‘Out of the Unknown’: The BBC Sci-Fi Series Americans Should Have Seen


hqdefault-2The Guardian‘s Phelim O’Neill just published a rather nice review of the long gone BBC science-fiction and horror anthology program “Out of the Unknown”. While I’ve never seen it myself, from what O’Neill wrote, it sounds like it was a real doozy. Consisting of four seasons aired on BBC 2 from 1965 to 1971, “Out of the Unknown” adapted literary works by the likes of Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and J.G. Ballard.

Out of the 49 episodes filmed, only around 20 or so remain. As “Doctor Who” fans are already aware, it was standard procedure for the BBC to delete old episodes of what was at one time deemed disposable entertainment. Coincidentally, one of the lost episodes of “Out of the Uknown” actually featured Doctor Who’s arch nemeses: The Daleks.

We’ve had our fair share of wonderful television anthology series in the United States—”The Twilight Zone”, “The Outer Limits”, “Amazing Stories”, “Tales from the Dark Side” and “Monsters”, just to name a few—but I still can’t help but to feel cheated when it comes to “Out of the Unknown”. It has never aired in the United States, to the very best of my knowledge, and as an ardent fan of speculative fiction, I can’t help but to wonder why. “Doctor Who” was a huge trans-Atlantic crossover hit, so “Out of the Unknown” should have at least been given a chance. Now that we have BBC America, there’s hardly any reason now why we shouldn’t at least get to see a couple of episodes of the show, or at least buy a BLU-RAY that will play in this region. How about it, BBC?