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This is an amazingly silly episode of "The Outer Limits"--one that is a
serious letdown for an otherwise exceptional series. Like they often
say 'you can't win 'em all'....and that is definitely the case with
"Cold Hands, Warm Heart".
This episode stars William Shatner as an astronaut recently returned from his orbiting Venus--yes, Venus, the incredibly inhospitable planet that is well beyond our capability to ever visit. Regardless, he's seen an a national hero and is quickly promoted to general. However, through the course of the show, it's obvious that Willie just ain't right. He's constantly cold, consumes hot coffee like it's ice cold and his personality becomes odd to say the least. In fact, apart from a goofy script with a silly dolly on wires, the episode is seriously flawed because it demands that Shatner emote--a lot. And, boy, does he over-emote. In fact, later in the show it becomes almost laughable how he reacts. You just have to see it to believe it. As a result, this is a definite dud in an otherwise great series.
After being in space, Shatner needs warming up all the time.
Shatner and Brooks are two favourites of mine, to me Brooks is best known for a colour episode of QM's The Fugitive titled: The Ivy Maze! Shatner seemed to be warming up for Captain Kirk in Star Trek. I think I can forget some issues with this episode simply because the two leads are so known and liked by me.
The story is not all together bad as well. But having said all this, I can say this episode required repeat viewings before I became a fan.
It really is amazing how many Star Trek cross overs there are in The Outer Limits, I wonder if these cross overs are all known by the "Trekkers"?
William Shatner stars as astronaut Jeff Barton, who has successfully completed a solo mission to Venus and back. Upon return, he is hailed as a hero, and promoted to Brigadier-General, but while working on the next mission called Project Vulcan, a trip to Mars, he begins to exhibit unpleasant side effects like being constantly cold, and needing increasing heat sources, much to the alarm of his wife Ann(played by Geraldine Brooks), especially when Jeff starts to grow webbed hands, and a short temper. Can the medical field find a cure in time? Shatner is perfectly cast here, in this highly emotional role, which suits his talents perfectly. Interesting and fun, though never really pays off that much dramatically. Venusian creature is a real hoot though!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After the underwhelming 'Soldier', it was hoped that this episode would pull out of the slump. It starts off promising enough - A manned voyage to Venus where there is a block of time that they can't account for at mission control and the astronaut (good ol' William Shatner) cannot recall as well. The special effects are not great but then again Outer Limits was never necessarily ground breaking in this department (with a few exceptions). It was always the story we fans lived for. We could overlook the usual bleed-through in the matte work, the obviously painted planetary terrain (in this case, the Earth clearly shows up in the space over Venus - dreadful), or the 1950ish flame exhaust of a spaceship's rockets. Let's focus on the story! Well, Shatner begins to recall what happened to him while orbiting Venus in his dreams. His craft dipped into the clouds and he encountered a floating alien being. The creature does have some eerie qualities and at first it would appear to be back-to-form for the series. I recall being frightened when I first saw this episode late at night when I was 7. However, the more the creature is on the screen the less it frightens as its movements yield the all too obvious groan 'it's a marionette' probably suspended in water. But that's not necessarily bad - or shouldn't be when it comes to Outer Limits. The story should save the day. Right? So, we become a bit intrigued as Shatner becomes very sensitive to the cold and soon begins to transform (hands only, apparently) into a Venusian. That his arm begins to burn as he sits too close to a fire and he doesn't notice is a good effect. We are believing that some kind of great plot twist is about to produce itself as we watch the clock and realize that the episode is almost over. But no. He is simply cured. The end. We are left with nothing to deal with after the episode. There is no compelling thought provoking exit speech by the control voice to make us reflect on our place in the Universe - or at least it seems not entirely joined to the episode we just saw. Even at 7 years old I was unimpressed. Basically what you have here is pretty much slightly better than standard 1950s drive-in theater fodder. It's not terrible but it simply isn't better than disappointing. Strike two for the second episode of the second season.
I haven't watched an awful lot of episodes of the original The Outer Limits show(and hardly any of the newer, mid-nineties one), but I have to believe that this is among the worst. Let's get one thing out of the way right off the bat; Shatner is not responsible for the negative of this. He is charming as usual. Say what you will about his pause-acting and how he does fake pain... well, it's probably true. Nevertheless, he's one of the best things in this. I suppose the rest of the performances are reasonable enough, although I find the wife rather irritating. The characters are decent enough, if they could use more development. Dialog as well as the rest of the writing is varied. The real issue here is how tedious and boring the story is, especially in its *slow* progression. Also, for a potentially interesting science fiction concept, this isn't all that compelling. Finally, the effects are underwhelming, to put it mildly. Even for the time and what may not have been a huge budget, they're unimpressive. The editing and cinematography being average add to how uninspired and phoned in this feels. I recommend this solely to the biggest fans of Captain Kirk. 5/10
One of the weakest episodes in this outstanding series both in terms of
a slight and tedious story line, poor science fiction premise and
production values. The chintzy rag doll Venusian is a bit of an
embarrassment even by low budget TV series standards of the day, and
compared to other episodes in this series. This is William Shatner's
only episode in this series but he bears no blame for its defects.
There are a few even weaker ones, all in the second season. All the same, the hit to miss ratio for the Outer Limits in the 60's is far better than in its successor in the 90's despite the technical advancement on display of the latter. For a direct comparison examine the The Inheritors or Nightmare, where I think you will find that the better look and snarky attitude pale against the superior writing, direction and acting of the original. However, the I, Robot revision was a worthy effort, and I recall Feasibility Study as being about even.) And the original series NEVER blew off an episode by recycling other episodes with a flimsy story line as the later series did at least once per season, reaching a peak in a two-part recycle episode (Final Appeal).
This is the pre-Star Trek Shatner. He's been to Venus and some stick figure has done something to him that makes him frigid (no--not that way, but actually cold) to where he has to stay in a steam bath at 200 degrees to remain sane. In the process the military begins to worry about the continuation of its space program: i.e. the colonization of Mars. The show goes on as the erstwhile Captain Kirk goes bonkers, trying to stay warm. His wife, played by Geraldine Brooks tries to be supportive while he starts growing webbed fingers and insisting that there is nothing wrong. His refusal to do anything about this but to keep the stiff upper lip (it's probably frozen) is ridiculous. Eventually, he tries to get the help he should have had all along. Any interest I had in the story drops by the wayside as we get to the sappy, underinspiring conclusion.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I must agree with the other reviewers: this episode is exceedingly
tedious. And all of the major plot points are left dangling.
Shatner's character returns from an orbital trip to Venus, where (apparently) something happens. We know he sees a stick puppet outside his craft window, but we never know if he actually makes contact.
Shortly after his return to Earth, Shatner's blood chemistry changes and he acquires an incredible tolerance for heat. Why? We never find out.
There's a lot of talking back and forth as his condition worsens.
Finally, he seems to overcome whatever his condition was, and we don;t know how. But everyone's delighted, and the credits roll.
Obviously, not one of my favorites.
BTW, neither of the other reviewers has mentioned that Shatner's character is involved in "Project Vulcan."
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