DVD
The Outer Limits
Sex and Science Fiction Collection

Starring: Neil Patrick Harris, Natasha Henstridge, Alyssa Milano, William Sadler, Fred Savage and Richard Thomas
MGM
RRP: 15.99
10005399 MZ1
Certificate: 18
Available 11 April 2005


In six stories from the deepest inner mind, a chaste young woman develops a deadly sexual appetite; a lonely paraplegic allows a robot to be his companion; the last man on Earth interacts with holograms controlled by a beautiful computer interface; a student's new girlfriend is a dead ringer for a woman his father rescued from a military experiment 20 years earlier; a mentally challenged boy is the last person unaffected by a strange madness; and a man with an inoperable cancer risks an experimental remedy...

This themed double-disc set features the episodes Caught in the Act, Valerie 23, Bits of Love, Last Supper, From Within and The New Breed.

Despite its title, only three episodes in this collection - Caught in the Act, Valerie 23 and Bits of Love - deal primarily with sexual relationships, though they all include some sexual content. Last Supper is only here because of the jealousy that erupts between father (Peter Onorati) and son (Fred Savage), while From Within concerns the release of human inhibitions in general, and The New Breed deals with evolution more than anything else.

Nevertheless, this is a stronger set of episodes than its companion volume, Aliens Among Us, in spite of the rather exploitative cheap thrills offered up by Caught in the Act.

Easily the best storylines are those of Valerie 23 and The New Breed. While admittedly pretty hokey, they are both also gripping. Valerie 23 even manages to overcome the fact that you can tell from a mile away that Valerie (Sofia Shinas) will turn into a complete rabbit-boiler. Her possessive love for Frank (William Sadler) isn't even a technical glitch: it's part of the intended design! One of her programmers happily informs us that Valerie is capable of a full range of human emotions, including jealousy. D'oh!

By contrast, when the cancer-ridden Andy (Peter Outerbridge) injects himself with a potential but untested cure-all, it really is a case of "What's the worst that can happen?" Well, just like in the Dr Pepper commercials, things do get worse, in the most horrific and imaginative ways. The events are underscored by some particularly dramatic music by John Van Tongeren.

As you can see from the "Starring" line at the top of this review, there are guest stars a-plenty in this collection. In addition to leading roles played by a pre-Charmed Alyssa Milano in Caught in the Act, a pre-Roswell William Sadler in Valerie 23, Species star Natasha Henstridge in Bits of Love, Fred Savage (The Wonder Years) in Last Supper, Doogie Howser's Neil Patrick Harris in From Within and Richard Thomas (The Waltons, Battle Beyond the Stars) in The New Breed, X-Files fans will also spot more minor roles by Lone Gunman Bruce Harwood in Valerie 23 and Scully's mum Sheila Larkin in Bits of Love.

The only additional feature is a five-minute analysis of the DVD's themes, but with so much episodic material to enjoy and at such a low price, this volume doesn't really need any sexing up.

Richard McGinlay

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£11.99 (Amazon.co.uk)
   
£13.49 (MVC.co.uk)
   
£10.99 (Powerplaydirect.com)

All prices correct at time of going to press.