Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Thirty years after the cancellation of the landmark science fiction-fantasy anthology The Outer Limits, the property was revived in a full-color, state-of-the-art version by cable's Showtime network. Debuting March 26, 1995, the new Outer Limits emulated the old by utilizing a narrator known only as The Control Voice ("There is nothing wrong with your television set...do not attempt to adjust the picture...we are controlling transmission") Because original narrator Vic Perrin had passed away in 1989, it fell to Kevin Conway to provide the offscreen openings and closings of each hour-long episode. Surprisingly (given the remarkable advances in the art of special effects since 1965), the revived Outer Limits downplayed effects in favor of human interrelations and suspense. This was partly due to the fact that the new series, filmed in Canada, was produced on an extremely limited budget. For the most part, however, the decision to avoid special effects unless they were dramatically justified was because the producers felt that space aliens and other monstrosities had become rather commonplace by 1995, and they hoped to set their series apart from what had become the norm. In most cases, two separate versions of each episode were filmed. The rawer, less censorially restricted version was seen first-run on Showtime, while the less explicit version was prepared for commercial TV syndication. (This practice was followed on such other dual-market series as The Hitchhiker and Sex and the City.) Generally, the new Outer Limits avoided remakes of the classic episodes from the original version. There were, however, three noteworthy exceptions: season one's "I Robot," with Leonard Nimoy repeating the role he'd first essayed 31 years earlier; season three's "Feasability Study," originally filmed in 1964; and season five's "The Inheritors," a one-hour abridgement of a 1964 two-parter. Showtime had so much faith in the new Outer Limits that the network commissioned two seasons worth of episodes (44 in all) before the series even made its first appearance. This show of confidence paid off; Outer Limits proved to be one of the cable network's most popular series, lasting six seasons and 132 episodes. After departing Showtime in 2000, the series was renewed for a final 22 episodes by another cable outlet, the Sci Fi Channel.