After the Zone-a-thon III

Ring in the new year without The Twilight Zone? Most fans of the fifth dimension would sooner think a bad thought around Anthony Fremont.

It's a Good Life8

No, we were all there, and fortunately, the Syfy channel didn’t disappoint. They ran a terrific slate of episodes this time. Sure, Season 4 was largely neglected, but the 87 episodes that DID make it were well-chosen. (Of course, it helps that TZ has so few duds.)

But even so, there were some solid episodes that didn’t make this year’s marathon. I’ve highlighted a few of them below. You can click on any of the titles to watch the episode in question on free Hulu.

ELEGY

Season 1, Episode 20 – February 19, 1960

3 (12)

If you were an astronaut who discovered people frozen like statues on some far-flung planet, how would you explain it? The trio of explorers who star in Charles Beaumont’s “Elegy” come up with quite a few theories, but it takes the only person who does move around — a 200-year-old robot caretaker, to be precise — to reveal the startling truth.

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A PASSAGE FOR TRUMPET

Season 1, Episode 32 – May 20, 1960

PFT2

I’m a sucker for redemption stories, and the first of Jack Klugman’s four TZs is a sweet one. A down-and-out musician decides to end it all, only to discover (with a little celestial assistance) that maybe life isn’t quite so bad. It would be a forgettable movie-of-the-week in less-talented hands, but Serling infuses it with the ideal amount of heart and charm.

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MINIATURE

Season 4, Episode 8 – February 21, 1963

1.1 (1)

I could name several Season 4 episodes that were neglected this time around, but I’ll go with the one where Robert Duvall (fresh off his film debut in “To Kill a Mockingbird”) plays a gentle soul who frequently visits the museum near his house. He’s especially drawn to an over-sized Victorian dollhouse, where he sees the tiny figure of a lovely young woman … moving around? A beautifully written tale of the pain of trying to fit in when you feel like a square peg.

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QUEEN OF THE NILE

Season 5, Episode 23 – March 6, 1964

18 (5)

The desire to live forever is universal, but there’s no way to actually achieve that feat, right? Unless you’re Pamela Martin, and you’ve been around since the days of the pharaohs and you have a scarab beetle imbued with special powers. A reporter is determined to uncover the secret behind her endlessly youthful appearance, but it isn’t long before he’s wishing he’d settled for a simple “no comment.”

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MR. GARRITY AND THE GRAVES

Season 5, Episode 32 – May 8, 1964

4 (10)

It was clear from the earliest days of The Twilight Zone that Serling had a penchant for stories about pitchmen (“One For The Angels“, “Mr. Denton on Doomsday“), and this tale about a man in Old West times who claims he can raise the dead is both clever and humorous. You’ll never look at a reference to Boot Hill quite the same again.

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And there you have it, a sampling of TZs that I wish had made the list. Let’s face it, though: The best marathon would feature all 156 episodes — more than four days’ worth of top-notch entertainment. A man can dream, right?

Perchance to Dream15

Easy, Edward. I didn’t mean you.

Related: “After The Zone-a-thon” and “After the Zone-a-thon II“.

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There are other ways besides Hulu to watch TZ. Everything but Season 4 is streaming on Netflix and Amazon Prime (where you can also stream S4 for a little extra $). The entire series is also available on iTunes, as well as on DVD and Blu-ray.

Photos courtesy of Wendy Brydge. For a daily dose of Serling, you can follow me on TwitterFacebook or PinterestYou 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 members can also hit “follow” at the top of this 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 01/26/2015, in Twilight Zone and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Thankfully, Paul, we have you and your excellent blog and Twitter feed to keep that “endless marathon” feel going!

    I guess season 4 goes perpetually underrepresented because of the hour-long format. The Zone works best in small doses.

    The highlight of this year’s marathon, for me, was watching “Odyssey of Flight 33” for the first time, together with my 13-year-old son and several active fellow Zone fans on Twitter. I wondered if “Flight 33” was one of Serling’s backdoor pilots for a spin-off show, as the poor plane and her crew and passengers descend through the clouds to another period of history each week…!

    • Thanks, Mike! That “endless marathon” feeling is exactly what I strive for, so I’m glad it’s working, and that you and so many others are around to fan along with me. :)

      You’re right about Season 4. The half-hour format is ideal for TZ, but they still did some great work that year, so I was happy to see SyFy cycle in three of them.

      Ah, you finally got to see “Odyssey”! Good for you. It wasn’t a backdoor pilot, but ha, I can see how it could function as one! He wrote that episode with his pilot brother, Bob, supplying authentic-sounding cockpit dialogue. It certainly was well worth the extra effort!

  2. I particularly like Miniature and Elegy. Escaping into a dream world, another dimension is fascinating to me. Maybe next Marathon (or Hulu, or the DVDs, or…) At least we have options, Paul. Thanks for reminding us of these gems.

    • You’re welcome, Dan! As an unofficial “ambassador” for TZ, I like to remind people that TZ is more than just Henry Bemis’s broken glasses and Bob Wilson’s gremlin on the wing. And you’re right — unconventional escape is a common theme in TZ, and these episodes portray it very well.

  3. Ah, another successful marathon in the bag, Boss! Once again made way more fun by live-tweeting with you. :)

    I really like your After the Zone-a-thon posts because I’m usually left scratching my head at the episodes that get left out. As you point out, there’s only room for 87 of 156, but gee, they make some strange choices!

    This is a great selection you made this year. Let’s see… “Elegy” is an episode that I really need to rewatch. I know I’ve seen it, but it’s one of those eps that I’ve seen only once, and a long time ago. But hey, if Mr. TZ’s own GF isn’t overly familiar with an episode, then chances are it’s one that a lot of others aren’t terribly familiar with either. Ergo, it should be in the marathon!

    Speaking of eps I may or may not have seen… “Mr. Garrity and the Graves” is one that I don’t think I’ve EVER seen! But it looks so good. I got a little taste of it when I was pulling pics for your post and it’s the next one on my list to see.

    “Queen of the Nile” is a great episode. Tons of visual appeal. And “Miniature” is one of the best of season 4. Such a perfect ending. :)

    As for “A Passage for Trumpet”, well, I’ve said this way too many times before but this is an episode I don’t much care for. However, it also is a nice story with a good ending, so while it might not make my own personal marathon lineup, it’s a classic episode and I was surprised not to see it this year.

    But hey, that’s part of the charm of the NYE marathon — not only can we fan about the episodes we love and cherish, but we can lament about our favourites that were left out and maybe see a couple “duds” that we’d normally skip over.

    See you on the 4th of July for the next one, Boss! :)

    • You certainly will, GF! This year’s marathon was particularly fun, and the fact that SyFy made some good selections was only part of the reason. I wouldn’t necessarily mind seeing a whole line-up of “duds,” as long as I was live-tweeting with my favorite TZ fanatic! ;)

      I’m also glad you like my short list here. There are many others I could have picked (as you well know — you’ve heard me go on about my favorites often enough before!), but I was trying to keep this list to a manageable length. For example, I could have picked half a dozen other Season 4 episodes, but I decided to make “Miniature” the “representative” for that group, so to speak.

      They’re all well-worth a rewatch. Or in the case of you and “Mr. Garrity and the Graves”, a watch! So I’d suggest you start with that, then see “Elegy” again. (I love all the trippy theorizing about why they’re seeing what they’re seeing.) Then, what the heck, rewatch the others — even “A Passage for Trumpet.” I mean, sooner or later, you’ll see why I’m right about that ep. ;)

      Looking forward to the next marathon, GF. I know we’ll live-tweet up another storm! :)

  4. I enjoyed the New Year marathon, but sad when it’s over. I really appreciate the tweets about the episodes while I’m watching them.

    I always learn something new about Rod Serling, his work and the other TZ writers from your tweets and blog!

    “Elegy” is a great story, but it always creeps me out! I could never have guessed its “secret”. It was such an intense episode that I have often wondered if that light touch at the end was added deliberately to lighten that intensity.

    The Twilight Zone was a very diverse show although it is sometimes classified as sci-fi or horror. It was so much more than that. Most importantly, it was about relationships and the interactions of characters, not about special affects or gimmicks like so many of today’s shows.

    “The Walking Dead” and even “Breaking Bad” have benefited from realizing that. They all owe something to Rod Serling and his stable of excellent writers.

    • Ah, yes! That’s the hallmark of a good party. We can’t wait for it to happen, we enjoy every minute of it … and then we miss it terribly when it’s over.

      I know that feeling well. That’s part of what led me to create my Twitter page and this blog — so I could, in a way, keep the party going. I’m glad that they fill that role for you and for others, and that you all learn new things here. It’s fun to share information and swap theories with other fans, that’s for sure.

      And you’re certainly right about the debt that today’s epic shows owe to TZ. Directly or indirectly, the influence is there. Of course, nothing can top the original. Fortunately, though, we still have it around to enjoy.

      It’s been watched and fanned about for more than 50 years, and I’m convinced it will be watched and fanned about for many, many more years to come.

  1. Pingback: After the Zone-a-thon IV: More Missing Episodes | Shadow & Substance

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