No Twilight Zone Marathon on July 4th? Say It Ain’t So, Syfy
This isn’t the Twilight Zone marathon blog post I thought I’d be writing.
I was sure I’d be continuing my late-June tradition of publishing the schedule for the Syfy channel’s July 4 line-up of TZ episodes. But we recently learned they won’t be airing a marathon that day – unless you’re counting their replacement: an all-day slate of “Nightmare on Elm Street” movies.
YOU ARE KIDDING ME WITH THIS, RIGHT??!! Only the second 4th of July I’ve had off in 14 years. I had a whole day of popcorn and Twilight Zone planned. I may cry. I know I can find it other places, but it’s not the same.
— Joanna Bown (@joannabown101) June 22, 2018
Hey, I enjoy some Elm Street action at times. But I think even Freddy Krueger would admit the real horror here is leaving people without their biannual fifth-dimensional fix.
I am a huge, HUGE Nightmare on Elm Street fan, and yet could not be more disappointed to hear about this.
— Ryan Anderson (@everrpa) June 21, 2018
It’s true that this isn’t unprecedented. In 2011, Syfy ran a Greatest American Hero marathon over the Fourth. Granted, that’s more thematically appropriate, but you mess with TZ fans at your peril. They complained – mightily – and TZ returned in 2012.
Now, Syfy hasn’t messed with the Big One (yet): the New Year’s Eve marathon. That would be real sacrilege. This is bad enough, of course! But between the two, I’ll take the NYE one over the Independence Day one.
On July 4, the weather tends to be nicer. People are usually outside — playing games, grilling out, watching fireworks. But on New Year’s? There’s something about the cold, dreary days after Christmas is over that makes a TZ marathon feel like a balm to the soul.
Still, we’re TZ fans. We want our dose of Serling! So if you’re inclined to complain to Syfy, I don’t blame you a bit. I would simply encourage you to do it politely. After all, Syfy isn’t a public service. They aren’t contractually bound to provide us with TZ.
And even if they were, what’s more effective? To tell them they suck and that you’ll never watch their rotten, expletive-deleted station again if they don’t restore the marathon? Or to say you’re a long-time viewer who’s really disappointed — that you won’t be watching Freddy slice his way through a long list of teenage victims?
Now, some people have had the opposite reaction: Who cares? I have my discs or my streaming service. I don’t need Syfy, with its cut-up, ad-glutted episodes.
A lot of people agree. In fact, a couple have suggested that I host a replacement marathon. We could, they say, create a line-up of episodes for people to watch on Netflix, Hulu, or on disc.
It’s a nice idea, but – sorry! – not something I plan to do. It’s enough work as it is to live-tweet a slate of episodes that are being controlled by someone else. But to try and work with people who are watching via a slew of different services? Think about it. They’re sure to be uncoordinated, especially as time goes by. At least with Syfy, I know everyone is looking at the same thing at the same time!
It’s true that Shelley Young over on the various Facebook Twilight Zone fan pages hosts a monthly “Zonefest” where people watch three or four episodes via whatever discs or service they have and then fan along on FB. But that’s the thing – it’s three or four episodes. Now imagine it over 30 or so.
So while I appreciate the enthusiasm and the initiative, I won’t be hosting a do-it-yourself marathon. Mind you, I don’t mean fans shouldn’t be doing it themselves. Heck, spend your Fourth bingeing on TZ – Lord knows I take TZ breaks on a regular basis. Or join the folks on the TZ page(s) on FB. I’ll certainly have some good tweets lined up for you that day – I just won’t be live-tweeting a marathon.
At least not officially. Let’s face it, what is my Twitter page but a 365-day-a-year marathon? (Seriously, I never miss tweeting DAILY at least a little bit about Serling’s work.) Sure, we’re unhappy with Syfy, and we should tell them that. But let’s keep things in perspective. We’re lucky enough to be able to enjoy TZ almost everywhere we go.
You could say we’re free to Zone out whenever we like. What could be more fitting to celebrate on Independence Day? So let’s have a good one. Enjoy the many other times that Syfy broadcasts TZ. (They rerun it almost daily.) And then prepare to enjoy the big marathon on NYE.
Now, if they drop that one? Well, then we’ll unleash Talky Tina on them …
UPDATE: I learned recently that the Decades network will be airing a TZ marathon on July 4 starting at 7:00 a.m. EST. Very welcome news, obviously! Alas, Decades doesn’t yet have as far a reach as Syfy, so many fans won’t be able to watch it. Click here to see if Decades is on in your area. Click here for the schedule.
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!