Serling’s “The Loner”

Ever wonder what a Western penned by Rod Serling would have been like? No need to — there actually was one.

If that’s news to you, don’t be surprised. The Loner, which starred Lloyd Bridges, ran for only one season on CBS. Today, not unlike the cowboy himself, it seems all but forgotten.

lonerrodserling

Which is really a shame. The Loner had no supernatural elements and was about as far removed from the fifth dimension as you can imagine. But it had one thing in common with The Twilight Zone: Serling’s incisive writing and pointed social critiques.

Still, it wasn’t your run-of-the-mill Western. And that may have spelled its doom. CBS reportedly wanted more conventional genre elements — gun battles, running stage coaches, etc. And Serling being Serling, he resisted. To be sure, there’s gunplay and other familiar Western staples, but he insisted on giving “The Loner” a distinctive voice.

That meant characters wrestling with real problems, and shows that touched on racism and other controversial themes. It meant painting less with less black and white, and more with grays — and airing shows that didn’t always deliver the standard “happy ending.”

You can learn a lot more by reading this detailed article by Tony Albarella. Better yet, you can order the entire series (all 26 episodes) on DVD for only about $15 at Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Loner-The-Complete-Series/dp/B01IHSM0HW Here’s one of Serling’s episodes:

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For a daily dose of Serling, you can follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest. You can also get email notifications of future posts by entering your address under “Follow S&S Via Email” on the upper left-hand side of this post. WordPress followers, just hit “follow” at the top of the page. Hope to see you in some corner of the fifth dimension soon!

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About Paul

Hard-working, hard-playing fan of all pop culture, especially the Twilight Zone. Which led to a Twitter page. And then to a blog. And then to ... stay tuned. Yes, that's a picture of Rod Serling, not me. You can find the real me under the "Your Host" tab on my blog, along with biographical details that, while 100 percent accurate, sound kind of boastful and braggy. Sorry.

Posted on 06/19/2011, in The Loner and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I find THE LONER excellent and would love to see an official DVD release!

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