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The Twilight Zone


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#1

String Theory

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Posted Jan 1, 2004 @ 9:46 PM

Does anyone else go into fits of ecstasy on New Years day over the Twilight Zone marathon on Sci-Fi? It's definately the best sci-fi television show EVER!
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#2

ChillinTheMost

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 8:20 AM

I didn't catch as many episodes this year as I usually do. But then, I have all the episodes on tape...
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#3

Sci Fi Gal

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 9:12 AM

Please, I spent every waking minute that I was home watching Twilight Zone. Sci-fi always chooses the best episodes for the primetime run too.
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#4

xii

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 11:54 AM

I always look forward to SciFi's TZ marathons. I find them very comforting for some reason. Even though some episodes don't hold up as well as others, there were some real gems. I swear, "It's a Good Life" gets more chilling every time I see it. I keep hoping the crazy aunt will, for the love of God, smash Billy Mumy's skull in with an andiron.

Has anyone else noticed how many episodes revolved around middle-aged white men wanting to return to the "simpler" era, circa the late 1800s? Seriously, how hard could it have been to be a middle-class white guy in the late 1950s? It's ironic how we look back at that era nostalgically now.
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#5

TudorQueen

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 1:24 PM

Has anyone else noticed how many episodes revolved around middle-aged white men wanting to return to the "simpler" era, circa the late 1800s? Seriously, how hard could it have been to be a middle-class white guy in the late 1950s? It's ironic how we look back at that era nostalgically now.


If they did it now, they could have a downsized exec with terrorism anxiety and post-Goth kids finding a portal to fifties America, with its own complications...
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#6

String Theory

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 1:26 PM

Seriously, how hard could it have been to be a middle-class white guy in the late 1950s? It's ironic how we look back at that era nostalgically now.


Now that's funny. But ain't it the truth. Must be some kind of post-war/cold war thing.

Whenever I watch the TZ marathons I always feel like I'm in some sort of Twilight Zone episode because I swear to god I always end up watching an episode that I've never seen before (and I'm no spring chicken)! It's uncanny. How many episodes did they do? It seems like hundreds. But it is very comforting to see those shows.
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#7

Sci Fi Gal

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 1:54 PM

How many episodes did they do? It seems like hundreds.

There were five seasons and a total of 156 episodes (if you count the hour long episodes as one.) There were two TV-Movies for the original series. That said, there were three seasons totalling 110 episodes of the 1985 series and 44 episodes of the 2002 series.

The original is still the best. imho, of course.

Seriously, how hard could it have been to be a middle-class white guy in the late 1950s?

Heh. I just got a mental picture of some guy fifty years from now saying 'How hard could it have been to be a whit guy in the early 2000s?'
But I think a lot of the episodes were based on then-current fears: war, nuclear weapons, new/unknown technologies; as well as the desire to go back to a simpler time when everything was easier. The past always looks so simple and nice, it's the hindsight principle.
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#8

Sandbagger1

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 2:18 PM

Earlier in the week, on American Masters, they did a retrospective on Rod Serling. It was fascinating, especially the way he fought against the TV censors. His first episode of Twilight Zone, "Where Is Everybody?" was specifically designed so they sponsors and censors would buy the show, figuring it would not be controversial, or taking up 'dangerous topics.' Serling had even said in an interview with Mike Wallace just before the show debuted, that he would not tackle any taboo topics again. Basically, he lied. I love it!
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#9

TudorQueen

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 2:32 PM

He also said, in different interviews, that at a time when pressure from sponsors and network censors made it very hard to use the social issues he wanted to explore, the sci/fi-fantasy element gave him that freedom. Instead of talking about black/white relations, he used Martians, or something.
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#10

ChillinTheMost

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 2:45 PM

Wow. I hadn't even thought about the fact that it was guys during the 50's wanting the simpler life! It is a bit mind-boggling. I do love how TZ tackled prejudice by using aliens. A classic episode was Eye of the Beholder where the lady trying to have facial surgery to fit in was the beautiful Donna Douglas!

The episode that had a lasting impact on me, though, was Time Enough At Last. It was the Burgess Meredith episode where he was a bank clerk that loved to read. His wife would never let him read at home, so he went down to the bank vault to read during his lunchtime. He got shut in the vault during an apocalyptic war and was the sole survivor. He took every book out of the library, piled them on the steps, exclaimed, "Time Enough At Last!" and then broke his glasses so he couldn't see to read. I thought it would start raining or something and ruin the books. That episode horrified me and I have a life-long fear of going blind and not being able to read!
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#11

Meady

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 10:53 PM

Rod Serling was truly a genius. He also penned the screenplay for Planet of the Apes (original) which was absolutely brilliant.

My personal favorite which happens to stand the test of time and no matter when I see it, it always represents an allegory for current events is "To Serve Man". Beware of Greeks bearing gifts...
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#12

String Theory

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Posted Jan 3, 2004 @ 12:43 AM

There were five seasons and a total of 156 episodes (if you count the hour long episodes as one.) There were two TV-Movies for the original series. That said, there were three seasons totalling 110 episodes of the 1985 series and 44 episodes of the 2002 series.


Sci Fi Girl you're my hero! Thanks. I guess that's a lot of episodes (certainly more than can be aired in a 24 hour marathon so if you account for that, plus my memory fading as an adult (surely I couldn't remember them all from my childhood) I guess it makes sense that I keep coming across ones I've never seen before.

The episode that had a lasting impact on me, though, was Time Enough At Last. It was the Burgess Meredith episode where he was a bank clerk that loved to read.


Oh man! No matter who I talk to about TZ (true TZ fans of course), they always mention this episode as being one of the best or the one that they remember (or that moved them). I feel the same way. That episode affected so many people. That has to say something about us as a species (and about our perceptions and fears about time.... there's a discussion).

Hey, you know what would be cool? Having a Twilight Zone monthly club. Kind of like a book club but instead of books, the group chooses a TZ episode (or maybe a couple) to view and then meet and discuss the philosphy/science, etc. about the episode. Okay, do I sound like a super geek or like I should get a life? I'll end my post now. (but I might start a TZ group in my hometown some day)
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#13

ChinkyGirl

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Posted Jan 3, 2004 @ 11:57 AM

Has anyone checked out Rod Serling: Submitted for your Approval, a PBS special that recently aired? I caught glimpses of it late last night and it waspretty insightful with interviews from his kids and friends.
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#14

Sikamikanico

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Posted Jan 3, 2004 @ 12:26 PM

Instead of talking about black/white relations, he used Martians, or something.


Although my only real experience with the Twilight Zone has been through the Sci-Fi marathon (and the script to that episode about the lights going out in a neighborhood except for one house and everyone was getting paranoid that was in my 11th grade English textbook), prejudice was dealt with head-on in at least one episode. I can't remember the name of it, but it was the one where Dennis Hopper played the power-hungry American nazi who was taking orders from a mysterious, shadowy figure who turned out to be the ghost of Adolf Hitler. That was one of the best episodes of TZ as far as I am concerned; Dennis Hopper is a really kick-ass actor. He turned the character into an emotionally-conflicted love-starved figure that you actually felt sorry for, even in his most dispicable moments.
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#15

TudorQueen

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Posted Jan 3, 2004 @ 12:43 PM

It was called "He Lives". Hopper's performance, and that of Ludwig Donath as the elderly Jewish man who has befriended him from childhood on, were the highlights of the episode.
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#16

cbe

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Posted Jan 3, 2004 @ 1:30 PM

The Sci-fi TZ marathon has become a tradition in my house. My sons always want to tell them which are the good ones. Usually the ones that interest them the most are the ones the have been spoofed on The Simpsons. They love "To Serve Man" or as the Simpsons portrayed it " How to Serve Forty Humans"
The Simpsins also did a great spoof on "Time Enough at Last"
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#17

Sikamikanico

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Posted Jan 3, 2004 @ 1:51 PM

Thanks for the name to the episode TudorQueen; and Ludwig Donath played his role excellently as well. cbe, Family Guy actually did a great parody of "Time Enough At Last". Not only do the guys glasses break, his eyes fall out right after he says that his eyesight isn't that bad, his fingers fall off right after he says it's a good thing he knows braille; then his whole body falls apart.
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#18

Sci Fi Gal

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Posted Jan 3, 2004 @ 2:55 PM

Some of my favorites are "Where is Everybody", "Number Twelve Looks Just Like You" and "To Serve Man". Now episodes that creep me out... "The Masks", "Little Girl Lost" and "Time enough at last". But these are just a few.
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#19

ChinkyGirl

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Posted Jan 3, 2004 @ 4:14 PM

Although my only real experience with the Twilight Zone has been through the Sci-Fi marathon (and the script to that episode about the lights going out in a neighborhood except for one house and everyone was getting paranoid that was in my 11th grade English textbook),

You too? We actually "acted" this thing out in 8th grade and it was only years later watching TZ did I realise that it was an episode.

Another classic ep. was "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" featuring William Shatner, though John Lithgow did a pretty convincing remake of it too.
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#20

cutecouple

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Posted Jan 3, 2004 @ 5:37 PM

FWIW, there is a syndicated Twilight Zone radio series, with one hour episodes. It is a remake of the original series, with apparently the blessing of the Serling estate. Check the website for local broadcast details.
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#21

Meady

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Posted Jan 3, 2004 @ 7:10 PM

I compiled a list of my favorites and I realized that most of them weren't shown this marathon. Like others, every time I see a marathon, I see an episode I'd never seen before. The marathons are always a new discovery for me. Anyway, here's my favorites, Rod Serling penned most of them for me.

To Serve Man: Classic, powerful allegory. I wrote college essays about this one.

People are alike all over: Another classic w/ Roddy McDowell playing the paranoid astronaut. Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get ya!

On Thursday we Leave for Home: James Whitmore is wonderful portraying a man who is so warped by his control over others, he won't save himself. When it comes to power, don't get high on your own supply. A very poignant ep.

A World of His Own: Another classic where the main character dictates the people around him to a tape recorder and they come to life. Funny and very clever.

The Midnight Sun: Really good science fiction tale of a woman who imagines that the earth is moving closer to the sun. The reality is quite the opposite.

The Purple Testament: The best of the war themed eps (IMO) where a Lieutenant can see who's going to die before a battle.

The Little People: A great episode in which an astronaut discovers lilliputionlike people who worship him. A lesson in meglomania.

Mr Dingle the Strong: The best (IMO) of the Burgess Meridith eps. Fun episode, no real lessons here.

The Howling Man: Another things are never what they seem type of episode where a compassionate man inadvertantly unleashes the devil upon the masses. Another good allegory.

There are many other episodes that I really like, but these are the ones that stay with me.

Edited by Meady, Jan 4, 2004 @ 1:19 AM.

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#22

bobbyhill

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Posted Jan 4, 2004 @ 12:56 PM

I saw the movie Paycheck yesterday, and it made me think of the TZ episode where William Shatner's car breaks down in some town, so he and his wife go to a diner where Shatner becomes obsessed with a fortune-telling machine to the point that he starts basing his actions on what the machine tells him. Spoiler tags used because this could "spoil" Paycheck. Anyway, I thought it was a similar theme being explored.
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#23

ChinkyGirl

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Posted Jan 4, 2004 @ 1:50 PM

That was William Shatner in that episode too? Cool! Never realised that, and I would say that it was a classic episode as well (and one that I always seem to catch during the marathon - spooky!).
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#24

String Theory

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Posted Jan 4, 2004 @ 8:08 PM

Does anyone know where and when TZ airs in New York City? I find it occasionally on Sci-Fi during the day but not on the regular schedule (and it's a damn shame they air it during the day -- any respectable network would show it late at night -- TZ is a dark tunnel to go in, showing it at night accentuates that)
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#25

ChinkyGirl

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Posted Jan 4, 2004 @ 10:37 PM

They also air it at 1:30am on the Sci Fi Channel - I'm usually up watching it and creeping myself out before bed, lol.
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#26

callavere

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Posted Jan 4, 2004 @ 10:50 PM

God Bless TiVo--we have a season pass and watch them on the weekends. My favorite so far is "Number 12 Looks Just Like You," because of the unhappy ending. But I do love "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street." Rod is practically biting the words at the end, about how prejudice is a universal phenomenon, never just confined to the Twilight Zone.

I do also love "A World of His Own," simply for how the fourth wall is broken for the only time in the series at the end.

And of course, the episode where Robert Redford is...well, death, is pretty great.

I adore this show. You can see how it is one of the bedrocks of modern SF--so many writers have borrowed or been inspired by ideas on these shows.
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#27

String Theory

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Posted Jan 4, 2004 @ 11:07 PM

I adore this show. You can see how it is one of the bedrocks of modern SF--so many writers have borrowed or been inspired by ideas on these shows.


Absolutely. And what's so fascinating is that, while many shows have obviously used it as inspiration, no show has actually been able to duplicate it's sheer brilliance and originality (or ability to capture the "essence of man"). I know this is subjective, but this is the TZ thread! Hee.

They also air it at 1:30am on the Sci Fi Channel - I'm usually up watching it and creeping myself out before bed, lol.


Thanks ChinkyGirl! You have made me a happy person! When I was twelve (and living in Brooklyn), my cousins and I would be hanging out late at night (only in the summer and only right outside the house of course), but at 1:00am, no matter what was going on outside, we'd haul ass back into the house, watch TZ and then afterwards go back outside. It was our BIBLE. Hee.
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#28

erik316wttn

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Posted Jan 5, 2004 @ 12:35 AM

Was anyone here a fan of the UPN remake? I was. I loved it and was intrigued nearly every episode. However, I hear it got horrible ratings. I still catch the old black and white ones on Sci-fi whenever I can.
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#29

TudorQueen

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Posted Jan 5, 2004 @ 10:44 AM

I liked the UPN version, not as much as the classic, and not as much as the early 80's revival, which is heretically my favorite, but I did like it. I thought the one about the time traveller sent to keep Hitler from growing up was brilliantly in tune with Serling and his original ideas and philosophies. I also liked the sequel to "It's a Good Life" [and I'd approached that with some trepidation] and the one with Eriq LaSalle as the dying man who gets sent back to Memphis just before Martin Luther King's assassination, because I was sure it would go in one direction and it fooled me completely and happily.
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#30

ChillinTheMost

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Posted Jan 5, 2004 @ 11:09 AM

Meady: Oooo, The Midnight Sun! Excellent twist, without really changing the outcome, was great!!!

Robert Redford as death was most noteworthy because, well, Robert Redford was death. And a very calm, reassuring death, at that!

One for the Angels always makes me tear up. Death comes for an elderly man that isn’t ready to go. He finds a loophole: he hasn’t completed a driving desire on Earth: to make a “pitch for the angels”. Death tries to take an alternative: a little girl. The elderly man keeps Death from getting to the girl on time by making the ultimate pitch [he sold trinkets from a suitcase] then tells Death that he’s ready to go. That one was always a tearjerker for me.

Another episode that kind of got boring and annoying in the rewatching over the years, but when you think about the fact that absolutely no words are spoken until the very end makes you realize how good it really is: The Invaders with Agnes Moorehead. A classic Serling twist at the end, too.

I always liked the one with Elizabeth Montgomery as the Russian and Charles Bronson as the American as the sole surviving soldiers of the Apocalyptic war. I believe it was called Two.

So many great episodes! I'm sure more will come to me as I sit at work, not working...
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