Delve into the Bizarre: Serling Outlines What The Twilight Zone Is and Isn’t
If someone who had never seen The Twilight Zone asked you to describe it, what would you say?
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.
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.
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