Review: In Search Of… The Complete Collection & Your Chance to Win! [UPDATED: Winners announced for In Search of… box set!]

boxsetLeonard Nimoy may best be remembered as Mr. Spock from Star Trek, but he also spent six seasons exploring the unexplained in the classic 70’s television series “In Search of…”. The show was recently released on DVD, and TrekMovie brings you a look at the series, it’s DVD release, and offers you a chance to win a complete collection of the paranormal classic. Our review and details on our contest follow the cut.


Leonard Nimoy is In Search of…

Back in the early 1990’s, I would spend the better part of my after-school time watching television instead of doing my homework. One show that featured prominently in my viewing habits was the classic Lenoard Nimoy series “In Search of…”. The series has been off the air now since 2002, but every last episode – including the precursor and successor series are now available on DVD in a massive boxed set from Visual Entertainment.

Listing for $149.99, you get an impressive box filled with twenty-one disks, presenting all 144 episodes hosted by Leonard Nimoy, as well as the Rod Serling narrated “In Search of Ancient Astronauts” and “In Search of Ancient Mysteries”. Also included is the short-lived 2002 SciFi Channel revival hosted by Mitch Pileggi (The X-Files, Stargate:Atlantis, Sons of Anarchy).

Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s voice and science fiction pedigree made him a perfect choice for Alan Landsburg when he adapted Erich von Däniken’s controversial bestseller “Chariot of the Gods?”. Serling serves up a pitch-perfect voiceover that really makes for an entertaining exposition of claims of ancient alien visitations on earth. While the scientific claims behind many of the program’s claims are loose at best, the program remained highly entertaining – if for no other reason than its exploration of early human mythology and culture. The success of this program lead to a second Serling-voiced special, which is also included in the DVD set. A third program, not bearing the “In Search of…” moniker, is not included. Serling was the first choice to host the series version of the program, but his untimely death in June 1975 left a gap that demanded an iconic presence. Enter Leonard Nimoy.

While the iconic Mr. Spock would never speculate on much of anything, the six seasons of “In Search of…” running from 1976 to 1982 were filled with speculative research, science, and mythological content. The series’ weekly introduction included the following memorable narration:

“This series presents information based in part on theory and conjecture. The producer’s purpose is to suggest some possible explanations, but not necessarily the only ones, to the mysteries we will examine.”

Plants responding to people’s thoughts? Ancient Phoenicians in New Hampshire? Two-thousand year old computer parts? Yes, “In Search of…” covered such topics, and while the premises were, in many ways, fantastical, Nimoy’s distinctive voice made everything seem at least plausible.

To be sure, the freaky and paranormal weren’t the only topics covered by this series. Segments on the famous hijacker D.B. Cooper, Grand Duchess Anastasia, Amelia Earhart, and the Titanic are among the lingering mysteries the series examined.

Also examined are cults and other religious / spiritual phenomenon, including the Jim Jones cult, reincarnation, Voodoo, Noah’s Flood, and the Garden of Eden.

Each episode featured somewhat stylistically produced re-enactments of historical (or supposedly historical) events, accompanied by a distinctive score and Leonard Nimoy’s excellent voice work.

Mitch Pileggi

When the SciFi Channel chose to revive the series in 2002, a paranormal revival of sorts was beginning to hit the television. The network already had John Edward’s program “Crossing Over” on the schedule, so “In Search of…” seems like it should have been a natural fit. Except that it wasn’t.

Where the Nimoy version of “In Search of…” felt like the natural evolution of the previous Serling specials, the Pileggi-hosted revival felt like any of a host of programs on the air, cramming brief segments into an allotted time slot, and never really doing justice to the subject matter. Instead of spending a half-hour on a single topic, the revival felt disjointed, with a single episode covering such disparate topics as hauntings, stigmata, and zombies in a single outing. Nothing of the feel of either predecessor survived in SciFi’s version, which – mercifully – lasted just eight episodes.

Typical imagery

The episodes are presented as they originally aired, and, in what is essentially their original audio and visual quality. The Serling and Nimoy episodes are of somewhat lower visual quality than the Pileggi episodes, which were shot with better video equipment. However, the visual quality of 1970’s filming techniques is one of the things that always made “In Search of…” an endearing program. Exotic locales glimpsed from airplanes and back roads… lost colonies… the look of the show gave them all a historical feeling, and yet one that drew you into the subject in a way that looking at a book rarely did.

To be certain, the wide range of topics covered in the run of “In Search of…” can be mind boggling, but even if the passage of time has solved some of the mysteries explored by the show, the DVD set still stands as an entertaining blast from the past that would well-grace the shelves of any fan of the paranormal, the unexplained, or of Leonard Nimoy.

Visual Entertainment provided a sampler for this review.

The complete box set and Visual Entertainment want to share the DVD nostalgia that is “In Search of…” with you. Simply share a comment below regarding your favorite recollection from the Leonard Nimoy era of “In Search of…” and you’re registered to win. The contest ends Sunday, January 27, and a winner will be selected on Monday, January 28.

UPDATE: Winner Chosen for “In Search of…” Box Set Contest!
Congratulations to the first place winner of our ISO DVD contest. Andrew W. of Phoenix, Arizona captured the set with his comment:

In Search Of… surely helped make me the “Geek” that I am today. My friends and I looked forward to seeing it each week and being introduced to the bizarre and mysterious in our world. For a youngster, this fueled the heck out of our imagination.

But perhaps the most enduring memory from then is that of sitting around a dinner table with my friends eating spaghetti and meatballs while we hummed the iconic theme to he show and impersonated Nimoy’s deep, deep voice, inventing our own episodes. I remember saying “In Search Of…Nick’s brain” as I held up a fork with a meatball on it.

It’d be cool to see those episodes again. Maybe I’d even invite the old gang to watch and make a dinner party out of it (you can guess the menu).

Andrew has promised to send along photos if he can get that dinner party arranged… and here’s hoping that we’ll finally locate Nick’s brain.

But wait, there’s more! Visual Entertainment was so excited about all of your enthusiasm for “In Search of…” that they’ve asked us to pick a SECOND winner for another box set giveaway! Congratulations to Starfleetmom, the second place winner of our ISO DVD contest who won us over when she said:

I don’t think I ever saw it, so I don’t have a favorite recollection. Perhaps that’s why I should win! I need to see it!

Well, you don’t have an excuse any more! We look forward to hearing what your NEW favorite moment is from “In Search of…”!

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Great Show for its time

In Search of fueled my love of both science and religion. I know many think those two are at odds with one-another. I’ve always thought that the former tells us how while the latter tells us why- and thus they are very much in dialog with one-another.

Not that I want to start a religion debate, so I’ll leave it at that.

With the Outer Limits and the Twilight Zone being two of my favourite TV series, (and similarly Fringe). In serach of was kinda like a mix of reality and fiction or even science fiction.

A lot of memories are stirred reading this article. I may just have to purchase the series and invest a few weekends.

Leonard is a treasure and i wish they would of used him in the new Star Trek and have him on Regular Shows

I don’t think I ever saw it, so I don’t have a favorite recollection. Perhaps that’s why I should win! I need to see it!

Oh man I am a bit young for the original run, but when I would come home from middle school it was on A&E and I used to watch it all the time. I especially liked the one on Coral Castle, since I lived in Florida. Also, I really enjoyed the Mayans and the Bermuda Triangle. Just a few fun memories, thanks for posting this.

a classic!

nice ’70’s sideburns on Nimoy ;-)

i think the Bermuda Triangle episode was most memorable for me =)

I just remember being creeped out by some episodes (hey, I was SIX at the time). Whether it was UFOs or Bigfoot, Nimoy made it VERY hard for a young kid with a big imagination to go to sleep!

I was 3 when this series started, so while I likely saw it (thanks to my mom), I don’t remember it. But I’ve heard so many people talk about how much influence this show had on them, so I’d love a chance to see it.

I remember catching these much later in syndication and seeing the new one a few times. At a young age it wanted to me to explore the unknown. UFOs, ghosts and cyrptozoology are things I liked when I was younger and still do. The tone and atmosphere of the “creepy” episodes were my favorite, the re-enactments and Nimoy’s voice helped capture my attention. More of a fascination now but with Nimoy hosting it it was nice to have that “Star Trek” feel there.

I used to watch it with my Mom when A&E would show reruns back in the 80s. That was my first introduction of some of History’s greatest mysteries.

I LOVED that show! I never missed an episode and loved the fact that the actor who played my favorite character from Star Trek was narrating. I remember the creepy nature of most of the episodes especially the ones dealing with cryptozoology. The bigfoot episode still lingers in my memory after it creeped me out as a kid.

It’s a tough show to find these days. I’m glad to see they’ve finally decided to give it the treatment it deserves and it’d be great to be able to sit down and watch ’em all again!

That theme music was just classic, can’t read this article without having it run through my head :) Great nostalgia for this show.

The Abominable Snowman!!!
Really any episode concerning a bigfoot, like creature. The idea of a ape-man creature always grabbed my attention when i was a kid. “In search of” had unsettling quality to it. Leonard Nimoy’s narration provided such a mysterious tone, and the sizzle and crackle of the audio provide an erie sense.
Love them!!!

“Good night and pleasant dreams.”

In Search Of helped fuel my interest in exploring our planet and all of its mysteries. Stories of Mayan archaeological digs, Egyptian pyramids, Nessie, and bigfoot helped me to decide to become a scientist so I could attempt, at least, to make make a living traveling around the world to learn about all of its wonders.

If I recall correctly, there was an episode about the Amityville Horror house. There was a shot where a demon’s face can be seen in the fireplace. Very, very creepy!

The series never caught my interest at all, though I must have tried watching it a dozen times.

But that Serling ANCIENT ASTRONAUTS show blew me away when I first saw it in junior high. Had all that Von Daniken stuff (some of which Thor Heyerdahl pretty firmly refuted by bribing Easter Island natives into putting up a small face in no time at all) which fueled a lot of my interest in things speculative.

Definitely the Bermuda Triangle episode for me, but they were all brilliant. A favorite show of my youth!

In Search Of… surely helped make me the “Geek” that I am today. My friends and I looked forward to seeing it each week and being introduced to the bizarre and mysterious in our world. For a youngster, this fueled the heck out of our imagination.

But perhaps the most enduring memory from then is that of sitting around a dinner table with my friends eating spaghetti and meatballs while we hummed the iconic theme to he show and impersonated Nimoy’s deep, deep voice, inventing our own episodes. I remember saying “In Search Of…Nick’s brain” as I held up a fork with a meatball on it.

It’d be cool to see those episodes again. Maybe I’d even invite the old gang to watch and make a dinner party out of it (you can guess the menu).

This great series really sparked my imagination and opened my mind to the fantastic. Almost every episode I watched as a kid made me feel like I’d been let in on some special mystery that only a few knew about. I liked to watch the show with my dad and after the program we’d discuss the possibilities that the episode brought up. It was one of my favorite things to do when I was palling around with my dad.

This was one of my favorites when I was a kid – I was mostly drawn to the more modern mysteries like the disappearance of DB Cooper, Amelia Earhart, etc, but the Bermuda Triangle episode really messed with my head. I definitely thought of this show when ST: Voyager solved the Amelia Earhart mystery – it was an alien abduction all along!

Subtitles in Spanish only. Thanks for absolutely nothing.

Would have bought the set as soon as I saw this article if they had English subtitles.

Unfortunately I can’t give you specifics of any favorite moments, but boy oh boy do I remember watching that show. Loved it as a kid. It fueled the Sci-Fi/Fantasy hunger that I had (well, still have).

Hell, I ate up anything with more Nimoy and Shatner. That meant more Trek related shows (even if they weren’t even remotely related to Trek).

Memories. *sigh*

In Search of.. was my favorite show as a child, even more than Star Trek, because the subjects were REAL. While the theories might be a bit outlandish or dated, I think the concept is grand.. I love Nimoy as the narrator, and watching it now brings back memories

The episode I remember most clearly is the one on Bimini Road–I had never heard of it before! And, I must say, Nimoy can rock the ascot!

Oohh…so many memories. I’d watch this show whenever I could find it. Obviously stuff like bigfoot and the Bermuda Triangle grabbed my interest but if I had to pick a show, I’d have to go with the one about the Coral Castle. It was just so strange (did he really levitate those blocks?) and so sad (all for a lost love?) that it really stuck with me.

I remember seeing it for the 1st time in the early 80’s and loving it. Leonard’s voice definitely lent an air of gravitas to the proceedings. I assume he was approached for the revival but wasn’t interested.

One of it’s charms, like Robert said, is how crunchy the visuals and sound are. It’s a wonderful artifact of the times and a great remembrance of the era.

Great review, Robert. I’m now officially tempted to buy it…

Never heard of it.

Did I win?

I don’t remember the specifics of one “favorite moment” – I watched it all the time as a kid and was never disappointed. My favorite thing really was the tone of it – Nimoy presented the story seriously, without either ridiculing it or endorsing that this was the way. You were encouraged to think about it and draw your own conclusions. Shows are seriously lacking that now!

Loved this show growing up… the first time I’d heard of crystal skulls.
Great stuff.

I have to confess, my favorite was actually the parody of this sort of program done in “Amazon Women on the Moon”, under the title “Believe it or Bulls^%t”.

Henry Silva was the “presenter” giving us the evidence thatJack the Ripper was actually the Loch Ness Monster. Hey, it made as much sense as most of what was on “In Search Of…”!

I loved the one about the Lost Dutchman mine in Arizona. Such a great mystery. Sadly, I can’t remember the other episodes. I would sure love a chance to watch em all over! Hopefully they’ll show up on Netflix someday, or I’ll find this set on sale on day.

I have always been a Strar Trek fan and I was overjoyed when Leonard Nimoy was hosting the In Search Of… series. I have also always been interested in science and I enjoyed watching Spock explain some “facinating” topics.

i remember a episode about the amnity ville horror house , i was 12 and it scared the hell out of me, lenard nimoy looked coll in turtle necks

I used to watch reruns of this when I was a kid. Absolutely loved it. I feel like there was an open-mindedness on display that was really admirable. They tried to take a scientific approach to everything, even the silliest subjects (ahem, the Crystal Skulls). My favorites were the episode on the Coral Castle, the Hope Diamond and the Bermuda Triangle. And the reality is that Leonard Nimoy spoke so authoritatively he made even the goofiest subject seem downright plausible.

I think, more than the show itself, it was the atmospheric promo spots for it which inhabited my memory. They almost didn’t even have to give you the subject of the upcoming episode; they just created intrigue with music, v/o and editing.

I used to watch this all the time, one of my favorites!!

I remember watching ISO on Saturday nights reruns as a kid. I still remember the Noah’s Ark ep very well. Still intrigues me today…

“In Search of…Dracula” was always my favorite of the series. I can’t count how many times I’ve watched and re-watched that episode.

In the early 2000s, I tried, unsuccessfully, to use “In Search Of…” as background noise as I fell asleep. Problem was, Leonard Nimoy’s sonorous voice made everything so damned interesting that I stayed up watching it.

Can’t choose a favorite. I enjoyed the Titanic episode, paticularly for the fact that it is presenting information pre-discovery of the wreck. Having Leonard Nimoy as the host gives the wilder stories some wieght and draws you in.

I enjoyed several Eps. The one wioth the Amytyville House was scary at best. Most shows like Ghost Adventuresd and Ghost Hunter’s and many other’s owe In Search of. The Ep with Titanic was simply amazing. Then a few years later they find the real Titanic.

Cool, cool and cool! Was just talking to my wife about this show the other night.

Good article. and well put….going from Serling to Nimoy was a “natural evolution” I remember kind of getting chills listening to both men and the subject matter they covered. And everyone was buying all those theories back then. It had a little more weight to it. But with these guys speaking on the topics…fuhghetabout it.

When Nimoy came on board I remember thinking “Wow! he was perfect to replace him.” His delivery and persona from playing Spock just captured it all at exactly at the right time. It was just as the second wave of re-runs were hitting of Star Trek that really brought “it” back and he was riding that wave of the aura and mystery of Spock before the movies. It was perfect. I also contend he still had his real teeth at this poing because he sounded a bit different to me in Star Trek The Motion Picture.

Bigfoot and Easter Island were interesting. I just remember seeing Leonard Nimoy and telling him how much he and Robert Stack scared the crap out of me as a kid. He chuckled. It was a great feeling making Spock laugh.

Great episode on Van Gogh and the fact the Nimoy did his great one man show called Vincent.

Why isn’t this on A&E or History Channel?

I remember the original show very well. Many of the shows inspired me to do further research on the topics covered. My favorites were the ones on UFOs.

I used to be a fan of this when it first aired. Lots of crazy stuff!

Never saw it, but as a teacher I wonder if there is anything useful that I could use…

I truly enjoyed this series. It was fascinating with a hint of intrigue for a kid growing up.

I loved that show, I used to watch it regularly. The episode that has always stuck in my head for some reason was the bigfoot episode. Never saw the Rod Serling episodes but I can’t wait to check them out.