The Outer Limits TV Poster Image

The Outer Limits



Thought-provoking sci-fi tales for tweens and up.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Many episodes of this anthology series center on characters who must defy the authorities to achieve some important goal. Often this requires convincing another, sympathetic character that the authorities have made a major mistake or are involved in some big deception.


Some episodes have fight scenes, ranging from fist fights to blaster battles to wartime combat, but the action is generally pretty tame.


Though there are often romantic encounters, there's no nudity or explicit sexuality.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking


Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that a major theme throughout this sci-fi anthology series is questioning -- and subverting -- authority. Though there's little violence, many episodes deal with both characters in power who are trying to manipulate others in order to retain control and those who are trying to convince others to reject the status quo. Though there's wisdom in teaching kids to ask critical questions about big issues, it's also important to help them realize that this is best done carefully and thoughtfully.

What's the story?

Any given episode of THE OUTER LIMITS might take place just about anywhere, from the old West to a far-off alien planet to the modern world -- and the main characters might be humans, aliens, robots, or something else altogether. But the situations and conflicts are always something that any viewer can understand, because the plots of this thoughtful sci-fi anthology series always center on classic human themes like greed, love, power, and fear. Much like the venerable classic The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits usually starts with an easily believable situation, then adds just a touch of advanced technology, alien power, or mystical influence to create a sci-fi story that seems like something that could almost happen to anyone. Now-well-known actors often appear as guest stars, including Kim Cattrall, Adam Goldberg, Antonio Sabato Jr., and Lou Diamond Phillips.

Is it any good?


The modern incarnation (which originally ran from 1995 to 2002 and still airs in syndication and is available on DVD) has dramatically improved special effects and production values over the original black and white version (which ran from 1963 to 1965). But like the original, today's version builds through each episode to a surprising plot twist. Though some episodes are better than others (and some of the twists are easier to spot than others), the show is generally quite satisfying to watch, especially when watching ordinary people who are thrust into extraordinary situations struggle to make impossible decisions.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about their basic assumptions of reality. Many episodes of this series have plots that build to a huge, surprising twist at the end and are designed to make viewers question their beliefs. What would you do if a stranger tried to convince you that the government was run by evil aliens? What if he said the fate of the world depended on your willingness to believe him? What if you felt his evidence was convincing but still had a nagging doubt about his sanity? How would you react if you realized that some of your most basic beliefs about society, about the world, about your close friends, turned out to be terribly wrong? Is it the media's job to make you think about things like this?

TV details

Premiere date:September 16, 1963
Cast:Kevin Conway
Networks:Syfy, Syndicated
Genre:Science Fiction
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD

This review of The Outer Limits was written by

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Kid, 12 years old January 8, 2010
some nude sex
What other families should know
Too much sex
Adult Written byallydosanana January 20, 2015
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written bySadman December 23, 2015

Nudity and sex in DVD and international version

The rating given this show by Common Sense Media is for the syndicated version of this series. Parents need to know that the version available on DVD and aired outside the US has sex scenes and nudity that is not included in the syndicated version circulating in the US. The show itself is fine, though the sex scenes are generally gratuitous and date back to an era (which some may argue is still ongoing) where sex was added to cable shows just because they could get away with it on cable; the scenes aren't as explicit as you'll see on today's cable shows but they can still get pretty raunchy. Please note that the original version of the series from the 1960s is spooky and occasionally violent but contains no major objectionable material. And I consider it far superior to the remake. Try to catch it if you can, especially if your kids enjoy Twilight Zone.
What other families should know
Too much sex


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