Twilight Zone 
"Eye of the Beholder"

When I was growing up, there were three great sci-fi/horror television shows. Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, and Night Gallery.

It's no surprise that two of these three shows were from the Emmy award winning Rod Serling. Considered the 'angry young man' in Hollywood through the 50's, he fought constantly with the censors while working on the show Playhouse 90. He wanted social commentary, current events and relevant topics in his scripts - the network censors wanted a dramatic version of Ozzie and Harriet.

Win a couple Emmy's, make some serious green, and suddenly people start to listen. Of course, even with his success he still couldn't do all that he wanted - until he stumbled on fantasy and sci-fi. He found that by writing about people, places and events that were considered 'fantastical', he could write hard hitting commentary on any subject - racism, bigotry, hatred, corruption, facism, you name it. And so his first series, completely under his control, was born: The Twilight Zone.

Outer Limits went on to do more monsters, and Night Gallery was far more horrific, but TZ was a ground breaking show. Now Sideshow Toy is producing a series of figures based on various memorable episodes.

There was one episode in particular that haunted me. It's probably a Night Gallery in all reality - hey, I was a little kid, and both shows had this same guy puffing away at the start and end, so they all kind of ran together in my head. This episode was about a guy washing a spider down the drain. Every time he did, it crawled back up, bigger each time, until finally, we see in shadows on the wall this monstrously huge spider reaching out to eat this guy's eyeballs. Eight Legged Freaks could never manage this level of out right heart pounding fear. The show scared the hell out of me.

Years later, I washed a spider down a bathroom drain. And he crawled back up. And I swear on God's Mother's grave, he was bigger. If someone had been ready with a stop watch, I'm sure I'd be in the world record books in the 100 yard dash carrying a load in your shorts category.

The first set of figures is based on one of the best known Twilight Zone episodes, Eye of the Beholder. In this episode, a woman has undergone plastic surgery in a final attempt to make her horrific appearance acceptable to society. If the operation fails, she'll be sent to a colony of outcasts. It's called Los Angeles.

The faces of everyone are shrouded in shadows and mystery. When the big unveiling occurs, the young woman, played by Donna Douglas (famous as Ellie Mae on Beverly Hillbillies), is beautiful. That is until the camera reveals the faces of the doctor and nurses around here, all ugly as sin. Yes, it's an obvious ploy, but so well written that it still works today.

These two figures are of the Doctor and the Nurse, as seen in this classic Twilight Zone episode. While some of the photos are in black and white, the figures are full color of course.

Packaging - ****
Sideshow produces some of the very best packaging in the business. The recent Hogan's Heroes figures weren't quite as nice, but they've bounced back with this single box for these two figures.

The graphics are excellent, with scenes taken right from the episode on both the front and back. These scenes are given a glossy finish, and against the matte finish of the rest of the box, they look like little mini-screens.

There's also a ton of text, detailing the show in general, and this episode in particular. Sideshow has really done their homework, and it shows. On top of all that, the package is collector friendly, and you can easily remove both figures and put them back for storage later if you so desire.

Unfortunately, my box came smashed up a bit, since it was packed in a box only slightly bigger. That's not a major problem, but I would have liked to use the front flap of the box as a backdrop to the figures. There is one complaint however, and with it goes a warning.

Both heads are tightly held in place by the bubble, a pretty common practice. However, the Nurse's jaw is so tightly clamped in that the bubble left small dents in her face on both sides. I have also heard from people who damaged her face by pulling her out without crushing the bubble away from her face first. Be very careful when you remove her to cause the least damage possible.

Sculpting - ****
Yowza! Both sculpts look dead on to the source material, and highlight early monster makeup at it's best. The hat is sculpted on the nurse, which works fine in this situation. It looks great, and you don't have to worry about damaging it as you would a fabric hat.

I can't under emphasize how good these sculpts are, because they are the true key with these figures. The outfits are pretty basic, as are the accessories. The success of these two figures completely hinged on how well Sideshow captured the facial look of these memorable characters, and they did an excellent job.

There's nothing new with the hand sculpts, but they can both hold the limited accessories.

Paint - ****
I mentioned it plenty of times in the past, but it's worth repeating again - a poor sculpt can be greatly improved by terrific paint ops, and an excellent sculpt can be completely ruined by poor ones. Thank goodness that's not the case here.

The paint ops are clean and neat, and the skin tone on the face (always a tricky area) is consistent and correct. I particularly like the dark around the eyes, and both faces have tons of expression and personality.

Articulation - ***1/2
I have no real complaints on the articulation, although the Nurse's body is the very think 'Buffy bod' they used in the previous BTVS line. While a slightly thicker woman (her arms and legs are quite thin) would have been nice, the use of this body is not that visually conflicting.

For those that aren't aware, Sideshow has one of the best sixth scale bodies on the market, with ball jointed neck, ball jointed shoulders, cut joint biceps, double jointed elbows and knees, chest and waist joints, hips, cut joint thighs, ankles, and a unique wrist joint that allows for a tremendous range of motion.

Accessories - **1/2
I think this is the weakest score I've ever given a Sideshow figure in this category. Normally, the accessories abound and are excellent. This time, they are still well done, just in very short supply.

There are three, plus stands for both figures. The three accessories include a stethoscope, re-used from the Young Frankenstein line, a very small pile of bandages, and a hypodermic. The hypo is the winner of the set, and it fits fairly well into the right hand of the Nurse. The bandages are the weakest, being so small as to almost get lost in the large packaging.

Even a couple more re-used items, like the scalpel, would have helped this score. The stands are nice, but suffer from the same problem as the last several - too short. The arm has a hard time reaching all the way to the doctor's waist, and it's definitely stretched as far as it will go.

Outfit - ***1/2
It could be argued that there's not too much you can screw up on basic outfits like this, but I think that's an oversimplified view of things. You still can do a poor job with tailoring, sewing, hemming, and even a basic design still requires putting in enough thought to match up with the source material.

None of that is a problem here. The quality is excellent, and the uniforms fit the figures perfectly. I particularly like the Nurses' white hose and shoes, which are sporting a terrific new sculpt. Thank goodness Sideshow sticks to the source material, rather than their own personal interpretation.

I'm counting the watch on the Doctor as part of his outfit, although you could easily argue it's an accessory as well.  Either way, it's a fairly decent representation, although it appears a bit modern for the era.

Value - ***
As always, this depends on where you pick it up. At the SRP of $70 for the pair, it's a better value than some of Sideshow's other recent releases, which are often $40 each. Still, at that high of a price, additional accessories are really important.

Overall - ***1/2
With great sculpting, nice outfits, and the usual great packaging and articulation, these are close to perfect. Some additional, yet sensible accessories would have put this set over the top.

If you're a big fan of the original series, I really recommend checking these out. With a continued series of figures coming out - they have pictures up of the Kanamit from 'To Serve Man', the Gremlin from 'Nightmare at 20,000 Feet', and the Invader from 'The Invaders' - you'll have an opportunity to put together an excellent display of some of the coolest early monsters ever produced.

Where to Buy - 
I haven't seen these at any bricks and mortar stores yet, although the Musicland family (Musicland, Sam Goody, Media Play, On Cue) are likely candidates. Online:

- Sideshow themselves of course.  Retail is $70 for the pair plus shipping. The big advantage here is that you'll get them right away, since they are shipping them. (MROTW Affiliate)

- Entertainment Earth has a better price at $65 for the pair plus shipping, and the have them in stock. (MROTW affiliate)

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

This page copyright 2003, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Hosted by 1 Hour