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The Outer Limits, Classic Science Fiction with a Few Lessons Thrown In
To most people science fiction is a genre dedicated to space ships, aliens or an asteroid that will bring mankind to extinction. Not very many people think of science fiction as great way to learn valuable lessons about the meaning of life.
Parables from the great beyond.
Yet there was a program, "The Outer Limits" that was dedicated to using science fiction to teach valuable lessons about our existence. The different episodes dealt with universal truths in a way that would really make you think about the message. Each episode would start with a message spoken by the control voice. Then there’s a story, where the viewer gets to see and explore the extreme situations, where that message would be relevant. At the end, the control voice would conclude the episode, with a wise teaching. There you have it, a parable from the outer reaches of the universe.
One of my favorite episodes was titled “The New Breed” which aired back in 1995 on Showtime. “The New Breed’ really left me thinking about the evils of modern medicine. How dangerous it is to tamper with our human design, even our flaws. Another favorite episode of mine is titled “Human Operators” the message here is the need for freedom for all life forms.
I’m also liked an episode titled “Stream of Consciousness” which is about a society, in which everyone wears a brain implant, that allows them to access any information available to mankind, through a system called the stream. It’s sort of like having a direct mental connection to the World Wide Web. Ryan is the one person, who cannot access the Stream, due to an accident he suffered as a child, that left him unable to receive any input through a mental implant. He is alienated, but when a virus attacks everyone’s brain, it is Brian’s quick thinking, and ability to choose for himself, that saves those in his community. At the end, the control voice states the following: “We make tools to extend our abilities, to further our reach, and fulfill our aspirations. But we must never let them define us. For if there is no difference between tool and maker, then who will be left to build the world?”
The Original Outer Limits first aired in 1963 – 1965. The episodes were in black and white and did not have the special effects that the new and revive version of the show had. However, even back then the stories were thought provoking and amazing. Suddenly in 1995, "The Outer Limits" was given a new lease on life. It was first aired on Showtime with the first episode, titled Sandkings. After a successful first season, the show went on for six more seasons. It later aired on the Sci-fi Channel during its sixth and seventh season. The show ended in January 2002. It ran 154 episodes. Like its 1960’s predecessor, it used the control voice, which is one of the features, that distinguishes this unique program. The intro had been changed a few times. I really liked the intros they used, they were so surrealistic. The best thing about The Outer Limits, were the stories and their unique perspectives. There were episodes that dealt with certain attitudes and prejudices, other episodes dealt with relationships, some episodes even dealt with religion and the meaning of life. There is so much wisdom to be gleaned from this show and it is also very entertaining.
If you are interested in getting more information on this unique program, here is a link to a website that has episode information. http://epguides.com/OuterLimits_1995/