The Outer Limits, a look at the new series which started in 1995 and lasted for seven seasons

 

With the success of Paramount's Star Trek: The Next Generation series, the owners of MGM looked around at the properties it owned which could be developed into a syndicated series. One of the titles it has was the United Artists classic Outer Limits series which was originally broadcast between 1963 and 1965, and had been shown in syndication since - so this was picked up as a title to develop into a new series. In 1994 MGM had a deal with pay cable network channel Showtime to produce a number of movies for them, as well as the new series of The Outer Limits.

Choosing Canadian companies Trilogy and Atlantis to oversee production of the new series, several key people were brought in who would be instrumental in the new Outer Limits.

Pen Densham

Pen Densham

Pen Densham

Born in Great Britain, Pen moved to Canada when he was 19 where he worked as a director on television commercials and documentaries. Receiving a medal from the Queen of England in 1977 for contributions to the arts in Canada, Densham formed Trilogy Entertainment with John K. Watson and Richard B. Lewis.

As Pen Densham tells the MGM Sci-Fi Newsletter about the original 1960s series:
"As a passionate fan of their series, I wanted to revive the overall concept in order to bring it to a new audience. This was a show that was so captivating, people were still watching it 30 years later, and I wanted to capture that essence and represent it with new stories."

Pen served as executive producer for the entire run of the new series.

Mark Stern

President of Production at Trilogy Entertainment, Mark Stern was executive producer on the sixth and seventh seasons of The Outer Limits, as well as also serving as executive producer on the Magnificent Seven television series and over 300 hours of television production on a number of series, television movies and mini series.

Mark tells the MGM Sci-Fi Newsletter about the original 1960s show:
"I still remember where I was when I watched some of those episodes. I mean, nobody was doing that kind of scary television back then. The template is just great, doing a scary show that's also thought-provoking. It's an awesome legacy that we've been very careful to try and emulate."

Most recently Mark Stern was executive producer on the 2002 Twilight Zone television series.

Mark Stern

Mark Stern

Sam Egan Sam Egan

Sam Egan first wrote episodes for The Outer Limits with season three, for which he also served as co-executive producer. Egan would go on as executive consultant for season four, executive producer for seasons five and six, and creative consultant on season seven. As well as writing many episodes of The Outer Limits, Sam also has writing/production credits on Northern Exposure, Second Noah, Snoops, and also co-wrote the movie Elvira, Mistress of the Dark!

During the first three years of the series, writers and producers Brad Wright and Jonathan Glassner would provide many fine episodes during those early years before forming Double Secret Productions. Along with Gekko Film Corp., Double Secret and MGM would produce the Stargate SG-1 series and franchise. Original series producers Leslie Stevens and Joseph Stefano would also be involved in the new series as consultants, and Stefano would adapt one of his classic original series episodes, "A Feasibility Study" as an episode for the third season.

Like the original series, this new Outer Limits show would be an anthology series (an idea originally resisted by MGM who wanted some continuing characters). During the course of it's seven seasons it would present some adaptations of works by famous science fiction and horror authors such as George R.R. Martin (Sandkings), Richard Matheson (First Anniversary), Larry Niven (Inconstant Moon) and Stephen King (The Revelations of Becka Paulson). It would also remake some episodes of the original 1960s series (I, Robot and Feasibility Study), and some of it's own best original stories to appear on television - episodes such as A Stitch In Time (which won an Emmy for actress Amanda Plummer), Tribunal, and Quality of Mercy are just three examples of episodes which chillingly update the concept of the original series for today.

Graphics from the opening titles Opening title graphics Images from the opening titles

 

MGM The Outer Limits, and all images related to the series, is 2004 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc

 

There are several episode of the new series available on DVD:

Season 1 has finally been released in a complete box set by Sony!

 

Sex and Science Fiction is a collection of six episodes on the theme, plus featurettes on each episode and the new series in general:

 

Time Travel & Infinity collects six further episodes of the new series, along with featurettes on each episode, and the new series:

 

A collection of the best episodes from Seasons One and Two is available to order (but only from Amazon Canada - fortunately dvds in Canada are Region 1, the same as the USA). Also available to order is a complete collection of Season Three.

Plus, you can get the soundtrack of the series:

There have also been a number of novels based on the series:

There is much more information and graphics on the series at The Outer Limits.com

I have a page on the classic Outer Limits series, plus a page on the classic series episode Architects of Fear.

Alliance Atlantis (one of the production companies of the series) of course have their own website.

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