After the Zone-a-thon IV: More Missing Episodes
Posted by Paul
We had quite a treat last New Year’s, didn’t we, Twilight Zone fans? Syfy surprised us with an extended marathon of every episode, in order and in high-def. Talk about “what you need.”
It did, however, put the kibosh on one of my favorite post-marathon activities: writing a blog post to highlight a few episodes that didn’t make the schedule. But I figured I’d have another chance when the July 4 marathon rolled around … and here we are.
Syfy aired 57 episodes this time out. That’s about a third of the 156 that aired during the show’s run, leaving me 99 to pick from. That’s a daunting task. Many worthy episodes didn’t make the cut. But here are five that I think merit a watch — or rewatch. (Note: I didn’t repeat any picks from my previous “Zone-a-thon” posts.) U.S.-based fans, click on any title to watch the episode on Hulu.
Season 1, Episode 3 – October 16, 1959
You don’t have to be a Twilight Zone fanatic to know the fifth dimension is a place where bad things sometimes happen to good people. But it’s also a place where the down and out can catch a much-needed break. Case in point: this early episode, in which a mysterious peddler helps a former gunslinger find a better way to ease his guilty conscience than by drowning it in booze. Is another kill-or-be-killed situation in his future? Not if Rod Serling can help it.
Season 1, Episode 13 – January 1, 1960
One reason superhero stories are popular is that we all like to imagine what we’d do if we had super powers. Fight villains, rescue people, right? We overlook the fact that some people would probably misuse their powers. Take Arch Hammer. He can change his face at will, so he decides to impersonate a few people — and solely for personal gain. Who cares if he breaks a few hearts, steals a few fortunes? Karma, that’s who. A noir-filled, stylish tale of comeuppance.
Season 3, Episode 11 – November 24, 1961
Make a deal with the Devil on The Twilight Zone, and you know you’ll live to regret it. This often-overlooked episode is a stand-out for me in part because it changes the formula a bit. Set during the Civil War, it introduces us to a Confederate soldier who’s offered an easy way to win the war for the South: his soul and the souls of his fellow soldiers in exchange for a Union defeat. Do the ends justify the means? That’s what Sgt. Paradine — and you — must decide.
Season 3, Episode 23 – February 23, 1962
Many people think of the Twilight Zone as a scary place, filled with malevolent aliens, evil dolls, and devastating twists of fate. But Serling and his fellow TZ scribes also enjoyed winking at us with gentler tales. One of my favorites is this light-hearted look at how a rural community copes when one of its members comes back from the dead. Did a natural medical anomaly restore Jeff to their midst, or is he possessed by a wandering spirit?
Season 4, Episode 13 – April 4, 1963
Sometimes Serling and company brought us irony-laden parables filled with deep insights into the faults and foibles of mankind. And sometimes they just wanted to scare the pants off of us. “The New Exhibit” falls firmly into this latter category. I mean, you have Martin Balsam (of “Psycho”) playing an eccentric caretaker in a wax museum — one who’s obsessed with the members of Murderers’ Row. Perhaps a little too obsessed. O_o
There you go, five more TZs you may want to check out (again). But wait, there are 94 others that … okay, okay. All in good time. Which we’d have plenty of, if we just could find the right time machine.
Well, then. Back to the drawing board …
Besides Hulu, you can watch TZ on Amazon (at no extra charge to Prime members). Everything but Season 4 is streaming on Netflix. The entire series is also available on iTunes, as well as on DVD and Blu-ray.
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Hope to see you in some corner of the fifth dimension soon!
About PaulFanning about the work of Rod Serling all over social media. If you enjoy pics, quotes, facts and blog posts about The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery and Serling's other projects, you've come to the right place.
Posted on 07/06/2016, in Twilight Zone, Uncategorized and tagged Mr. Denton on Doomsday, Rod Serling, Still Valley, The Four of Us Are Dying, The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank, The New Exhibit, TV marathons, Twilight Zone. Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.