Thursday, December 30, 2010

Video Christmas Gifts

My favorite Christmas presents are the first two seasons of Rod Serling's NIGHT GALLERY on DVD. Of course, I'm a fan of THE TWILIGHT ZONE, especially the under-appreciated season of one-hour episodes. NIGHT GALLERY, however, surpassed the earlier series in one way by including so many adaptations of classic and pulp-era horror stories: "Silent Snow, Secret Snow"; H. P. Lovecraft's "Cool Air" and "Pickman's Model"; Manly Wade Wellman's vampire tale "The Devil Is Not Mocked" among others (in seasons one and two alone). I can't fathom why the other seasons haven't been offered on DVD but only in VHS tape "collector's editions" not arranged by season (none of those being sold new anymore, naturally). Still, I'm thrilled to have these first two boxed sets. How different from the days when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, before home video, when all fans could do was wait and hope for reruns of their favorite shows. Now we can have most of them for the asking. Almost magic!

Also on the subject of holiday movie treats, I saw the film of VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER, which I found much more satisfactory, from the viewpoint of a Narnia devotee, than PRINCE CASPIAN. In brief, the visual effects in DAWN TREADER are dazzling, as in all the movies, and I didn't mind the shuffling around of the order of the incidents too much, since the original novel is episodic to begin with. The BBC home video adaptation from many years ago, however, follows the book much more faithfully. It also includes much of the novel's dialogue that the movie omits, although the film does include Aslan's comment to Lucy and Edmund about his having "another name" in our world, unaccountably left out of the BBC version. Yes, I know movies and books are different media, etc., etc., but I'm a book person at heart; my ideal Narnia movie would have the big-screen effects combined with the plot fidelity of the older videos.

Happy New Year! (And, as Col. Potter says in one episode of MASH, "may she be a durn sight better than the last one.")

Margaret L. Carter
Carter's Crypt

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