Blog Archives

The Perils and Pitfalls of Social Distancing … in the Twilight Zone

“Social distancing” is a new skill for most of us. Even many introverts are finding the new norms to be a bit much.

But in the fifth dimension, it’s a different story. Keeping your neighbors at arm’s length isn’t all that unusual.

Just ask astronaut Mike Ferris. He spent most of the Twilight Zone pilot, “Where is Everybody?”, wandering around an empty town. The closest thing he found to another human being was a store mannequin.

Or how about the prisoner in “The Lonely”? Poor Corry was not only in solitary confinement, he wasn’t even on Earth. Weeks would go by before anyone showed up to bring him supplies.

Then there was Henry Bemis in “Time Enough at Last”. Nothing like a little nuclear blast to ensure you get some major “me time”. Read the rest of this entry

Serling’s Re-Zoning Efforts: “People Are Alike All Over”

If you’re a Twilight Zone fan, you’re used to having the rug pulled out from under you when an episode concludes. Where would the fifth dimension be without irony-laden endings?

Case in point: Season 1’s “People are Alike All Over”. Who can forget the stunned look on Sam Conrad’s face when he discovers where he’s at in the end?

(If you haven’t seen this episode before, you may want to check it out before proceeding any further. It’s on disc, as well as streaming on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.)

The story concerns two astronauts — Sam Conrad (played by Roddy McDowell), and Warren Marcusson (Paul Comi, in the first of three Zone roles). We meet them on the eve of their flight to Mars. No one has ever been there, of course, so they wonder what they’ll find. Will there be people? And if there are, what will they be like?

Conrad is a worrier, but the positive-thinking Marcusson reassures him. He’s convinced there’s a fixed formula for humanity that holds true throughout the galaxy. So if there are people on Mars, they must be like people on Earth. Conrad, he thinks, shouldn’t fret. Read the rest of this entry

Fan of Black Mirror? Try These Twilight Zone Episodes

Have you watched Black Mirror? Heard it described as a modern-day Twilight Zone?

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For reasons I explained in a previous blog post, I can’t quite agree. Yes, they’re both trippy anthology series that take a hard look at the human condition. But there are some basic differences that — for me, at least — make the comparison ring hollow.

But I’ve said my piece. I’m bringing up Black Mirror today for a different reason. I’m writing this not so much for my fellow Serling fans as I am for anyone who’s watched Black Mirror, but not The Twilight Zone (or perhaps watched it a long time ago) and who’s wondering if some black-and-white series from the 1960s is worth checking out.

So my purpose here is simple: to recommend a few episodes that I think you, as a fan of Black Mirror, will enjoy — or at least find interesting. So without further ado … Read the rest of this entry

To Serve Twilight Zone Fans

I have news for you, ladies and gentlemen. I have discovered that … people are alike all over.

Fortunately, I’m not saying that from behind the bars of an interplanetary zoo. No, the resemblance I’m referring to is much more benign than a penchant for treating other races as if they were a species to be gawked at.

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I’m talking about a love for the works of Rod Serling, and more specifically, his landmark TV series, The Twilight Zone. It’s been exactly three years since I began hosting the Night Gallery Twitter page, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last 1,096 days, it’s that you can find Serling fans everywhere.

Men and women, adults and children, from every race, creed and color you can imagine. People from every spot on the political and religious spectrums. Individuals who would never talk to each other in “real life” follow this page, united in a love for the work of one of the 20th century’s most beloved writers. Read the rest of this entry