactively reformat the first half of season one’s entries to match the later ones (this means bigger pictures, essentially). I may also tweak the content here and there and add additional thoughts or comments as they occur to me. I do, after all, reserve the right to revise this particular history (and fix typos as I find them; goddammit, typos are the bane of my existence). And there’s still the possibility of a high-definition release of the series, so of course I’ll be addressing that if and when MGM makes it happen. And I still want to spotlight a few other curios related to the series (Leslie Stevens’ Incubus, for example; there’s also the rare and costly Andro/Helosian action figure two-pack that continues to haunt me, as it’s the only hole in my otherwise-complete Sideshow Collectibles Outer Limits collection).

This will all happen sporadically, without deadlines or schedules or promises of regular new content. Interested parties may simply wish to check back every so often (you can also follow me on Google Plus, which should alert you when new posts spring forth).

My next blogging endeavor will take place on my Twilight Zone blog in the fall, where I’ll be revisiting the series’ first season as each episode turns 56. And beyond that…. well, who knows? My pal Bill Huelbig really wants me to tackle the original Star Trek (which turns 50 next year), but right now that seems like a huge undertaking. I’m also toying with the idea of a podcast of some sort (whether that would involve The Outer Limits, The Twilight Zone, or both, or something else altogether remains to be seen). I think in either case, I’d want a co-blogger/co-host… y’now, to take some of the pressure off and whatnot.

And gazing far into the hazy and indistinct future.... if I'm still around for the series' diamond anniversary in 2038, and if we're still blogging on the internet, I might just revisit all 49 episodes again. I'll be 70 at that point, so I can't promise clarity or cohesion (and gawd, the typos will probably be ten times worse; of course, by then we'll probably exist as holo-beings in a vast Matrix-style virtual construct, and the auto-correct will likely be much more sophisticated). Or who knows, I may not even give a shit at that point. In all likelihood I'll be dead, a mere memory in my kids' minds (my oldest will be a bit past my age now at that point). Fuck, I think I'm about to have an out-of-body moment.

Anyway--- it’s been real, bugs and ghouls. And decidedly unreal at the same time. It really couldn’t have been any other way, though... could it?


  1. Thanks (again) for "tilting the past into the present" and breathing some new life into The Outer Limits. Your ambitious project has been VERY worthwhile for your readers (and your insights remained consistently sharp, even when not under the influence of Fireball). It must have been more work than we -- your well-entertained readers -- realize. TOL is a surprisingly emotional topic for die-hard fans, and you've done a great job of acknowledging the "awe and mystery" without compromising the Principle of Snarkiness (aka laughing derisively when they deserved it). I notice that you still receive new comments about old posts, another reason we should continue to check in occasionally.

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  3. Well-done, Craig - - you stuck to the task and conveyed the spirit (more-or-less) of the show, since you were so influenced from watching it. I saw little mention of science here, though the articles were meant to inform and entertain (more the latter than the former). Ironically, to contrast the bad science on the show with real science would add to the hilarity. The hardest part, I think, is to let the blogspot articles be and not revise them.

    Again, well-done.

  4. Brian David Schwartz makes an interesting point about questioning the actual science in TOL. And he's right that there's comic potential in it! I'm guessing that a lot of us avoid the scientific angle because we don't know much science. My dad, who was my guide to TOL in 1963-64, knew some science, but I certainly don't (and TV documentaries with CGI aren't helping). I'm still trying to figure out how the toaster works (so far, I'm guessing that it "tilts" the plain bread from the past into the present, where it exists as toast...).