Twilight Zone

One of my favorite tv shows of all time is unquestionably The Twilight Zone. My poor students have been subjected to its tales occasionally (and usually I’m met with whines of, “No! Not Twilight!” before they realize what it is). But most of them come to love the stories before the end. Sometimes they even e-mail me (even years later) asking for episode recommendations.

I don’t remember when I first began watching or even which episode I watched first, but it’s been a permanent installment at home since sometime in my early to mid-teens. Any time we found an episode on tv, we dropped everything to watch it. For years, the Sci-Fi channel used to feature 24 hours of The Twilight Zone between New Year’s Even and New Year’s Day, and we would plan our day according to which episodes we absolutely had to watch.

It certainly is unique in that the story is always different. The only person who appears each time is Rod Sterling himself as he introduces the show, and the same characters never appear twice (even though some actors appear repeatedly). While this is also a trademark of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and some other similar shows, The Twilight Zone was the first one I was exposed to and has my favorite stories. After all, how can you beat the unexpected twists?

If you never watched The Twilight Zone, may I make some recommendations of some must-watch episodes:

  • Monsters Are Due on Maple Street
  • Time Enough at Last
  • Nick of Time
  • Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?
  • Five Characters in Search of an Exit
  • To Serve Man
  • Nightmare at 2,000 Feet

And, for Ambrose Bierce fans, there’s a Cannes Film Festival-winning version of “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” that I use every year after my students read the short story. It’s very true to the story!

What’s one of your all-time favorite tv shows? Have you watched The Twilight Zone before?

 

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6 responses to “Twilight Zone

  • Anthony Lee Collins

    My all-time favorite show? Dark Shadows. No contest, really. My enthusiasm for serial stories may have started right there. I wrote about it here: http://u-town.com/collins/?p=2990 (among other places).

    But Twilight Zone was one of the greats, no question. I’ve seen most of the episodes (except for the ones from the season when it was an hour — they have not been syndicated like the others).

    Anthology-type shows like that were popular on radio, in a variety of genres, and that carried over to TV in the early years — but I think not for a few decades now. I wonder if that’s because in some way radio was better suited to them than TV, or was it more generally because taste switched away from them, It is true that there used to be comic books like that, too, and they’re mostly gone as well, so maybe it’s just public taste that shifted for some reason.

    • SB (Bryna) Roberts

      I still have to check that out. I’ll have to make some time for it over the summer.

      While the hour-long episodes are good (and definitely are harder to find on tv), some of them drag a little, like they would have made better half-hour episodes. One that’s definitely worth finding, though, is “Death Ship.” I recently heard a rumor that someone was looking to make it into a movie. Guess we’ll see if they could do the story justice.

      I guess the anthology-type shows aren’t what the general public likes anymore, though I would think there’d be a certain appeal because of the general public’s ever decreasing attention span.

  • Eric

    My favorite TZ episode (apart from Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge) is probably the one with Jack Klugman and Jonathan Winters about the pool hall. No idea why, but it seems perfect.

  • C.B. Wentworth

    Every year, the sci-fi channel does a Twilight Zone marathon and every year my husband watches it. :-)

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