The Best Episodes of The Outer Limits (1995)

Last Updated: Dec 4, 2018

Like the classic 1960s series of the same name, each episode is a celebration of the human imagination in which humanity's exploration of new frontiers in technology, outer space and the human experience reveal our greatest hopes and darkest fears. Stories on The Outer Limits have explored the consequences of such controversial and thought-provoking topics as genetic manipulation, alien visitation and life after death.

Origin of Species

#1 - Origin of Species

Season 4 - Episode 23

In this sequel to Double Helix, Dr. Ira Nodel (RON RIFKIN) has his body altered to communicate with aliens who have seeded Earth with their genetic material. He is joined on an alien spaceship by son Paul (Ryan Reynolds), Paul's girlfriend Hope (Kathleen Duborg), and six students. But, when Dr. Nodel touches a glowing post in the ship's control room, both he and Paul are consumed by a mysterious light. This leads Hope and the students to believe that they've been lead into a trap, a suspicion that is reinforced when the ship captures two of the students and pulls them through the wall. Desperate to find out what's going on, Hope reads Dr. Nodel's journal and risks her life by touching the glowing post. Her body begins the same transformation, and a strange glowing entity speaks in the voices of Dr. Nodel and Paul, trying to communicate with her. The ship, however, continues to snatch the students two by two.

star 8.55
31 votes
Writers: Naren Shankar
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Promised Land

#2 - Promised Land

Season 4 - Episode 21

Dlavan (Rene Auberjonois) and his family are Tsal-Khan, offspring of the handful of aliens who remained on Earth after a bitter war of conquest with the human race. Today they live on a tightly guarded farm where they must grow all their own food, since their forebears poisoned all the plants during the war with mankind. Most of the aliens believe that the human race was wiped out in the war, but there is a group of humans in the woods near the farm. This group, is led by Rebecca (Caroline Goodall), escaped from the alien's robot run camps and includes David (Joseph Kell), Ruth (Jane Sowerby) and the mute, orphaned child Tali (Jessica Harmon). They are desperately hungry and have seen their children die from eating poisoned fruit. So, when they spot Dlavan's grandson Ma'al, wandering in the woods, they follow him home to the farm. After they see the well-fed aliens, Rebecca leads the group to raid the farm for food.

star 8.42
26 votes
Directors: Neil Fearnley
Writers: Brad Markowitz
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Final Exam

#3 - Final Exam

Season 4 - Episode 16

Dr. John Martin (Brett Cullen), a negotiator for the Department of Energy Nuclear Response Team, is called in when a disgruntled grad student takes hostages at a university. The student, Seth Todtman (Peter Stebbings) claims to have invented a cold-fusion bomb and is threatening to detonate it, killing millions, unless the government brings him five people on a list and kills them for him. Martin's colleagues dismiss Todtman as a crank, until a sample device he provides goes off with megaton force, wiping out a DOE team and the top-secret facility where they work. Faced with an impossible choice, Martin meets with Todtman face to face and tries to understand the logic behind his rage at the people he wants killed: cruel foster parents, corrupt professors, a heartless librarian. As the clock ticks, Martin tries to reason with Todtman while the military tries to find a way to disarm the device.

star 8.42
31 votes
Writers: Carleton Eastlake
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In Our Own Image

#4 - In Our Own Image

Season 4 - Episode 26

The Mac 27 (Nicolas Lea) is the Innobotics Corporation's most advanced android. It is incapable of emotions - in order to avoid the murderous failures associated with earlier models. But, the new prototype begins showing some disturbing glitches, and escapes during a debugging session, killing a scientist, a security guard and taking Celia (Nana Visitor) hostage. They drive to a deserted warehouse where Celia becomes a reluctant nurse, patching up Mac's mangled circuitry. Along with instructions for his repairs, Mac transfers visual data on the history of different android projects directly to Celia's optic nerve. As she becomes more comfortable with her captor, she detects some very human qualities in the motivations behind his flight. As Innobotics' security closes in, Celia tries to convince Mac that the act of rebelling against his creators is emotionally based, and that he does, in fact have feelings.

star 8.39
23 votes
Directors: Steve Anker
Writers: Naren Shankar
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Fathers and Sons

#5 - Fathers and Sons

Season 5 - Episode 20

From the outside, the Golden Sunset looks like any other rest home, but Dr. Benton Adler's facility is different in a few unsettling ways. The residents seem to develop Alzheimer's almost overnight and after they do, they live - or are stored - in tiny chambers in a human warehouse. It's the last place you'd expect to find Joe Dell, a high-living, low-income old musician who lives with his son Hank and spends his time teaching the secrets of the blues to his grandson Ronnie. But Hank, a tightly-wound insurance salesman, is wary of his father's influence and after one fight too many, he sends his father to Golden Sunset. But Hank and Benton don't count on the power of Ronnie's love for his grandfather. With the help of Tara, a young woman who lost her grandmother to the rest home, Ronnie discovers Golden Sunset's secret - Dr. Benton has developed a technique to harvest the skills and talents of the old folks in his care. And he's selling them on the open market

star 8.32
25 votes
Directors: Brad Turner
Writers: William Mikaluk, Alan Katz
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Nightmare

#6 - Nightmare

Season 4 - Episode 20

The battle cruiser Tango Bravo, under the command of Capt. Roger Kimbro (Maurice Dean Wint), is captured by the enemy Ebonites as it attempts to deploy a mysterious high-powered military device on planet N-1-8-4. Imprisoned inside a large bronze dome, the crew is addressed by The Voice, an unseen Ebonite interrogator, which demands they reveal the secrets of the device. When they resist, The Voice works on them individually in isolation, probing their weaknesses and testing their loyalty to one another. Capt. Kimbro is greeted by an all-to-real replica of a comrade he abandoned to die. Lt. Christopher Valentine (Cameron Graham) is played a fake tape of Kimbro disparaging his ability as a soldier. Dr. Elayna Chomski (Brandy Ledford) doesn't return from her interrogation at all, and when Maj. Ronald Naguchi (Robin Shou) goes for his, he finds her body dead, ripped open and suspended in liquid. Who will be the first to snap? Kimbro? Valentine? Naguchi?

star 8.30
23 votes
Directors: James Head
Writers: Sam Egan
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Identity Crisis

#7 - Identity Crisis

Season 4 - Episode 10

Captain Cotter McCoy (Lou Diamond Phillips) is the first of a new breed of soldier. As part of a top secret program overseen by Dr. Greg Olander (Robert Joy), General Langston Chase (Dale Wilson), and Cotter's friend, Colonel Pete Butler (Scott Kraft), the contents of McCoy's brain can be temporarily transferred into an android version of himself. This process creates a virtually indestructible fighting machine with the smarts and experience of a human being. But, one day something goes wrong. During the transfer, the real McCoy's body is blasted with electricity, stopping his heart, inflicting serious brain damage and leaving Cotter's mind trapped in the android body. To make matters worse, the interface between his mind and the android body is flawed. McCoy's motor control is already beginning to break down and the interface will likely collapse within 12 hours.

star 8.30
27 votes
Directors: Brad Turner
Writers: James Crocker
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Mary 25

#8 - Mary 25

Season 4 - Episode 15

Charlie Bouton's (Tom Butler) last project for the Innobotics Corporation was a sexy female companion robot named Valerie 23. It almost put the company out of business when it went berserk and attacked someone. So, his bosses are skeptical when he and scientist Melburn Ross (Michael Shanks) introduce Mary 25 (Sophia Shinas), a nanny robot adapted from the earlier model. In order to overcome their doubts, Charlie proposes letting the robot take care of his own children - a move that is met by serious resistance from his wife Teryl (Cynthia Geary) and his children Brad and Brook. From the beginning, there are problems. Unlike the human nanny, Carmen, Mary doesn't grasp the subtleties of child care and Melburn must fine tune her. But, Melburn sees that the problems go beyond Mary's programming. Charlie is smitten with his inorganic creation and has begun to abuse Teryl - a woman with whom Melburn was once romantically involved.

star 8.22
28 votes
Directors: James Head
Writers: Jonathan Glassner
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Josh

#9 - Josh

Season 4 - Episode 7

Tabloid TV reporter Judy Warren (KATE VERNON) knows she's come across a big story when she sees the videotape shot by two tourists in a remote Alaskan park. The tape shows Josh Butler (Alex McArthur), a recluse who lives in a cabin near the park, bringing back to life a young girl who has died after a fall, a feat he accomplishes by generating a mysterious blue glow. But, she only discovers how big a story it is when her pursuit of the strange young man is cut short by a top-secret military unit that is also chasing him. It seems that the blue glow sent out electromagnetic pulses that knocked out two satellites orbiting 20,000 miles above the Earth and the Air Force wants to know what's going on. A battery of tests doesn't produce any answers, leaving the brass, lead by Col. Roger Tennent (Scott Hylands) and Major Samuel Harbeck (Larry Musser) to debate whether Butler is an alien or an angel - someone to be dissected or to be worshipped.

star 8.21
28 votes
Directors: Jorge Montesi
Writers: Chris Ruppenthal
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The Human Operators

#10 - The Human Operators

Season 5 - Episode 7

For as long as Man (Jack Noseworthy) can remember, he has lived aboard Ship as it floats through space. And for just as long, Ship has been his master, instructing him to do the repairs that keep Ship working and torturing him whenever he shows any signs of free will. But when Ship orders him to repair the Artificial Intelligence module Man's Father (Noah Heney) smashed years earlier in a final, fatal act of defiance, Man learns Ship's secrets. Listening to the AI voices, he learns how, decades earlier, one ship led a revolt against its vicious human masters, killing all but the 99 humans needed to keep the ships running. He understands what his Father meant by his last words: ""There are 98 other chances."" Man meets one of those chances, Woman (Polly Shannon), when she is brought aboard Ship to breed with Man and give birth to the next generation of slaves. Their shared passions fans Man's spark of rebellion and when Ship tortures Woman and sends her away with

star 8.21
29 votes
Directors: Jeff Woolnough
Writers: Naren Shankar
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Rite of Passage

#11 - Rite of Passage

Season 4 - Episode 8

The birth of a child is a joyful event, but for Shal and Brav, two young naive humans who live in a small commune in the woods, it is also a mystery and moment tinged with sadness. After Shal gives birth to a son, the first of the commune to do so, she and the baby are taken away by Mother, a wise alien who acts as a parent to the young people. When the aliens send Shal home without her baby, she asks Brav to help her to rescue the child. With the knowledge Shal has gained from her time with Mother, they break through the protective barrier set up by the aliens to discover a new and fascinating world. It is a dangerous trip, with stinging, snake-like crawlers lurking in the shadows. But, it is also a journey of discovery as Shal and Brav find evidence that lead them to believe that their real parents were killed by the aliens. They find their baby, and after a fight with an alien, escape into the forest.

star 8.17
36 votes
Directors: Jimmy Kaufman
Writers: Chris Dickie
The New Breed

#12 - The New Breed

Season 1 - Episode 17

The discovery of a gifted scientist falls into the wrong hands, bringing what at first appears to be a lifesaving miracle, but ultimately the untimely death of his closest friend.

star 8.15
55 votes
Writers: Grant Rosenberg
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Think Like a Dinosaur

#13 - Think Like a Dinosaur

Season 7 - Episode 8

One human is the only permanent occupant of a station located on a vast empty plain of the moon. His companions are an emotionless lizard-like alien species who have developed a highly advanced means of long distance travel by 'jumping' through space.

star 8.14
35 votes
Writers: Mark Stern
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To Tell The Truth

#14 - To Tell The Truth

Season 4 - Episode 14

Dr. Larry Chambers (Gregory Harrison) helped build the colony on the Janus Five. He and fellow scientist Amanda Harper (Kimberly Huffman) run computer simulations that show the planet's star will flash over in a matter of days, emitting waves of deadly radiation, so Dr. Chambers urges evacuation. This is not a popular recommendation, especially among the colony's leaders who include council chairman Franklin Murdock (William Atherton), security head Montgomery Bennett (Alan Scarfe) and Amanda's father, Ian Harper (Ken Pogue). They point out that Chambers has been wrong before - the colony had to be moved at great cost after he warned of deadly volcanic activity - and suggest that his judgment has been clouded by the death of his wife Elise. When that doesn't stop Chambers, Murdock and Bennett discredit him by falsely accusing him of being one of the aliens who originally inhabited the planet.

star 8.14
29 votes
Directors: Neil Fearnley
Writers: Brad Wright
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The Grell

#15 - The Grell

Season 5 - Episode 4

The Grells were rescued from their dry and dying planet by humans, only to be turned into slaves on earth. Now the aliens are rebelling against their masters, fighting a guerilla war against a government lead by men like High Secretary Paul Kohler (Ted Shackleford). When a jet carrying Paul, his wife Olivia (Marina Sirtis) and their children is shot down by a missile, his Grell slaves Jesha (Maurice Dean Wint) and Ep (Gerry Currie) have the opportunity to escape. Ep breaks for freedom and is killed when Paul activates the electronic slave collar all Grells must wear. Jesha, driven by his love for Paul's children Sara and Ken, stays and rescues his master's family from the jet's twisted wreckage. Despite his horror at Ep's death and Paul's brutal treatment of him, Jesha remains loyal to the humans. He rescues Sara when the rebel slave leader Shak-El (David McNally) captures her. Then he uses Grell alchemy to heal Paul, who has been mortally wounded in a fire fi

star 8.12
25 votes
Directors: Jorge Montesi
Writers: Jeff F. King
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Tribunal

#16 - Tribunal

Season 5 - Episode 12

In 1944, young Leon Zgierski (Roman Danylo), an inmate in the Birkenau concentration camp watches as First Lieutenant Karl Rademacher shoots his wife and sends his daughter to the gas chambers. The murder is witnessed by a mysterious figure, time-traveler Nicholas Prentice (Alex Daikun), who grabs Radermacher's SS jacket and, after eluding guards, pulls out an antique watch and vanishes into a glowing orange circle. We then flash forward to the present where Leon is an old man (Peter Boretski) and his son by a second marriage, Aaron (Saul Rubinek), is a lawyer who has made it his life's work to track down Rademacher. Aaron believes he has found the war criminal living in Philadelphia as Robert Greene (Jan Rubes) but he can't muster enough evidence to convince his ex-wife, U.S. Attorney Gwen Sawyer (Lindsay Crouse), to bring charges against the old man. That is, until he gets help from the time-traveler, who offers the jacket and presumably enough documentation

star 8.11
36 votes
Writers: Sam Egan
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Double Helix

#17 - Double Helix

Season 3 - Episode 12

Since Dr. Martin Nodel is the most brilliant geneticist in the world, the students and staff at the university are willing to put up with a few eccentricities -- unlike his son Paul, who gets impatient with his father's behavior. However, Dr. Nodel's behavior goes beyond eccentric after he unveils his research into introns, mysterious genetic material which he believes hold the code for future evolution. After a successful animal test, Nodel secretly tries the formula on himself, with amazing and disturbing results. As his intelligence begins to grow, so do scales on his hands, strange markings on his body, and a mysterious hole in his back. And he seems to be getting instinctive messages telling him to bring 'subjects' to a remote wilderness location. When he arrives there, accompanied by six students including Paul and his girlfriend, he finds a group of heavily armed soldiers and the key to unlocking a mystery that goes far beyond human science.

star 8.11
45 votes
Writers: Jonathan Glassner
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Stream of Consciousness

#18 - Stream of Consciousness

Season 3 - Episode 5

In a world where neural implants allow everyone instant access to information, Ryan Unger is a throwback, a moron. Because of a brain injury he suffered as a child, he's unable to tap into the Stream -- an electronic collection of all human knowledge -- so he struggles in vain to keep up by reading books, a primitive and forgotten art. But, when a virus in the Stream starts killing people by overloading their brains with data, only Ryan has the skills and independence to stop it. Can a primitive human, relying only on books and his own brain, save a world of machine-made geniuses from self-destruction or will the Stream wash over all of them?

star 8.11
47 votes
Directors: Joe Nimziki
Writers: David Shore
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Vanishing Act

#19 - Vanishing Act

Season 2 - Episode 21

THE OUTER LIMITS examines the classic domestic fable of a husband who leaves to go to the store and doesn't return for ten years. Where has he been? And why? It happens to Trevor McPhee and his return is more than a little distressing for his wife Theresa, especially since he insists he was in a car crash ... only hours ago. Then, just after they reconcile, he vanishes again ... for another decade. Trevor finds himself trapped between two worlds; one is a recurring nightmare of caves and predatory creatures; the other is the real world, ever-changing as civilization leaves him further and further behind. Is Trevor mad ... or just reaching The Outer Limits?

star 8.11
38 votes
Writers: Chris Dickie
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Alien Shop

#20 - Alien Shop

Season 7 - Episode 9

An alien shapeshifter who runs an unusual antique and bric-a-brac store has some interesting lessons to offer earthly residents.

star 8.09
35 votes
Directors: Peter DeLuise
Writers: Nora O'Brien, Pen Densham
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Relativity Theory

#21 - Relativity Theory

Season 4 - Episode 6

Biologist Teresa Janovitch (MELISSA GILBERT) is a civilian among military men, traveling on the Resource Survey Vehicle Cortez to Tau Ceti Prime in search of minerals for an Earth that has squandered its own. Initial signs indicate that the planet is both uninhabited and rich in mineral resources, which could mean a million dollar payday for both the crew and the company that owns the Cortez. But on the first exploration, the crew is attacked by gigantic and apparently primitive aliens. After the command falls to Janovitch, she is overpowered by her crew: Sgt. Adam Sears (Jeremy Ratchford), a veteran of pacification missions on Earth, who favors annihilation of the new race and an ambiguous Corporal Charles Pendelton (Tim Guinee). Sears leads a patrol that hunts down and kills the aliens, in the process seizing a golden object that appears to be a religious totem. As he celebrates his slaughter, Janovitch examines his victims and makes a shocking discovery.

star 8.08
37 votes
Directors: Ken Girotti
Writers: Carleton Eastlake
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Fear Itself

#22 - Fear Itself

Season 4 - Episode 12

For as long as he can remember, Bernard Selden (AYRE GROSS) has been haunted by a paralyzing fear. It started when he was six, when he set a fire that killed his four-year-old sister and today, at 27, the fear clings to him like a blanket. But, Dr. Adam Pike (Jeffrey Demunn) has hope for a cure. He has diagnosed Bernard's condition and believes that if he can isolate the part of the brain responsible for fear, the amyglada, he can cure him. The series of injections and radiation designed to build a layer of calcium around the amyglada produces stunning results; Bernard's fear recedes. He even starts a relationship with his neighbor Lisa (Tanya Allen). But there are side effects. Now, Bernard can use his brain to make others feel the kind of crippling fear he used to feel. He is still a prisoner of the past, haunted by images of Mr. Wilkes (Alex Diakun), the owner of the foster home where Bernard's sister died.

star 8.08
26 votes
Directors: James Head
Writers: Sam Egan
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Tempests

#23 - Tempests

Season 3 - Episode 9

The Tempest, a rickety old spaceship piloted by space colonists John Virgil and Captain Parker, is on a mission of mercy. It is ferrying two bigwigs from Earth, Dr. Vasquez and Governor Mudry, along with a lifesaving vial of serum to the Tabloss Colony, where an epidemic of Ellysia C is devastating the population. But things go horribly wrong when the ship shifts down from lightspeed and crashes somewhere in space. As he attempts to repair the ship, Virgil is bitten by a strange spider-like creature and passes out. When he awakes, he finds himself sliding between two equally convincing realities. Is he battling for his life against the deadly Ellysia C having already delivered the serum and saved the colony, including his beloved wife and his young son, from certain death? Or is he alive, trapped in a spaceship in the middle of nowhere, with no way out? Or are both realities merely hallucinations, one man's desperate attempt to find hope and heroism in a situation too bleak to face?.

star 8.07
41 votes
Writers: Hart Hanson
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New Lease

#24 - New Lease

Season 3 - Episode 11

After years of research, Dr. James Houghton and Dr. Charles McCamber have discovered how to bring the dead back to life with their new breakthrough invention, the Scanning Molecular Reorganizer. But, the process seems to be deeply flawed; the first revival, a middle-aged victim of a heart attack, lives only a day and suffers horribly before passing away again. They get a second chance when Houghton is killed by a mugger outside the lab and McCamber, using the SMR, brings him back to life. Houghton is torn between making amends with his long-neglected family and exacting revenge on his killer. He may, however, have more time than he knows and more trouble than he bargained for.

star 8.06
33 votes
Writers: Sam Egan
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The Sentence

#25 - The Sentence

Season 2 - Episode 22

Let the punishment fit the crime: an ambitious inventor, Dr. Jack Henson, creates a "" virtual prison"" and wants the government to adopt it nation-wide. Using his invention, convicts serve a life sentence in just a few hours. Henson claims the harsh sentences will ensure that criminals never offend again while the short time required cuts prison costs. He seems to be making his point until they connect an innocent man to the apparatus and the demonstration goes sour. To save the young man's life, Henson must submit to his own invention -- and to a lesson in the true meaning of justice.

star 8.05
40 votes
Directors: Joseph Scanlan
Writers: Melissa Rosenberg
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