A Stop at Syfy: Some Twilight Zone Marathon Musings

I’ve been poring over the list of episodes for the upcoming Twilight Zone marathon on Syfy (I can tell you’re shocked) and, well, some random thoughts occurred to me:

  • If you’re a fan of Season 4, you’re out of luck. Syfy won’t be showing any of its 18 hour-long episodes. Now, I think we can all agree that TZ is best suited to the half-hour format, so I suppose their decision is a practical one, but in the past, they’ve nearly always worked in a couple of them here and there.
  • If you’re fan of Seasons 3 and 5, you’re definitely in luck. Syfy will be running every episode from both of those seasons.

“Good news, Mr. Wilson — ‘Walking Distance’ made the cut.”

  • As for Seasons 1 and 2, it’s not bad: They’re showing about half of S2 (15 of its 29 episodes) and roughly two-thirds of S1 (23 of its 36 episodes). Unfortunately, a lot of them (at least when it comes to S1) are clumped up toward the end, in the wee hours of January 2, when viewership is sure to have dropped off.
  • I realize they can’t include every episode (except the one time they did, back when we rang in 2016), but honestly, no “The Howling Man”? No “Mirror Image”? No “A World of His Own”? Heck, no “Night of the Meek”? It’s the Christmas season! Especially when we’re getting “Young Man’s Fancy”, “Showdown with Rance McGrew”, and “Cavender is Coming”, all of which make my list of least-favorite episodes.

“Twilight Zone marathons? Ninth floor.”

  • Once again, the prime-time slots on the 31st and the 1st are filled with the really famous episodes — “The Invaders”, “The Monsters are Due on Maple Street”, Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” and so on. I understand the appeal of a greatest-hits approach, but why not shake it up for a change? People might discover a new favorite, instead of again seeing an old one they can probably recite in their sleep.
  • “Four O’Clock” at 4:00 pm on the 31st? Nice touch. But putting “The Bewitchin’ Pool” at 11:30 pm on the same day is a wasted opportunity. Why not air “The Masks” then, as they did last year? That way, you and the characters are all waiting for midnight together.

“When’s ‘I Sing the Body Electric’? It’s a regular Ray Bradbury!”

  • They’re not hosting any prime-time voting this year, which is kind of a shame (though part of me is glad to just know what they’ll be showing). Fans seemed to really enjoy picking between two episodes for each of those slots.
  • And finally, if you like “Nothing in the Dark”, then this is the marathon for you. Syfy is inexplicably showing it twice: once at 9:30 am on the 31st, and again at 6:30 am on the 2nd.

“You? Again?”

I should also note (as I did in my marathon-schedule post) that Decades network will be airing a slate of TZ episodes this New Year’s as well. Their reach, alas, isn’t as far as Syfy’s, so I won’t be live-tweeting that one, but for those who can get it and are interested, here’s a link.

What are your thoughts on this year’s line-up? Feel free to sound off below. But not too loudly. Anthony’s getting ready to “make television”, and you do not want to break his concentration.

***

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Hope to see you in some corner of the fifth dimension soon!

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About Paul

Fanning 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 12/19/2018, in Twilight Zone and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Given that I have to adjust my schedule around working the mornign of the 31st and a traditional New Year’s Eve dinner, this might have to get augmented with some streaking. I took you r advice and added Hulu as my streaming source (I actually dropped Netflix) so I might watch a couple of the Season four episodes.

    Initially, I thought the Bewitching Pool wasn’t bad, because I wouldn’t feel guilty surfing over to watch the ball drop, but you’re right, The Masks is the perfect show for that slot.

  2. Michael Poteet

    Even if the episode selection isn’t as stellar as some years, it’s always fun – and your Twitter commentary always adds to the enjoyment!

  3. I would be interested in a similar critique of the Decades marathon, it being the first for that network. Yes, I do receive Decades in my TV bundle! Thanks! –Mark from Missouri

  4. I always appreciate the time you take to assure us of the very best of TZ programming. I am trying to think of which ones made the most impact but one was a cowboy story, another the gremlin on the airplane’s wing and the last one was a fairly common story with a couple who are having some troubles or another. I am one who used to watch this with my parents and brothers, but probably not more than 2 times each! Don’t get dismayed, I enjoyed this so much, Paul.
    Hoping you will have the merriest of Christmases and a grand entrance into 2019, too. :) :)

  5. “putting “The Bewitchin’ Pool” at 11:30 pm on the same day is a wasted opportunity. Why not air “The Masks” then, as they did last year? That way, you and the characters are all waiting for midnight together.” –––

    I totally agree. It’s a tradition of its own to show “The Masks” at 11:30pm since the beginning of marathons. Always on Channel 11th WPIX in the East Coast. I guess that’s their way of shaking the schedule up? lol But some things you shouldn’t change.

  6. Jina McArthur Whitehead

    At least it was more than just me that noticed a disturbing lineup. I love your analysis of the lineup. Both the “Bewitchin’ Pool” and “I Sing the Body Electric” are favorites among children some of whom will be nodding off before 11:30pm. Many of my favorites are on overnight (it seems like it’s more than in previous years). Are they trying to push us away (I’ll be supplementing with the DVDs)? This is a great tradition. If anything, they should expand on it. My favorite year was when the marathon was 3 full days. It showed all my favorites at reasonable hours. I also liked when they showed the full series, the only drawback was that some popular episodes were on at mid a.m. hours. If late night infomercials are the issue, they could do a mini-marathon before the marathon. If they do voting, they need to make sure that it’s fully explained. The last time, many people were confused.

  7. Jina McArthur Whitehead

    and why are they showing Nothing in the Dark twice. Looks like someone made a huge mistake.

  8. Might there be some kind of caveat/restriction on some episodes that aren’t presented? Just thinking out loud here, but might there be some reason for why certain episodes are not played, e.g., might there be a limit to how many times an episode can be played on air…or simultaneously on air? Or in a year? Or at the expense of other, lesser-liked episodes…?

  9. Jina McArthur Whitehead

    Is there a restriction on some episodes that aren’t presented? I highly doubt it since they’ve showed every episode over the New Year’s break in 2016. “Decades” a much smaller channel is showing every episode this New Year’s break. They do restrict the time frame in which episodes are shown which I think is due to infomercials.

  10. Decades is showing episodes in order, which makes it easy to track, but….there are several missing episodes. For example, season 1 goes from episode 8 to episode 11, skipping 9 and 10. Then skips 17, 32, 35, in season one. I got tired of scrolling through the entire marathon, but already see a few not shown in Season 2 (including episodes 1, 3,4,8,12 to begin with). Wonder why this is? I thought maybe they were saving some to be “the best of” at the end of the marathon, but it doesn’t look that way. Oh well, some TZ are better than none!

  11. Happy New Year, Paul! May you have a productive and joyful new year. I will be busy partly with a Twilight Zone-related webcomic. It would be nice to release it in book form this year, being the 60th anniversary, but a book will come out when it comes out. Who knows, one book may lead to another given there are endless possibilities once you enter the Twilight Zone.

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