Prepare For The 2019 Reboot With The Ultimate ‘Twilight Zone’ Experience
We're about to enter The Twilight Zone once more. Then again, have we ever really left?
Rod Serling referred to The Twilight Zone as a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. Little did he know that the television series he created would be just as timeless. Since the series debuted on October 2nd, 1959 the Twilight Zone has become a permanent part of our culture. How many times have you recited the iconic Twilight Zone "Doo duh doo doo, Doo duh doo doo!" theme song? Director Jordan Peele has proven he is undoubtedly one of the many TZ die-hards and he's about to take on the daunting task of bringing the iconic series back.
The Twilight Zone 2019 is set to premiere Monday on the CBS streaming services All Access. Peele has gained critical acclaim for his directorial debut, the horror film "Get Out", which was not only a box office success but earned him numerous accolades, including the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, along with nominations for Best Picture and Best Director. Twilight Zone fans quickly took a liking to Peele's film noting it's similarities to their beloved series. Peele took a page from the book of Rod Serling tackling serious social issues while brilliantly delivering them under the guise of science fiction or horror.
Peele is taking his love of Twilight Zone one step further with his most recent film "Us" which is, according to the man himself, inspired by a classic episode of the Serling series. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone's Brian Hiatt he cited the specific Twilight Zone episode which inspired "Us", episode 21 titled "Mirror Image" which originally aired on February 26th, 1960. In it, a woman encounters her duplicate in a bus station and becomes convinced it arrived from a parallel universe, bent on replacing her.
“It’s terrifying, beautiful, really elegant storytelling,” Peele said, “and it opens up a world. It opens up your imagination.”
For those of you who are planning on seeing Peele's new Twilight Zone series I have some very cool TZ material to get you "in the zone" and experience the series to the fullest so here it goes. Submitted for your approval, this is your Ultimate Twilight Zone Experience:
If you're like me you can watch pretty much every Twilight Zone whenever it airs and, thankfully, we have a few options when it comes to doing that. The first is the SYFY television network which runs The Twilight Zone seven days a week primarily in the early morning hours. You can check 'em out if you're up early or just set your DVR to them and catch up at night after work. Just click HERE and type "Twilight Zone" in the search box for the current schedule of TZ shows on SYFY. You can also pretty much count on SYFY running Twilight Zone marathons during holidays like the 4th of July, Thanksgiving and New Year's. It's a beautiful thing.
The second viewing option is through Netflix which has seasons 1, 2, 3 and 5. The reason for no season four I assume is that it remains the least favorite season among Twilight Zone fans. Rod Serling decided to stretch the episodes from 30 to 60 minutes but the magic of the shorter versions was just not there and, much to the delight of CBS execs and fans, he went back to the 30 minute format for the fifth and final season. To be honest, I'm not even sure if SYFY runs any season four episodes but it would be interesting to give them another look.
If you love to read and you are a Twilight Zone fan you are in luck. There are some stellar books out there on the series starting with Marc Zicree's "The Twilight Zone Companion". This is a complete show-by-show guide including a plot synopsis, Rod Serling's narrations, critical commentary, behind-the-scenes stories and anecdotes from the original artists who created the series. It also includes a complete list of cast and crew, plus some great photos.
Another great book is Steven Jay Rubin's "The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia" which includes biographies of every principal actor involved in the series along with producers, writers, and directors. Clearly written by someone who has a genuine passion for the Twilight Zone series Rubin delivers plot synopses, anecdotes, production details, never-before-seen images, and interviews with nearly everyone still alive who was associated with the show.
The next must-read Twilight Zone book is "The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic" written by Martin Grams, Jr. This book goes behind the scenes to get into the major changes the show underwent in format and story selection, including censorship battles, production details, and exclusive memories from cast and crew. The complete episode guide recalls all 156 episodes of the series in detail.
Last but not least on this list of Twilight Zone books is "Everything I Need to Know I Learned in the Twilight Zone: A Fifth-Dimension Guide to Life". Written by veteran TV critic Mark Dawidziak this book delves into the life lessons learned from watching the series. It's described on Amazon as a "kind of fifth-dimension self-help book, with each lesson supported by the morality tales told by Serling and his writers."
There are close to 20 Twilight Zone podcasts out there to choose from and they are all I'm sure worthy of listening to. Some of the well-known ones are "Twilight Pwn: A Twilight Zone Podcast", "Anthology - The Twilight Zone, Black Mirror, and Classic Sci-Fi Podcast", "The Fifth Dimension" and "Imagine If You Will" but the best of the best in my opinion is "The Twilight Zone Podcast" hosted by Marc Eliot. Eliot broadcasts this podcast out of the UK and delivers an in-depth analysis of each episode with a delivery that hearkens back to the old late-night radio days.
"The Twilight Zone Podcast" has garnered so much attention among fans that Eliot has been able to interview some key figures in Twilight Zone history including authors of the books mentioned above as well as Rod Serling's daughter Anne. Eliot started this podcast seven years ago and is determined to cover all 156 episodes no matter what it takes and I'll be there for the rest of the ride.
I discovered this podcast about six months ago. Since then I've decided to go back and watch each episode on Netflix then listen to Eliot's review afterwards. It's brought these episodes even more enjoyment than before as a result. Eliot respectfully critiques each episode, plays clips and relays information and trivia from the aforementioned books listed above. Rod Serling would most certainly approve of this podcast.
Is that enough Twilight Zone material for ya? I thought so! Now it's time to take that journey somewhere between light and shadow, between science and superstition, somewhere between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. This is an area which we call the Twilight Zone. Have a nice trip...