"Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I kinda like ya, Tomorrow!"
J. A. Hazelwood | Frederick, MD USA | 03/09/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I reviewed the previous DVD volume of Tales of Tomorrow last year, and I gave a very favorable critique. I said it was a fascinating window into early television and early science fiction and that I was greatly looking forward to another installment. However, after watching this new second volume, I'm afraid I didn't quite feel the same sense of wonder and enjoyment that I did before. The proceedings felt less fresh and innovative and the plots seemed unwieldy, like they were just treading water. Am I too cynical? Did the novelty just wear off? What exactly happened? Today I'm taking a closer look into "Tomorrow" in order to find out.
Over all, I really do feel that this set of collected episodes just didn't pass muster with me. Two episodes, "Dark Angel" and "The Children's Room", have nearly identical plots about a new race of preternaturally powerful men and women born from ordinary Homo sapiens (As a dedicated fan of the X-Men, you have to work really hard to impress me with stories like that). Then there's "Time to Go" which involves a humorless woman storing her spare time in a bank (No, seriously). After that there's "The Duplicates" which is about an engineer from Jupiter who's ordered to murder his clone on Earth (No, seriously) and it features a wacky surprise twist ending that anyone can deduce after watching the first three minutes. In three separate shows you can witness Earth's triumph against the "Plague from Space", the horrible "Red Dust" from space, and the "Dune Roller", an evil moving rock, from space (perhaps if they had all joined forces with the "Ice from Space" from the last volume, they just might have prevailed). It's a pretty sorry bunch, to be sure.
Not every show is a downer, though. "The Crystal Egg", which is apparently adapted from a short story by H.G. Wells, is a rather terse thriller about a college professor who discovers that a crystal trinket from his friend's curio shop is actually a portal into an alien world (but how it got to the shop and why the aliens suddenly want it back is not explained). "The Golden Ingot" tells a tale of familial love and desperation and comes complete with a real O. Henry-style kick at the end. Lastly, "Appointment on Mars" is a Twilight Zone-caliber emotional drama which I'd call the far-and-away best installment in this set. I won't ruin any of the plot for you, except to say that star Leslie Nielsen does not play a bumbling incompetent buffoon with a name like Dick Dix (and how often does that happen anymore?).
I guess my final verdict is that while I still greatly respect the fact that I'm seeing such a venerably old TV milestone as clearly as when it first aired, this second volume is quite a bit poorer than the last. Many of the plots are recycled in other episodes, plus I was admittedly getting tired of seeing the same two commercials about watchband and carpet companies that are likely out of business now (fortunately you can skip them through the scene selection) and I was really hoping to see some documentaries or extras that just aren't here. I will however apologize for razzing the line misreads in my last review and claiming that the creators "weren't big advocates for reshoots" as I did not realize that the shows were actually shot live until I read BillfromCalif's adjoining review. I suppose that would also explain all those long fades-to-black that intersect every scene change. Mea culpa.
Regardless, I still think that Tales of Tomorrow V2 is a good buy for classic TV and sci-fi fans, but if you only have enough capital for one set, I'd stick with the first. See you next time, everybody."
A change to time travel
Bill from CA | California | 12/20/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This collection, and it's predecessor Collection 1, are extremely interesting artifacts from the early days of television. These are sci-fi stories, performed live, without special effects, but with real stories and lots of character development.
Many of the episodes also include the original commercials, so when you're watching the DVD, you're viewing what people saw in its entirety when these things first aired, which was over fifty years ago.
One word of caution, don't go into this DVD with expectations of the modern sci-fi experience. This is NOT Star Wars. In fact, it is closer in execution to The Twilight Zone, although this series preceeded TZ by a few years. But even at that, since this series was done live, there are occaisional mistakes that the actors make, so if you're one who likes flawless execution, acting, and FX, this probably isn't your cup of tea. On the other hand, if you like watching actors quickly recover, and like a sense of sponeity in your viewing, this might be worth your time.
So if you want to travel back in time to prime time in 1951, this DVD is a vehicle going to that destination."
Tomorrow as today's yesterday
Annie Van Auken | Planet Earth | 10/01/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Pioneering sci-fi TV series TALES OF TOMORROW aired 85 episodes between 8/3/51 and 9/13/53 on the ABC-TV network. These half-hour stories often featured many famous Hollywood stars (like Thomas Mitchell and Gene Lockhart) as well as some just beginning to make a name for themselves (Leslie Nielsen, James Doohan). Special effects, props and scenery are minimal, yet this space-themed forerunner of TWILIGHT ZONE, THE OUTER LIMITS (and so many others) has a charm all its own.
The dozen chapters on collection #2 are all from season #1. Also available is TALES OF TOMORROW, COLLECTION 3 which contains 14 season two shows.
CONTENTS include titles, original airdates and principal actors.
The Dark Angel (9/28/51) - Sidney Blackmer/Meg Mundy/Donald Briggs/Mel Ruick
The Crystal Egg (10/12/51) - Thomas Mitchell/Edgar Stehli/Josephine Brown/Sally Gracie/Gage Clark
The Search for the Flying Saucer (11/9/51) - Maurice Manson/Olive Deering/Vaughan Taylor
The Invader (12/21/51) - Eva Gabor/Edgar Stehli/William Eythe/Salem Ludwig/Farrell Pelly
The Dune Roller (1/4/52) - Bruce Cabot/Nancy Coleman/Nelson Olmstead/Lee Graham/Truman Smith/Virginia Gilmore
The Children's Room (2/29/52) - Una O'Connor/Lisa Ayers/Terry Greene/Clare Luce/Charles Kenny/Grant Roberts
Plague From Space (4/25/52) - Gene Raymond/James Doohan/Phillip Pine/Harry Landers/Alex Alexander
Red Dust (5/2/52) - Lex Barker/Fred Stewart/Robert Patten/Skedge Miller
The Golden Ingot (5/9/52) - Gene Lockhart/Monica Lovett/David McKay/Theo Goetz
Appointment on Mars (6/27/52) - Leslie Nielsen/Brian Keith/William Redfield
The Duplicates (7/4/52) - Darren McGavin/Patricia Ferris/Alexander Lockwood/Cameron Prud'Homme
Ahead of His Time (7/18/52) - Paul Tripp/Ruth Enders/Theo Goetz/Joy Hathaway/Arthur Tell"