Night Gallery Headed for a Blu-ray Release at Last
I remember when I first saw Rod Serling’s Night Gallery in its original form. Not the exact date, no, but the year: 2004. That’s when NBC Universal issued Season 1 on DVD.
Until then, Gallery fans had only one choice: the reruns that aired on Syfy (and elsewhere) in the 1980s and ’90s. They were larded with commercials, of course, but worse, they were part of the Syndication Edit. I have a link at the end to explain what I mean by that, but the upshot is that the Night Gallery I’d been watching until 2004 was a poor substitute for the episodes that first aired between 1969 and 1973.
Season 1 is the shortest, though: only six hour-long episodes. Sure, the DVD set included the pilot movie — and Universal tried to pad it out further by including a couple “bonus” episodes from Seasons 2 and 3 — but we’re still not talking a LOT of entertainment. And it lacked any other extras: no interviews, documentaries, or commentaries. So I was really looking forward to Season 2 coming out.
And it did … four years later, in 2008. Then Season 3 came out … four years after that, in 2012. Eight years to collect them all!
True, with the Season 2 and 3 sets, we got some extras, thanks in large measure to Scott Skelton and Jim Benson, the world’s leading Night Gallery experts: some commentaries from them and (in a pleasant surprise) director Guillermo del Toro, who’s a huge NG fan. We even got a documentary about the series hosted by Leonard Nimoy, who starred in one Season 3 episode and made his maiden directorial effort with another.
But despite some efforts to clean up the original negatives (at least toward the end of the project), the DVD presentation of Night Gallery has never been as satisfying an experience as it should have been. It has that cheap early-’70s TV look. And while some of that can’t be helped, it’s clear that none of the episodes were remastered in any way. No wonder fans kept asking: Will we ever see Night Gallery on Blu-ray?
We will indeed, I’m happy to (finally) say. Kino-Lorber has announced that Season 1 will be released on November 23.
Even better, it’s packed with extras. According to KL, we’ll get:
- Brand NEW 2K Master for the 2-Hour Pilot and Six Season 1 Episodes
- NEW Audio Commentary for the PILOT by Screenwriter/Historian Gary Gerani
- NEW Audio Commentary for THE DEAD MAN/THE HOUSEKEEPER by Night Gallery Authors/Historians Jim Benson and Scott Skelton
- NEW Audio Commentary for ROOM WITH A VIEW/THE LITTLE BLACK BAG/THE NATURE OF THE ENEMY by Night Gallery Authors/Historians Jim Benson and Scott Skelton
- NEW Audio Commentary for THE HOUSE/CERTAIN SHADOWS ON THE WALL by Film Historian Tim Lucas
- NEW Audio Commentary for THE HOUSE/CERTAIN SHADOWS ON THE WALL by Author/Historian Amanda Reyes
- NEW Audio Commentary for MAKE ME LAUGH/CLEAN KILLS AND OTHER TROPHIES by Filmmaker/Historian Constantine Nasr and Night Gallery Book Publisher Taylor L. White
- NEW Audio Commentary for PAMELA’S VOICE/LONE SURVIVOR/THE DOLL by Novelist/Critic Kim Newman and Writer/Editor Stephen Jones
- NEW Audio Commentary for THEY’RE TEARING DOWN TIM RILEY’S BAR/THE LAST LAUREL by Film Historian Craig Beam
- THE SYNDICATION CONUNDRUM: A Look at the Show’s Troubled Second Life in Reruns – A NEW Featurette by Film Historian Craig Beam
- Episode Guide Insert Booklet
- Optional English Subtitles
I wish they were putting the whole series out at once, but Kino-Lorber is a very professional outfit. I doubt it will take long for the other sets to follow, particularly if sales are strong for Season 1. Judging by how popular the recent Night Gallery art book has proven to be, I’m optimistic, but still: If you’re a fan, or just someone curious to see what all the fuss is about, don’t wait to buy your copy.
Unfortunately, I can’t give you a price or a link just yet, but I’m sure it won’t be long. So stay tuned, art lovers: Your patience will soon be rewarded …
To learn more about the Syndication Edit, click here.
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Hope to see you in some corner of the fifth dimension soon!