Among the many classic television shows of the 1950’s- early 1960’s, few could combine the complex elements of psychological horror, fantasy suspense and intriguing mystery so masterfully as the father of all anthology shows, “The Twilight Zone.” Hosted by visionary screenwriter and playwright Rod Serling, every episode focused so brilliantly on a wide variety of subjects and peculiar situations that could be considered horror or paranormal, including everything from an episode a man with his canine companion walking from hell to heaven and another episode about a demented six-year-old boy with god-like mental abilities that consistently harms his families.


With “The Twilight Zone” arguably being the precursor to more recent anthology series like the Netflix smash hit “Black Mirror” and FX’s horrifying “American Horror Story”, every single episode focused on a different story of individuals experiencing something peculiar or otherwise unpleasant. What was different about the “The Twilight Zone” from the other series that it would impact was it’s plot twists that intertwined historical events into it’s episodes. A perfect example of using historical events within episodes would actually be the very pilot that Serling himself pitched to CBS in 1957; a “a time travel adventure about a man who travels back to Honolulu in 1941 and unsuccessfully tries to warn everyone about the impending attack on Pearl Harbor.”


(Me TV)

Something worth noting about the anthology-type storytelling of the show meant that many iconic actors would receive their acting start on a “Twilight Zone” episode.” Of the many actors who became legendary in the many genres of film, including ironically both Spock and Captain Kirk, Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner respectively. Burt Reynolds, Robert Redford, Carol Burnett, George Takei, Cloris Leachman and Mickey Rooney were several among countless actors and actresses that would appear throughout the four seasons of the show.


Even after the four-season run, there were two more revivals of the series. Although they didn’t quite make the splash on television that the original series did, the series in 1985-1989 and the 43-episode run in 2002 were still decently good in their own right and were pivotal stepping stones in the careers of today’s many loved actors and actresses.


Earlier this month, CBS announced a third revival series of the classic horror series. Although Serling sadly passed away in 1975, CBS’ choice to replace Serling is certainly fitting; and although the new host got his start on “Mad TV”, I couldn’t think of a better choice.


Jordan Peele of the famous comedy duo that had their own three-season Comedy Central series “Key and Peele” made waves in the horror industry earlier this year with the psychological horror film portraying the story of an interracial couple and the girlfriend’s strange family, “Get Out”. Filmed on a budget of less than $5 million, the film performed impossibly well among both critics and fans, receiving $254 million and even two Golden Globe nominations among many other nominations.


“Too many times this year it’s felt we were living in a twilight zone, and I can’t think of a better moment to reintroduce it to modern audiences,” said Peele.      


Peele couldn’t have described many Americans’ feelings on recent events better. I’ve always felt like the past few years have been straight out of a “Black Mirror” episode, but maybe it’s been just like “The Twilight Zone” as well.


Do you remember the old-school “Twilight Zone” episodes? Tweet me your favorite episode at @CaptainKasoff.