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A Stop at Twilight Zone 4.0?

“You don’t get writers today who write with that kind of compassion.” — Jack Klugman on Rod Serling

And that, in a nutshell, is why I greet the prospect of a new Twilight Zone movie or TV series with a cautious optimism that’s … well, heavy on the caution. Consider, after all, why we’re even talking about a fourth TZ: because Serling created a series that is as fresh, as innovative and as entertaining today as it was 50 years ago.

Indeed, TZ is rare in that it seems even more relevant today than when it first aired. Few classic series have aged as well.

Twilight Zone Original

In the assembly-line world of weekly TV, where shows are cranked out with little pride and even less attention to detail, Serling and his talented crew went above and beyond the call. They poured quality into every shot and scene. TZ was truly a world-class affair from top to bottom.

Alas, the first Twilight Zone revival, which came in the 1980s, fell short of the mark. This despite the fact that some top-notch writers, including J. Michael Straczynski, Alan Brennert and J.M. DeMatteis (among others, including original TZ scribe Richard Matheson) did some excellent work on the show.

Twilight Zone 1985

But while there were some memorable episodes, it was uneven (not unlike the final two seasons of the original Twilight Zone, to be fair). “There were episodes perfectly in keeping with The Twilight Zone spirit, and then others that could have been from The Outer Limits or from anything,” staff writer Michael Cassutt later said. Read the rest of this entry

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