The Outer Limits
In five chapters, The Outer Limitsmakes a case for the show's deployment of gothic melodrama and science fiction tropes, unique televisual characteristics, and creative adaptation of many cultural sources to interrogate the relationship between humans and technology in a way that continues to influence contemporary debate in such shows as Star Trek, The X-Files, and Black Mirror. Underlying the arguments is the eerie notion of The Outer Limits as a disruptive force on television at the time, purposely making audiences uncomfortable. For example, in its iconic opening credit sequence a disembodied "Control Voice" claims to be taking over the television as images mimic signal interference. Other themes convey Cold War paranoia, ambivalence about the Kennedy era "New Frontier," and anxiety about the burgeoning military-industrial-governmental complex. The book points out that The Outer Limits presaged what came to be known as "quality" television. While most episodes followed the lowbrow tradition of televised science fiction by adapting previously published stories and films, the series elevated the genre by rearticulating it through themes and images drawn from myth, literature, and the art film.
The Outer Limits is lucid yet accessible, well researched and argued, with enlightening discussions of specific episodes even as it gives attention to broader television history and theory. It will be of special interest to scholars and students of television and media studies, as well as fans of science fiction.
About the Author
"Morreale's focus on the relationship between humans and technology in The Outer Limits illuminates the extent to which science fiction and horror continue to function as vessels of critical social commentary. Students and scholars of television history will benefit from this accessible and engaging book, which both successfully positions The Outer Limits as a television milestone and situates the show as an exemplar of the evolution of televisual form and production."—Drew Ayers, Associate Professor of Film, Eastern Washington University
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