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Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 4 March 2008

Capsule Review:    

Of all the original "Outer Limits" episodes, this might be my favorite. Does anyone else remember being shocked when the deadly alien ants with human faces first appeared on the television? Little Andrew did; the stop-motion fiends were nightmare fuel for weeks.

The planet Zanti has a problem similar to every society: what to do with their violent criminals. Obviously, the Zanti home world lacks oceans or other natural boundaries, because they contact Earth and deliver an ultimatum. "We are sending a penal ship filled with our misfits to your planet." After the proto-SETI scientists stopped jumping for joy at finally having discovered evidence of intelligent alien life, they realized that Earth was getting the shaft.

What person in their right mind wants a bunch of alien convicts set loose on their planet? Human criminals are bad enough. The Zanti misfits might shoot death rays from their eyes and feed on human brains (aliens find people to be frightfully delectable most of the time).

One edict issued by the Zanti government is that the misfits are to be left alone. Unfortunately, a car driven by a hoodlum crashes through a gate that leads into the restricted Zanti landing zone. The male driver and his self-destructive female companion find the Zanti ship. Their intrusion provokes the aliens. The Air Force personnel monitoring the Zanti listen to the man's screams as a creepy crawler from outer space slowly kills the poor sap. Old Mrs. "I like to hang out with criminals" escapes six-legged death when a government historian bravely comes to her rescue, despite orders to keep away. The historian smashes the Zanti jailor (that's one for the history books) and all heck breaks loose.

As I mentioned earlier, the Zanti are memorable! The aliens are ten inch-long ants with human faces and (apparently) poison stingers. I do not want to find one of those in my bed.

Filled with buzzing anger, the Zanti attack the military command center. Dozens of killer ants crawl down the sides of the building, up the walls, and across the floor. The Air Force kicks alien butt! Seeing them blasting mutant ants with .45 Colts and M1 Carbines was pretty wild.

Bear with me, but when the Zanti attacked I couldn't help but yell, "Cry havoc and let loose the ants of war!"

Things I Learned From This Show:  

Green Dot Earth is the interplanetary equivalent of Australia.
Green Dot In the old days, cars were so large that they showed up on radar.
Green Dot There is a very good reason that present day government fence contracts specifically prohibit the use of gates made from balsa wood.

Stuff To Watch For:  

Green Dot 6 mins - Foreshadowing?
Green Dot 23 mins - I know what you are thinking, and it would be strange for somebody to take a stainless steel coffee pot with them rock climbing, then leave it behind by accident.
Green Dot 28 mins - Besides war, famine, and disease…
Green Dot 37 mins - Why don't you turn on the jeep's air conditioning? Oh, right.
Green Dot 44 mins - Ant with a beard!

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Comments:Write CommentPages: [1] 2
Re: The Outer Limits: The Zanti Misfits
Reply #1. Posted on March 05, 2008, 12:15:53 AM by JaseSF
Personally I think this is one of the most unnerving hours of television ever put on the airwaves. Those Zanti Misfits are creepy as hell. And I love the early stuff with Bruce Dern. Here's a portion of what I had to say about it in the TV Files back in the day when they existed: ""The Zanti Misfits" are not for the weak of heart...these creepy critters will make your spine crawl, your body itch, your fear may even look around your room nervously as cold shivers run up and down your spine as you witness their revolting form and their hideous actions (so much so they entirely overshadow the forgettable regular cast). The bizarre humming whine they make and the scratching sound of their feet as they approach is something that will stay with you whether you want it to or why did the perfectionist civilized Zanti inhabitants send these Misfits to our world? Well the answer says more about humanity maybe than we would ever want to admit about ourselves."
Re: The Outer Limits: The Zanti Misfits
Reply #2. Posted on March 05, 2008, 01:20:43 PM by Jk
 Buggedout Interesting!

Didn't know there were shows like this even in the 60's
I will check this series.
Re: The Outer Limits: The Zanti Misfits
Reply #3. Posted on March 05, 2008, 02:33:21 PM by HarlotBug3
Meat Beat Manifesto included excerpts from this episode on screen during their live show a couple years ago. They will be in my town again in about a month and I'm excited.

Meat Beat Manifesto, I mean, not the Zanti.

PS (Meat Beat Manifesto goes from punk industrial hip hop to funky electro jazz (( mixes that USUALLY never work)) over the course of almost two decades and I recommend them to everyone regardless of their taste in music.) 
Re: The Outer Limits: The Zanti Misfits
Reply #4. Posted on March 05, 2008, 03:29:19 PM by Brandi
Is there some reason the front page only shows this getting 1 drop instead of 4?
Re: The Outer Limits: The Zanti Misfits
Reply #5. Posted on March 05, 2008, 06:01:41 PM by Andrew
Is there some reason the front page only shows this getting 1 drop instead of 4?

That would be me, screwing up.  Thanks for pointing that out.
Re: The Outer Limits: The Zanti Misfits
Reply #6. Posted on March 05, 2008, 08:39:36 PM by TheMark
Ah the outer fiction for pure science fiction's sake.  Is there a show on TV now that is willing to do what the old Outer limits did? Tell a story just because it was interesting? Some might have had some half assed moral lesson, but the best were just an interesting tale. Even the newer Outer Limits seemed to have missed the point of the old series.
Re: The Outer Limits: The Zanti Misfits
Reply #7. Posted on March 06, 2008, 09:15:17 AM by Just Plain Horse
Funny thing about the Outer Limits... it manages to get the mix of campy/bizarre/ thought-provoking almost right every time. It's the kind of show that I always preferred over the Twilight Zone for its odd touches. I caught this episode on TV once right in the middle of the epic showdown and I couldn't stop laughing. To me, it's both weird and silly. Episodes like "Moonstone" & "Specimen Unknown" seemed to have a deeper message... but this one... heh, just good fun. The only weirder episode I've ever seen would probably be "Don't Open 'til Doomsday". Giving a blank box with a tiny peephole in it a sense of menace is something that either borders on being very creative or being just weird.
Re: The Outer Limits: The Zanti Misfits
Reply #8. Posted on March 06, 2008, 04:28:42 PM by JaseSF
Hmm, don't know how anyone can not see the brilliance in the original Outer Limits, particularly that Lovecraftian inspired classic "Don't Open Till Doomsday". Its plot may seem simple (Box Demon if released upon the world will send out a signal that will start a chain of events meaning doomsday) but there's some many symbolic undertones at work in that episode, especially sexuality and repressed sexuality, it's disturbing.

SPOILER WARNING: The Zanti Misfits ultimate fate suggest we're far bigger monsters perhaps than ever they were as humanity was in fact their chosen exterminators.
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