Delve into the Bizarre

If someone who had never seen The Twilight Zone asked you to describe it, what would you say?

Delve into the Bizarre

Even if you’ve seen all 156 episodes, it can be hard to capture exactly what the show is about. So let’s check with the ultimate Zone authority: Rod Serling. Shortly after the series premiered in October 1959, he took a stab at defining it for TV Guide:

Here’s what The Twilight Zone is: It’s an anthology series, half-hour in length, that delves into the odd, the bizarre, the unexpected. It probes into the dimension of imagination, but with a concern for taste and for an adult audience too long considered to have I.Q.s in negative figures.

The Twilight Zone is what it implies: that shadowy area of the almost-but-not-quite; the unbelievable told in terms that can be believed.

Here’s what the program isn’t: It’s not a monster rally or a spook show. There will be nothing formula’d in it, nothing telegraphed, nothing so nostalgically familiar than an audience can usually join actors in duets.

More than 50 years later, amid the many carbon-copy sitcoms, police procedurals and “reality” shows that litter the hundreds of channels on our TVs, it’s easier than ever to appreciate a show that was a) unique and b) intelligent. And one with “a concern for taste,” too? Wow. No wonder we still flock to Zone marathons.

Night Call

Can we define the show even more succinctly? Yes. Here’s what Serling told his daughter Jodi when she was still a young girl: “I’ll tell you what it’s about. It’s about the mysteries of life that you’ll never learn in school.”

Amen. Talk about a class you’ll never want to cut.

Photos courtesy of Wendy Brydge. 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. Hope to see you in some corner of the fifth dimension soon!

Advertisements

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 09/14/2011, in Twilight Zone and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Boss, all of your posts are not only interesting and informative, but they’re so well written and enjoyable. It is always such a pleasure to read new posts, and to go back and reread the old ones.

    But much like everyone has a favourite episode of the Twilight Zone, I have a favourite Paul-post. And this is it.

    I’m not saying it’s your best post, per se. That wonderful in-depth Night of the Meek piece is incredible (as are ALL the others). But this is my favourite of your posts. I can’t explain it, it just is.

    So I’m very excited to feature it this upcoming Tuesday as my Gal Friday Pick of the Week. Will you ever cease to amaze me? Is there anything you CAN’T write about? That was rhetorical. I’ve read plenty of your non-Serling writing and I know that no, there isn’t anything you can’t write about, and write it damn well. :)

    • I’m flattered beyond belief, GF! No other feedback that I get means more to me than yours. It’s a pleasure to write these posts, but nothing tops how very gratifying it is to know that they’re read and appreciated, especially by someone whose opinion means so much to me. Thank you, my friend.

      I wonder if this post appeals so strongly because it’s attempting to get at the reason WHY the show endures, and why it’s as entertaining and thought-provoking today as it was when it first aired. I know I’M still trying to figure it out. I have theories, like anyone, but I can’t pretend to have it all worked out. Sure is fun to try, though.

      And although your questions were rhetorical, I can tell you that NO, I will never cease to amaze you. No, there’s nothing I can’t write about. Hubris, you say? Not at all. I can sound so sure because I have the best Gal Friday on the planet helping me. Lucky me. :)

      • I think you’re right about why this post appeals so much to me. As the self-proclaimed “Seeker of Truth”, it would only make sense that I’d be drawn to something which attempts to explain “why”.

        Or it’s just that you’re amazing and I love your writing! ;D #MaybeBoth

  1. Pingback: The Thread of Imagination | Shadow & Substance

  2. Pingback: Defining The Zone | Shadow & Substance

  3. Pingback: A Series for Storytellers | Shadow & Substance

  4. Pingback: “That’s The Signpost Up Ahead …” | Shadow & Substance

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: