Which Videotaped Episode of the Twilight Zone is Best? Now You Can Cast Your Vote

One of the many hallmarks of The Twilight Zone is how good it looks. Rod Serling promised viewers “television’s elites,” and we got that — both in front of and behind the camera. Each episode was a visual feast, filled with clear, shadow-laden shots that outshines much of what we see on TV even today.

“Walking Distance”

Which is why the six videotaped episodes that popped up in Season 2 stick out like a Kanamit’s sore thumb. Even if you enjoy the stories (and I do, for the most part), it’s a clear step down from the vivid film images we get in the other 150 episodes.

But I’m not here today to dwell on that. (For more on why they were filmed that way, try this short post.) I’m here to ask a basic question: No matter where you stand on the videotaped episodes, which one do you consider the best?

Even if you cringe at the overall look of them, I’m betting most fans still can pick a favorite. So if you’re not among that tiny group who swears they can’t even watch them, how about casting a vote?

Here are the candidates:

The Lateness of the Hour

(In which an inventor’s daughter urges her father to get rid of his robot staff)

Night of the Meek

(In which a down-and-out department-store Santa gets the nicest gift of all)

The Whole Truth

(In which a slick-talking used-car salesman is cursed to tell nothing but the truth)

Twenty-Two

(In which a hospitalized showgirl is tormented by a recurring premonition of death)

Static

(In which a crotchety old man is transported back to a happier time via an unusual radio)

Long Distance Call

(In which a little boy talks to his departed grandmother via a special toy telephone)

UPDATE: Thanks to all who voted! I’m happy to report that Henry Corwin won handily, but “Twenty-Two” and “Long Distance Call” made a very respectable showing. Here are the results:

***

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

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 11/26/2021, in Twilight Zone Polls and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 34 Comments.

  1. Roger Scarlett

    A bit of a toss-up between Night of the Meek and 22. Meek will probably win, but I threw in with Arlene. “Room for one more, honey!” ________________________________

    • It’s a tough choice, I freely admit. You’re right, though, about Meek being the one to beat. Couldn’t vote against it myself — it’s such a sweet tale, and ‘tis the season!

      • This was hard! I had to go with “The Lateness of the Hour.” The reveal and conclusion never fails to give me chills and make me feel sad.

      • Yes, it’s a great story, full of pure TZ irony. Stevens and Hoyt are so good.

  2. E.Tristan.Booth

    I love “Static.” I can relate to this guy because I also love big band music and old radio shows, especially Henry Morgan.
    I also like “The Lateness of the Hour” and “Long Distance Call.” However (I know I’m in a minority here), I have never liked “22” because, frankly, I just don’t like the lead character.

    • Yes, “Static” is a good one! As a fan of retro radio (retro everything, just about), it certainly appeals to my sentimental side. Interesting, though, that you don’t like the lead character of “22” — I’ve had some fans dunk on “Static” because they don’t like how grumpy the lead is. As they say, different strokes for different folks!

      • E.Tristan.Booth

        I can relate to that too, especially when they steal his radio from his room. I would be furious.

  3. Howard Manheimer

    I have selected “Night Of The Meek” as my favorite, but I do LOVE all six! These look like 3D to me! As for “Twenty Two”, I’m surprised she didn’t react that her flight number was 22! At least she could have asked if she heard it correctly!

  4. Howard Manheimer

    Paul, she could NOT have been getting a full night’s sleep! Those nightmares! WOW!

  5. I truly enjoy all of these, including “The Whole Truth” (which often gets dumped on for understandable reasons). But my favorite in any season is “The Night of the Meek,” by a narrow margin over “Long Distance Call.”

    It’s interesting how many happy endings there are in this group of episodes. That reminds me of one of my favorite TZ observations: If you’re a character in a Twilight Zone episode, and you want your story to have a happy ending, it helps to be an alcoholic!

  6. “22” is legendary. No contest. The others don’t come close. Arline is horrifyingly Saxy, and I’ve never seen Dr. Smith so composed.

    • Love “Twenty-Two.” It came in a close second to “Night of the Meek,” but the latter is such a sentimental favorite, I can’t complain.

  7. Hard choice to make, Paul. I love night of the meek, but 22 is such an interesting story.

  8. I voted for “Night of the Meek,” but “Twenty-Two” and “Long Distance Call” are also strong contenders for me. Never cared much for “Static.”

    • I think a lot of people agree with you. The three you mentioned in your first sentence took gold, silver, and bronze respectively. And “Static” trailed far behind.

  9. I voted for “Static” but thought of voting for “Night of the Meek”. I’m not surprised to see “Night” leading the poll.

    • Same here. I was sure it would win — and deservedly so, in my view. (I voted for it myself!) But kudos for pulling the lever for poor “Static.” I know it’s not a huge classic, but it’s still a nice story.

  10. bibliomike2020

    As many have already said, very tough choice. I like “Long Distance Call” and “Twenty-Two” quite a lot for their creepy factor, although “Long Distance Call” layers some genuine emotion on top of that (“If you really love him…”). But “Night of the Meek” is an absolute, kind-hearted classic.

    • I couldn’t agree more. Much as I enjoy LDC and 22, I just had to pull the lever for “Night of the Meek.” Puts a lump in my throat every time …

  11. Rodger Hunter Hall

    This IS a tough choice.

    I like Twenty Two for the actors.

    I like Night of the Meek for the story.

    I’ll pick story over cast in this instance for the sake of the poll and the fact as you say, Paul, “’tis the season” — but in my own mind I could really go either way on which episode I prefer.

    • Interesting and perceptive distinction, Rodger! I voted for “Night of the Meek” because it’s such a sweet, redemptive story, and those always get me right in the feels, but I really enjoy “Twenty-Two,” so it wasn’t an easy choice.

  12. B Huddleston

    Night of the Meek but not by as much as might be expected. 22 is damn good. But Carney just knocked it out of the park.

  13. B Huddleston

    I might shock folks but I slightly prefer Changing of the Guard over Meek in terms of favorite Christmas episode

  14. B Huddleston

    I think it was because the room scene with the ghosts. Oh. Curious. Do you think the students from his past were specters of the mind or actual specters emerging from some sort of spiritual place to make sure he realizes his work wasn’t in vain? I think it could be either and I love not knowing for sure. Whatever the case, the professor got what he needed so that’s better than suicide

    • E.Tristan.Booth

      I always assumed that the students were the actual spirits of the students trying to help him.

  15. I like that one. Very specific spirits, too. Although he was looking through student books before his retreat.

    • Hmmm, which episode are you referring to here? Sounds like it could be “The Changing of the Guard,” but of course that one wasn’t videotaped.

  16. It’s gotta be “Twenty-Two”. As others have said already, most unique storyline…and maybe the most unique episode of the entire series. Also the episode that elicits the most fear. Like “The After Hours”, the theme of isolation is played up so brilliantly.

  17. I’d probably have voted for “Long Distance Call”, not just for the excellent acting, but because it was the only one of the six that, in my opinion, was actually enhanced by the odd lighting patterns. The relationship between the grand mother and her grandson was so creepy and twisted that it seemed fitting to show it under unnatural, other-worldly lighting.

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