"Music of the Spheres" is an episode of The Outer Limits. It first aired on 9 May 1997, during the third season.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Opening narration
- 3 Plot
- 4 Closing narration
- 5 Cast
Devon Taylor, a young physics student, picks up a strange signal during his work at a radio observatory. He believes that he can hear a pattern in it, but none of his older colleagues can hear it.
“For years we have searched for the answer to an eternal question, "Are we alone?" As yet, there has been no answer. Or perhaps the answer is only for those with the facility to hear it.”
Devon's younger sister, Joyce Taylor, discovers a recorded audio track and enjoys the sound so much she plays it at a rave. When Devon finds her at the rave, everyone there seems to be entranced by the music. All are also infected with skin deformities. All the teens are quarantined at a hospital, but when they are separated from the music on the tape, they all experience severe pain and withdrawal symptoms. When the tape is reversed, using Joyce as a test subject, she goes flatline and only is resuscitated when the music plays as normal.
Devon and his superiors are left with no choice but to let the patients listen to the audio until the rest of the transmitted message can be deciphered. It is determined that the source of this message is from a distant world and is in fact artificial in origin, which implies it was sent from an intelligent source. The military, at this point, assumes that Earth is under attack from this new threat and must proceed as such.
Devon is later reviewing photographs taken of stars at different periods in time and discovers that the star of the alien world went ultraviolet 40 years in the past. He brings this information to his superiors and the military. They then realize that the radiation of Earth's sun is also changing to this spectrum, heralded by increased solar activity. Further research indicates that the noise/music is being transmitted to cause life on Earth to mutate and transform so it can adapt to the new conditions, and that the alien transmission is, in a sense, a benevolent effort. The music affects only people under 20, and Devon is barely able to hear it because he is "on the cusp of adulthood". Once this is realized, the richer governments of the world send up satellites to transmit the noise over the entire world, so that even the poorer countries and more remote areas of the world can transition to this new phase of existence. A treatment is also developed so that those over 20 can undergo the change. Human beings are then given the choice whether to go ahead with the transformation or not, although anyone who chooses not to undergo the change will have to remain indoors during the day for the rest of their lives, because the new sunlight's radiation would otherwise be fatal within hours.
The final scene begins with Devon's father, still in original human form, entering his daughter's room. She tells him that she is sorry that she won't be able to look beautiful in her prom dress, as the camera pans up showing her new skin to be a golden metallic appearance; but her father reassures her that she will always be beautiful. Devon enters the room, also in his new skin, and tells Joyce that it is time for the change to occur. As Devon's father closes the blinds inside the house, the kids go outside with Joyce's boyfriend and watch the Sun's metamorphosis, their faces filled with hope.
“It is said that Music is a universal bridge, crossing the barriers of culture, age, and language. Perhaps, eventually, we will learn that it also spans those of time... and space."
Kirsten Dunst as Joyce Taylor
Joshua Jackson as Devon Taylor
Howard Hesseman as Dr. Emory Taylor
Larry Musser as Dr. Evan Swift
Ryan Taylor as Vic
Gina Chiarelli as Doctor #2
Kamilyn Kaneko as Kelly
Douglas Newell as Principal
Freda Perry as Nurse
Ronin Wong as Doctor #1
Andrew Younghusband as D.J.
Jonathan Whittaker as Colonel Bowen