The Zanti Misfits
Season 1, Episode 14
Air date December 30, 1963
Written by Joseph Stefano
Directed by Leonard Horn
Episode guide
Tourist Attraction
The Mice
Zanti misfit propr

"The Zanti Misfits" is an episode of the original The Outer Limits television show. It first broadcast on December 30, 1963, during the first season.

In 1997, the TV Guide ranked this episode number 98 on its "100 Greatest Episodes of All Time" list.


  • 1 Introduction
  • 2 Opening narration
  • 3 Plotline
  • 4 Closing narration
  • 5 Special effects
  • 6 Contemporary usage
  • 7 Cast
  • 8 Crew


An alien world demands that Earth provide a penal colony for its criminals. The criminals are grotesque, rat-sized, ant-like insectoids with almost human faces.

Opening narration

“Throughout history, compassionate minds have pondered the dark and disturbing question: what is society to do with those members who are a threat to society, those malcontents and misfits whose behavior undermines and destroys the foundations of civilization? Different ages have found different answers. Misfits have been burned, branded and banished. Today, on this planet Earth, the criminal is incarcerated in inhumane institutions.....or he is executed. Other planets use other methods. This is the story of how the perfectionist rulers of the planet Zanti attempted to solve the problem of the Zanti misfits.”


Military forces have cordoned off a ghost town, aptly named Morgue, located in a remote section in the deserts of California while awaiting the arrival of a spacecraft from the planet Zanti. The perfectionist rulers of that planet, after making radio contact with our government, have decided that the Earth is the "perfect place" to exile their undesirables and criminals in exchange for sharing technological advances with Earth. They threaten total destruction if their penal ship is attacked, or if their privacy is not maintained. During the negotiations, Ben Garth, a bank robber on the run, along with his reluctant, morally deficient accomplice/girlfriend, Lisa, cross the cordon, and run down an armed sentry during the approach of the Zanti ship. After seeing the ship land, Ben climbs a small mesa to investigate the landing site. A Zanti regent emerges from an open hatch of the ship and kills Garth. The Zanti are revealed to be grotesque oversized ant-like beings with malicious human-like faces. The Zanti regent pursues Ben's now-terrified accomplice. Believing that their privacy was violated, the remaining Zanti prisoners commandeer the penal ship and land it atop the roof of the military command post. When the Zanti prisoners attack Earth's nervous soldiers, a brutal firefight ensues, and all of the aliens are massacred. The soldiers and airmen anxiously await the expected reprisal, but, instead, they receive a message of thanks from the Zanti leaders who explain that they were incapable of executing members of their own species so they sent them into the hands of a race who possessed no qualms about killing — the human race, referring to us as "practiced executioners".

Closing narration

“Throughout history, various societies have tried various methods of exterminating those members who have proven their inability or unwillingness to live sanely amongst their fellow men. The Zantis tried merely one more method; neither better, nor worse than all of the others, neither more human, nor less human than all others, perhaps merely- non-human.



Cinematographer - John M. Nicklaus

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