So why would a Serling fan use the Twitter handle “@TheNightGallery” and not something Zone-related? Because when I set up the page in September 2010, I envisioned it as a defense of Serling’s other anthology — which has an unfair reputation as The Twilight Zone‘s ugly step-sibling.
There’s no question that TZ is the superior show. The routine excellence of the writing, acting and directing is legendary. It’s the reason we’re still watching and enjoying those excursions into the fifth dimension half a century later.
And it’s true that Rod Serling’s Night Gallery, to use its full title, didn’t quite hit the high standards set by its predecessor. The hit-to-miss ratio wasn’t as good (although I’d pit it against the Zone‘s fourth and fifth seasons any day). And its focus was more narrow, with an emphasis on scares. The broad palette of genres regularly used on the Zone were, for the most part, absent.
But Serling, along with some other talented writers, did some terrific work on the show. And when it was good, it was very good, especially the Emmy-nominated “They’re Tearing Down Tim Riley’s Bar.” Some of the best Gallery episodes can stand with Serling’s work on the Zone, or his pre-Zone teleplays. It delivered some genuine frights, often in unconventional ways.
If you’ve never seen Night Gallery before, or it’s been a long time, get the first disc of Season 1 from Netflix (or elsewhere) and watch the pilot movie — three Serling originals that almost any Zone fan will enjoy. The whole series (but not the pilot) is also available on Hulu.
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Hope to see you in some corner of the fifth dimension soon!