Night Gallery: Season Two Blu-ray Review: The Gallery Expands

If you started your Night Gallery Blu-ray collection with the Season One set (as I reviewed here), the first thing you’ll likely notice is a big jump in price for Season Two. That’s not an indicator of inflation, but rather the much larger episode count for the second season. Where Season One contained just six episodes and the pilot, Season Two expands to 22 hour-long episodes, increasing the run time of this new set to a whopping 1175 minutes, or nearly three times the length of the Season One set. Kino Lorber still managed to fit the new 5-disc collection into a single-size Blu-ray case, although its depth expands a bit to Criterion/Arrow size versus the standard depth of the first season.

Although Serling’s creative control was hampered in this season due to the meddlings of producer Jack Laird, the show still attracted an incredible roster of acting talent to bring the anthology tales to screen, including Orson Welles, Vincent Price, Leslie Nielsen, Yaphet Kotto, Patty Duke, Joel Grey, and David Carradine. The stories range from supernatural to merely suspenseful, with occasional goofy humor even making its way in, such as when Cesar Romero plays a vampire and goes to a blood bank for a loan. Even without Serling’s firm guidance, the second series is an impressive success sure to provide plenty of thrills.

As with the first set, this new collection presents the episodes in HD for the first time as sourced from 2K scans of the interpositives. The episodes appear to retain their original subdued but still full-spectrum color palette minus the overall brownish effect present in syndication and DVDs, ensuring that they look better than their original broadcast, especially without the antenna snow and interference most viewers endured before cable became mainstream. The image quality is remarkably clean with just occasional specks, not from any apparent restoration efforts but likely the well-preserved condition of the original interpositives.

In addition to the increased episode count, the new Blu-ray set also includes a hefty 32 audio commentary tracks from luminaries including Guillermo del Toro, John Badham, actress Laurie Prange, and a slew of film historians. Even better than the audio commentaries is a half-hour video featurette called “Revisiting the Gallery: A Look Back” including interviews with actors Lindsay Wagner and Pat Boone, assorted episode directors including Badham, and other crew members and historians. Following up on an informative feature from the first set regarding the changes needed to bring the hour-long series to half-hour syndication, historian Craig Beam picks up his story with further details on the specific changes needed for Season Two, including video comparisons of the alterations. There’s also an in-depth look at the paintings commissioned for each episode, 19 TV spots newly mastered in HD, and perhaps the most intriguing bonus: four “lost tales” from Season Two, two of which were produced but not aired, one which was replaced with another story after its debut broadcast, and another that was shortened by six minutes for broadcast but presented in full here.

The new Blu-ray set is essential for all fans of the series and/or Rod Serling’s overall work. While it doesn’t carry Serling’s sterling touch to the extent of The Twilight Zone due to his limited creative control, the hits far outweigh the rare misses and the bonus features provide a wealth of fascinating supplemental information.

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Steve Geise

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