The Many Lives of the Twilight Zone

twilightzoneWhen most people think of The Twilight Zone  their mind goes right to that iconic image of Rod Serling, offering up his twilight-themed pearls of wisdom in a black and white tinted showcase… There have actually been multiple “revivals” of the show, all of which attempted to capture something of the original while offering up their own unique offerings to viewers. How do each of these The Twilight Zone series compare? Let’s find out!

The Twilight Zone (1959 – 1964)

the twilight zone special features

The original series was created at a time when many subjects were considered to be off-limits for television–especially for anything considered to be serious, such as primetime dramas. But The Twilight Zone, which was more or less dismissed as science-fiction/fantasy, tackled numerous taboo and controversial subjects, such as mass hysteria, nuclear war, an increasing reliance on technology—just to name a few.

The Twilight Zone (1985-1987)twilightzone2

The first Twilight Zone revival (produced by CBS) relied heavily on adapting existing short stories which lay in the realm of “typical” science-fiction rather than stories with frequent contemporary parallels. In addition to these new scripts, several episodes of the new series were direct remakes of previous Twilight Zone episodes, like Shadow Play and Night of the Meek.

The show’s first season featured episodes which were separated into two 12-15 minute stories which were aired back to back as whole episodes. The show’s second season extended the episode time to an hour, while the third season went back to a half-hour format.

Most episodes were received with a lukewarm reception, but some stand-outs (such as “Dream Me a Life”) did receive critical acclaim.

Ttwilightzone3he Twilight Zone (2002-2003)

This second revival was produced by in 2002 but was cancel after one season due to low ratings. The second modern revival, like the original series, focused much more on contemporary issues such as racism, terrorism, female sexuality, and even more abstract concepts like greed and technology-reliance. There were also a handful of remade versions of original Twilight Zone episodes, such as an update to “The Monsters Are on Maple Street,” which replaces the “alien hysteria” with “terrorist” hysteria.

Some noteworthy episodes include It’s Still a Good Life, a sequel to the original It’s a Good Life; One Night at Mercy, an introspective episode starring Death himself; and Sanctuary, a modern “Adam and Eve” parallel that leaves viewers wondering: “What if?”  Check out these other awesome options for home entertainment right now.