Blogs > Liberty and Power > "The State is All" (Outer Limits)

Apr 21, 2010 11:55 am

"The State is All" (Outer Limits)

Here is a segment from my all-time favorite"Outer Limits" episode. Some think that it was the inspiration for"The Terminator." The episode focuses on a soldier who comes from a future world dominanted by war where"the state is all." The writing reflects the fear of an all powerful government which was often apparent in science fiction shows during the 1960s such as the"Twilight Zone." Sadly, a modern writer would probably change this theme to something like"the corporation is all."

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Aeon J. Skoble - 4/23/2010

No, it's not particularly about "evil corporations are evil" - although they mention a company, Cyberdyne Systems, the actual cause of the near-demise of humanity is The State - Skynet is a government defense network which is nominally American, but when it achieved AI, it hooked up with all global missile commands and tried to destroy all humans (this theme is actually a lift from the underrated Colossus: The Forbin Project). It's clearly the government that has screwed up here, not "markets."

David T. Beito - 4/22/2010

As I recall, The Terminator doesn't feature an attack on "the corporations" or free markets but could be wrong.

Aeon J. Skoble - 4/21/2010

James Cameron wrote and directed The Terminator. He owned up to his debt to Ellison.
And yes, Michael Ansara is terrific and underrated, I agree!

David T. Beito - 4/21/2010

Was Cameron involved in The Terminator? BTW, Michael Ansara is absolutely perfect in this role is very much an underrated actor.

Aeon J. Skoble - 4/21/2010

It's a fantastic episode, and your critique is exactly right. One nit pick: when you say "some people think," that includes James Cameron, who acknowledged his debt to Harlan Ellison.