The Outer Limits (1995 TV series)

The Outer Limits is a Canadian-American television series that originally aired on Showtime, Syfy and in syndication between 1995 and 2002. The series is a revival of the original The Outer Limits series that aired from 1963–65.

The Outer Limits (1995)
The Outer Limits opening title (2002)
Narrated byKevin Conway (control voice)
Music byJohn Van Tongeren
Daryl Bennett
Jim Guttridge
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons7
No. of episodes154 (list of episodes)
Running time43–44 minutes
Production company(s)Alliance Atlantis Communications
Atlantis Films
Showtime Networks
Trilogy Entertainment Group
CanWest Global Communications
Global Television Network
The Movie Network
DistributorMGM Television
Original networkShowtime (1995–2000)
Sci Fi (2001–2002)
Audio formatDolby Surround 2.0
Original releaseMarch 26, 1995 
January 18, 2002

The Outer Limits is an anthology of distinct story episodes, sometimes with a plot twist at the end. The revival series maintained an anthology format, but occasionally featured recurring story arcs that were then tied together during season-finale clip shows. Over the course of the series, 154 episodes were aired. Its stories are described as more science fiction-based and less dark fantasy than those of The Twilight Zone.


After an attempt to bring back The Outer Limits during the early 1980s, it was finally relaunched in 1995. The success of television speculative fiction such as Star Trek: The Next Generation, The X-Files, and anthology shows such as Tales from the Crypt convinced rights holder Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to revive The Outer Limits. A deal was made with Trilogy Productions, the company behind such cinema hits as Backdraft and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. The show would run on the pay-TV channel Showtime (Trilogy, a Los Angeles- and Canada-based company, is credited with creating the 1995 series).[1][2][3]

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 Sci-Fi quietly took over production for the seventh and final season. As a result, that season, unlike the previous ones, was completely free of any swearing or nudity. It was canceled in 2002, after a total of 154 episodes—far more than the original incarnation of the show.[4] 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.[5] Examples of this include "Dark Rain" (biochemical warfare causing worldwide sterility), "Final Exam" (discovery of practical cold fusion power), "A Stitch in Time" (a time traveler tinkers with history), as well as two episodes revolving around a human mutation known as Genetic Rejection Syndrome (humans mutating into violent creatures) as a result of an outlawed eugenics attempt to create superior children.


The series was filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia. 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.

Leslie Stevens was a program consultant for the first four seasons (until his death), while Joseph Stefano served as an executive consultant and later senior advisor throughout the whole series. Stefano also remade his episode "A Feasibility Study", retitling it "Feasibility Study" for the third season. John Van Tongeren and Mark Mancina composed new music different from that of Dominic Frontiere and Harry Lubin. John Van Tongeren scored ten episodes for the first season and continued through season 6. The musical theme for the modern Outer Limits series is credited to John Van Tongeren and Mark Mancina.

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 repeats this phrase upon return from the television ads. The surreal images from the opening are mostly the work of Jerry Uelsmann.

A number of episodes from seasons 1–6 feature nudity and other adult content. Though originally broadcast uncensored, those episodes have been edited for commercial syndication.


SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast airedNetwork
122March 26, 1995 (1995-03-26)August 20, 1995 (1995-08-20)Showtime
222January 14, 1996 (1996-01-14)August 4, 1996 (1996-08-04)
318January 19, 1997 (1997-01-19)July 25, 1997 (1997-07-25)
426January 23, 1998 (1998-01-23)December 18, 1998 (1998-12-18)
522January 22, 1999 (1999-01-22)August 20, 1999 (1999-08-20)
622January 21, 2000 (2000-01-21)September 3, 2000 (2000-09-03)
722March 16, 2001 (2001-03-16)January 18, 2002 (2002-01-18)Sci Fi

Tie-in books

Between 1997 and 1999, a series of books based on the show but aimed towards younger readers was published by Tor Books, penned by genre fiction author John Peel. The first, The Zanti Misfits, was a loose adaptation of the eponymous 1963 series episode, while others were based on episodes from the new series.[6]

  1. The Zanti Misfits
  2. The Choice
  3. The Time Shifter
  4. The Lost
  5. The Invaders
  6. The Innocent
  7. The Vanished
  8. The Nightmare
  9. Beware the Metal Children
  10. Alien Invasion from Hollyweird
  11. The Payback
  12. The Change

Home media

Between 2002–2006, six themed DVD anthologies of The Outer Limits, with six episodes each, were released by MGM in the US: Aliens Among Us, Death & Beyond, Fantastic Androids & Robots, Mutation & Transformation, Sex & Science Fiction and Time Travel & Infinity. These DVDs all contain the original uncut episodes, as originally aired, and were collected in a box set, The Outer Limits: The New Series (2006). The Aliens and Sex titles were also released by MGM in the UK and Benelux (2005).

  • Aliens Among Us
    • S01E13: "Quality of Mercy"
    • S02E15: "Afterlife"
    • S05E04: "The Grell"
    • S04E06: "Relativity Theory"
    • S07E09: "Alien Shop"
    • S02E06: "Beyond the Veil"
  • Death & Beyond
    • S01E04: "The Second Soul"
    • S05E05: "The Other Side"
    • S03E11: "New Lease"
    • S05E18: "Essence of Life"
    • S07E22: "Human Trials"
    • S04E25: "Black Box"
  • Fantastic Androids & Robots
    • S01E18: "I, Robot"
    • S04E02: "The Hunt"
    • S02E02: "Resurrection"
    • S03E07: "The Camp"
    • S06E12: "Glitch"
    • S05E03: "Small Friends"
  • Mutation & Transformation
    • S01E14: "The New Breed"
    • S05E14: "Descent"
    • S04E13: "The Joining"
    • S03E12: "Double Helix"
    • S06E02: "The Gun"
    • S05E17: "The Inheritors"
  • Sex & Science Fiction
    • S01E16: "Caught in the Act"
    • S03E01: "Bits of Love"
    • S01E02: "Valerie 23"
    • S05E07: "The Human Operators"
    • S06E03: "Skin Deep"
    • S07E12: "Flower Child"
  • Time Travel & Infinity
    • S02E01: "A Stitch in Time"
    • S05E12: "Tribunal"
    • S06E17: "Gettysburg"
    • S07E15: "Time to Time"
    • S05E16: "Déjà Vu"
    • S07E02: "Patient Zero"

Season 1 was released uncut and with extra features on DVD in the US (MGM, 2005), UK (20th Century Fox, 2007) and Germany (Fox/MGM, 2008). Because sales of the set did not meet expectations no further seasons were released.

In 2010, Canada's Alliance Home Entertainment released all seven seasons on DVD. Season 1 mirrored the content of the earlier MGM set, while season 2 was also uncensored, with the exception of one episode, "Paradise".[7] Seasons 3–6 all contain numerous censored episodes and are of noticeably poorer visual quality than the first two.[8] Season 7 contains the original unedited episodes, as unlike the previous seasons, it was produced with no nudity or swearing.

In 2013, TGG Direct released the seventh season in the US, again unedited but of marginally inferior visual quality than the Alliance season 7 DVDs.[9] The 5-disc set is titled The Outer Limits: The Complete Final Season, and in 2014 it was split and re-released as 3-disc Volume One and 2-disc Volume Two sets.

DVD name Ep# Release date
The Complete First Season 22 May 4, 2010
The Complete Second Season 22 May 4, 2010
The Complete Third Season 18 June 1, 2010
The Complete Fourth Season 26 July 6, 2010
The Complete Fifth Season 22 August 3, 2010
The Complete Sixth Season 22 September 7, 2010
The Complete Seventh Season (final) 22 October 5, 2010
DVD name Ep# Release date
The Final Season 22 December 3, 2013

All seven seasons of the series are available uncut on Hulu and selectively edited on Amazon Video and seasons 1-6 are uncut on "The Roku channel" on Roku devices.


The Outer Limits revival currently has a rating of 7.8/10 on IMDB.

Possible movie

In 2014, it was reported that a feature film directed by Scott Derrickson based on the series was to be underway.[10][11] However, no additional information has been released as of 2019.

See also

Similar series


  1. "MGM Worldwide Television and Trilogy Entertainment Group enter exclusive, multiyear television deal". 1997-02-07.
  2. "Speakers – Toronto Screenwriting Conference". 2011. Archived from the original on January 18, 2012.
  3. "Pen Densham". Retrieved July 16, 2015.
  4. Frank Garcia; Mark Phillips (10 December 2008). Science Fiction Television Series, 1990-2004: Histories, Casts and Credits for 58 Shows. McFarland. pp. 169–. ISBN 978-0-7864-9183-4.
  5. Gary Westfahl (1 January 2005). The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy: Themes, Works, and Wonders. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 1193–. ISBN 978-0-313-32953-1.
  6. "Outer Limits Books". Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  7. "Outer Limits, The (New) - Season 2 (CAN) Review". at the Wayback Machine.
  8. Sparky. "Customer Review". Retrieved 2016-11-03.
  9. Buck Naked. "Customer Review". Retrieved 2016-11-03.
  10. "'The Outer Limits' Movie in the Works From MGM, Scott Derrickson (Exclusive)". Hollywood Reporter.
  11. Child, Ben (20 June 2014). "Cult classic The Outer Limits to invade cinemas with big-screen revival". The Guardian.
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