Night Gallery – The Return of the Sorcerer (S3E1)

nightgallery01Another time-warp entry in the “Complete First Season” collection.  This one is the premiere episode from Season 3 and I am struck immediately with bad news and good news and bad news.

  • Bad news:  Seeing there was a single title for this episode, I feared a 60-minute slog padded out by Serling-penned monologues.
  • Good news:  The episode was cut down to a 30-minute slog.
  • Bad news: Nothing could ever match the iconic TZ theme, but the original NG theme was more than adequate; the new 3rd season theme is dreadful.

Bill Bixby answers an ad placed by Vincent Price to translate an old text.  Price gives him a month’s salary up front to move into the mansion and begin translating immediately.

Bixby gets his gear and Price’s 33 years-younger wife Fern shows him to his room, then lays a kiss on him.  The actress is pretty much a blank with empty, dead eyes; she had a pretty good run in TV, though, so maybe it was acting.

ngsorcerer03Frankly, the whole thing gets pretty tedious.  Other people have rated it highly, though, so it might just be that I was never a Vincent Price fan.

The episode looks great with lots of deep reds and and blacks.  The atmosphere is solidly established by the mansion and candles.  There is also a lot of smoke swirling through the hallways.  Yes, it ‘s atmospheric, but when I see smoke inside a house, I call the fire department.  Outside, in a ghost story, it makes sense, but this is just goofy.  Bixby and Price are both great in their roles.  Sadly, Fern drags the show down a notch.

ngsorcerer04Just not much here to keep me interested.  OK, the goat at the dinner table was pretty good.

Post-Post:

  • TZ Legacy:  None.  Maybe this reflects Serling’s continuing loss of influence in the 3rd season.
  • The Fern character is not in the short story.

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