I’m referring to the original series, circa 1963-64. I have never seen the new series, but have heard it is rather lame. When I first saw the original series I was in my formative years of 11-13. I remember reading a review of the series back then that made the point that the monsters weren’t bad, unlike traditional monsters. Indeed the series was not really a monster show, like Chiller Theater from around the same time. Instead it was rather thought provoking, with some good science fiction themes, even if occasionally it’s moralizing would be rather hamhanded. Many of the episodes were quite familiar on second viewing, after so many years. The show clearly made a big impression on me in my younger days. One of the fascinating aspects of watching it again is seeing the unknown actors who later became more famous. An example is Martin Landau and a very young and attractive Sally Kellerman in “The Bellero Shield.” Robert Culp appears in several episodes, including the horrifying “Architects of Fear.” Some episodes are actually quite prophetic, such as “O.B.I.T.”, in which a machine that can spy on anyone at any time is the main plot item — anticipating a world that seems a lot closer to reality now than it was then. Some of the special effects are unique, to say the least. The weird human-faced bugs (realized with stop-motion photography) of “The Zanti Misfits” come to mind. It’s funny that some of the episodes I enjoyed the most as a kid I still find fascinating, even though I recognize as an adult that they are not the best of the series. The bee-girl of “ZZZZZZ” comes across as completely alien without any significant special effects — a creature at once attractive and repellent. The amusement park ride that really is a flying saucer is another one I love (“Second Chance”). I am that kid in the picture below that wants to believe it is all real. The seasons ends with an amazing and chilling gothic episode: “The Forms of Things Unknown.” David McCallum is in this one, as well as the excellent “The Sixth Finger,” in a pre-“Man From Uncle” role. The stark black and white camera work, including weird angles and high contrast lighting, are wonderful in this last episode, as they are throughout the series. Certainly an episode like this and most of the series stand up very well as great television even today.
The bee-girl from “ZZZZZZ”
The space stewardess (no flight attendants in those days) and one of my contemporaries on the flying saucer amusement park ride from “Second Chance”