The Twilight Zone

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The Twilight Zone

Postby Carolian on Wed Dec 28, 2005 11:54 pm

Since Sci-Fi's gearing up for a 45-hour Twilight Zone marathon this weekend, I figured it would be apropriate to open up a thread for the show. So, what about it, folks? What are you favorite episodes, and other various opinions?

I'd run a poll, but shit, where to start?
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Postby thomasgaffney on Thu Dec 29, 2005 12:56 am

Tough one.....

Either Burgess Meredith in Time Enough At Last

or

William Shatner in Nightmare at 20,000 Feet
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Postby BobGobbler on Thu Dec 29, 2005 1:22 am

Nightmare is probably the best, but the most emotional has to be the one where the guy breaks his glasses and can't read all the books he wanted to read.

EDIT: I just realized that the above post mentioned both of these. I'm such a douche.
Peter Jackson is overrated.
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Postby You Know My Name on Thu Dec 29, 2005 1:31 am

My favorite episodes are Third From the Sun, Twenty-Two, The Midnight Sun, and Five Characters in Search of an Exit.
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Postby bluebottle on Thu Dec 29, 2005 2:19 am

I remember seeing To Serve Man and Time Enough at Last as a kid and being blown away.

They're not the best, but they're my favorite.
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Postby Agent Alonzo on Thu Dec 29, 2005 2:45 am

Oh my GOD!!!!!
WE'RE ALL IN A ZOO!!!
alonzo..... my apologies you ho-bag! - banthafodderUK

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Postby buster00 on Thu Dec 29, 2005 2:50 am

Every year, a New Years "Twilight Zone" Marathon is the perfect way to take a break from the Bowls for a little while...

I find a "Twilight Zone" Marathon goes down best after a couple o' bowls...
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Postby Neya on Thu Dec 29, 2005 8:43 am

I love the Twlight Zone marathons. One day when I run out of other stuff to buy Ill own all the dvd sets. I cant pick just one or two episodes that are my favorites, but the one about the guy crash landing his ship on a planet, meeting a woman and speaking different languages and finding out her name is Eve and his is Adam at the end was great.

The one where Burgess Meredith is deemed "expendable" and ordered to be executed is really good too. Im too lazy to look up the episode names, sorry!
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Postby WinslowLeach on Thu Dec 29, 2005 9:45 am

I LOVE The Twilight Zone, its one of my all time favorite TV shows. I'm going to be watching the marathon on Sci-Fi too!
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Postby Shane on Thu Dec 29, 2005 9:54 am

Twilight Zone is Good, maybee even great, but I love outer limits just a wee bit more.

ah hell I'm going to watch some Twilight Zone.

I am wearing my twilight zone Pajamas.
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Postby Chairman Kaga on Thu Dec 29, 2005 11:30 am

The Howling Man
The Lonely (Jack Warden as a convict on an asteroid with a female robot companion)
The Monsters are Due on Maple Street
A Nice Place to Visit
The After Hours
The Eye of the Beholder
The Invaders
The Odyssey of Flight 33
The Rip Van Winkle Caper.

to name a few
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Postby Brocktune on Thu Dec 29, 2005 3:13 pm

Neya wrote:The one where Burgess Meredith is deemed "expendable" and ordered to be executed is really good too. Im too lazy to look up the episode names, sorry!


The Obsolete Man


im such a nerd. i totally mark out for the twilight zone.
some good ones:

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge - hey, they slapped a serling intro onto it. it counts.
Five Characters in Search of an Exit
Spur of the Moment
A Hundred Yards Over the Rim
Still Valley
Walking Distance
Come Wander with Me
Night Call
Nick of Time
Piano in the House
The New Exhibit
Death's Head Revisited
The Obsolete Man
The Masks

i could go on and on.....
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Postby BobGobbler on Sat Dec 31, 2005 6:31 pm

90 Minute Warning!!!

Time Enough At Last is on at 7:00pm EDT
Peter Jackson is overrated.
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Postby oisin5199 on Sun Jan 01, 2006 7:18 pm

Anyone see that 3D episode of Medium where they digitally manipulated Rod Serling and had his 'official' imitator do the voice? Some of the 3d stuff was cool, but in the end it was merely incidental to the episode. Not sure how appropriate it was to use Rod for the intro.

Also, did anyone else subscribe to Twilight Zone magazine back in the 80s? They used to have great stories, movie pictorials, and teleplays of TZ, Outer Limits and Night Gallery. I got it from ages 13 to 18 and I loved it. Carol Serling (the widow) was the editor-in-chief but they eventually folded, and my subscription was taken over by Omni, which quickly bored me.

Long live the Zone!
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Postby DennisMM on Sun Jan 01, 2006 7:53 pm

Brocktune wrote:A Hundred Yards Over the Rim


Or, M. Night Shyamalan's, "I bet no one's seen this in so long that I can rip off the twist ending and call it" The Village.

The Lonely makes me mist up. It's my favorite.
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Postby The Vicar on Tue Jan 03, 2006 10:51 am

To Serve Man is too bloody cool. Almost anything ( like Night Call) written by Richard Matheson was excellant. Always loved Nothing in the Dark, with a very young Robert Redford & Gladys Cooper ( who also appears in Night Call). And Masks. Crom, there were just so many fine eps.....
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Postby DinoDeLaurentiis on Tue Jan 03, 2006 10:59 am

I always a like a the one where a the old lady, she gets a the phone calls from a the dead husband inna his a grave, eh? Inna the beginning, he canna speak, but he slowly learns how a to communicate...

When a she first hears a the voice anna she donna know who inna the hell it is, anna the voice is a just going "unnnh... uuuuhhhh... nnnnggghhh"

Two words, eh? CREE-PEE!
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Postby tfactor on Tue Jan 03, 2006 11:23 am

My favorite is Burgess Meredith in "Mr. Dingle the Strong" and of course "time enough at last" he was such an great actor and in Mr. Dingle when he get the smarts from those little aliens, priceless. All this talk makes me want to watch Rocky II *sobs*

ok seriously every year I look forward to nothing more than watching as many episodes as possible of TZ, and every year I see one I haven't seen before.

The new one for me this year was the one with the guy who makes the bet to remain silent for a year or whatever for 1/2 a million dollars. But when the bet is over and we find out the guy who made the bet can't pay, just as we learn that the man cut out his tongue in order to win the bet. that's TV gold right there. I think is was called the silence or something

yeah twilight zone is awesome but so was tales from the dark side and amazing stories, how come we don't get repeat of them once a year? damn it
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Postby The Vicar on Tue Jan 03, 2006 12:22 pm

Almost forgot - Steel, with Lee Marvin ( from a 1956 short story by, who else, Richard Matheson); the manager of a robot boxer ( in 1974) has to take his place in the ring when Battling Maxo breaks down before a bout. Classic.
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Postby The Vicar on Tue Jan 03, 2006 12:31 pm

tfactor wrote:yeah twilight zone is awesome but so was tales from the dark side and amazing stories, how come we don't get repeat of them once a year? damn it


Good shows, but Rod Serling won two Emmys ( six total Emmys in his career, Zone & none Zone) & a Golden Globe for The Twilight Zone, and without TTZ there might not have ever been Tales from the Darkside or Amazing Stories. Although Twilight Zone might not have been the first of its kind, it was the shining beacon of its kind, employing some of the brightest & best from the world of speculative/science fiction. And Rod Serling...tortured genius.
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Postby Chairman Kaga on Tue Jan 03, 2006 12:38 pm

DennisMM wrote:
Brocktune wrote:A Hundred Yards Over the Rim


Or, M. Night Shyamalan's, "I bet no one's seen this in so long that I can rip off the twist ending and call it" The Village.

The Lonely makes me mist up. It's my favorite.

Doesn't that involve time travel though? I am no fan of the Village but it doesn't smack of ripping off this episode....atleast to me.
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Postby DinoDeLaurentiis on Tue Jan 03, 2006 12:44 pm

The Vicar wrote:the manager of a robot boxer ( in 1974)


Gold... right there, no?
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Postby The Vicar on Tue Jan 03, 2006 12:58 pm

DinoDeLaurentiis wrote:
The Vicar wrote:the manager of a robot boxer ( in 1974)


Gold... right there, no?


Indeed. It's always a hoot to see where the writers thought we were going to be...and look where we actually are.

I still want my flying car, dammit.
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Re: The Twilight Zone

Postby TheButcher on Mon May 31, 2010 2:56 pm

Light and Shadow: Quint crosses over into The Twilight Zone!

Light and Shadow: Quint crosses over into The Twilight Zone! 1.4-1.6 reviewed!

Light and Shadow: Quint crosses over into The Twilight Zone! Episodes 1.7-1.9 reviewed!

Light and Shadow: Quint on Twilight Zones 1.10-1.12!
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with the next Light and Shadow, my systematic and possibly suicidal attempt at going episode by episode through one of the best scripted shows to ever be beamed to idiot boxes, THE TWILIGHT ZONE.
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Re:

Postby MacCready on Mon May 31, 2010 11:42 pm

DinoDeLaurentiis wrote:
The Vicar wrote:the manager of a robot boxer ( in 1974)


Gold... right there, no?


Goddammit I miss Dino.
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Re:

Postby Jabbadonut on Tue Jun 01, 2010 5:10 pm

The Vicar wrote:
DinoDeLaurentiis wrote:
The Vicar wrote:the manager of a robot boxer ( in 1974)


Gold... right there, no?


Indeed. It's always a hoot to see where the writers thought we were going to be...and look where we actually are.

I still want my flying car, dammit.


Flying cars are a really, really, bad idea. Imagine some of the knuckleheads on the road today given a car that can fly. The amount of carnage would be truly staggering. Cars, falling out of the sky . . . landing god knows where . . . Burning debris crashing into your upstairs bedroom . . . body parts splashing down in your pool . . . Insurance premiums only Bill Gates could afford to pay . . . you crash, you die. At least on the ground a crash isn't always fatal . . . :)
Look! Even Steve is throwing chocolate snowballs . . . oh . . .
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Re: The Twilight Zone

Postby Fried Gold on Tue Sep 07, 2010 5:27 pm

A "lost" interview with Rod Serling:

http://www.fi-sci.com/features/tv-features/695-lost-rod-serling-interview-unearthed

In 1970 University of Kansas professor James Gunn interviewed a series of science fiction authors for his Centron film series "Science Fiction in Literature". This footage from an unreleased film in that series featuring an interview with Rod Serling, which wasn't finished due to problems with obtaining rights to show footage from Serling's work in television. This reconstruction is based on the original workprint footage that was saved on two separate analog sources since the audio track was separate. Re-syncing the footage was a long involved process as the audio track didn't match the film and there was substantial sync drift. While not perfect, there's a lot of interesting information on writing for television in the dialogue with Serling as well as a prophetic statement about his health at the beginning.
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Re: The Twilight Zone

Postby The Vicar on Wed Sep 08, 2010 12:09 am

The Master's voice. Oh my.
Nice of him to select one of Richard Matheson's stories as among the TZ's best.
Grateful thanks for the link, FG.
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Re: The Twilight Zone

Postby Bob Samonkey on Wed Sep 08, 2010 3:11 am

Does anyone listen to these on the radio? It is hosted by Stacy Keach and is fun to listen to while driving home at night...
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Re: The Twilight Zone

Postby TheButcher on Thu Nov 11, 2010 10:35 pm

Peter Falk as Castro? Hell Yeah!
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Re: The Twilight Zone

Postby DennisMM on Fri Nov 19, 2010 12:06 am

How the HELL does YouTube not force them to take down all those TW videos?
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Re: The Twilight Zone

Postby DerLanghaarige on Fri Nov 19, 2010 4:47 am

Recently a small TV channel over here (That is so shitty that it airs at least 21 hours Teleshopping a day, because they don't have anything else) started to show the original series, which is cool, because now I can see them for the first time.
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Re: The Twilight Zone

Postby DennisMM on Sat Nov 20, 2010 2:05 am

Lucky you! As Serling once said, about a third are great, about a third are pretty good, and the rest are real dogs. May you see more of the good than the bad.
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Re: The Twilight Zone

Postby DerLanghaarige on Sat Nov 20, 2010 1:43 pm

So far it's 50/50. I unfortunately came in a little bit late (at the beginning of Season 2, but I guess the channel will start over again when they are finished) and while most episodes last week were pretty dull (The guy who traveled back in time and wanted to save Lincoln, or the airplane that suddenly was traveling back in time too), the episodes this week were mostly good, sometimes even really good (The kid who phones his dead Grandma, the gangsters who freeze themself for 100 years or the guy who bets he doesn't say a word for a full year).
They show aged pretty well. By today's standards the episodes often take unbelievable long to unfold and not every surprise twist is really that surprising anymore, but it's good entertainment. Even it's just to see several actors when they were young(er). (One episode had Uncle Ben, Gomez Addams and the Chief of C.O.N.T.R.O.L. This alone pushes the entertainment factor for me.)
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Re: The Twilight Zone

Postby TheButcher on Thu Jun 30, 2011 10:17 pm

Picture If You Will, A Movie About Rod Serling
Andrew Meieran and his Bureau of Moving Pictures has acquired rights to make a movie about Rod Serling, the Twilight Zone creator who left behind a remarkable legacy of sci-fi and fantasy work. Stanley Weiser, who wrote Wall Street with Oliver Stone, will script the movie. Serling's widow Carol Serling will be a producer along with Meieran.

Before he became an iconic TV figure, Serling had a life of struggle that included a stint as a paratrooper and member of the demolition squad in the Army during WWII. Stationed in the Philippines, he saw more than his share of death as the US battled the Japanese, and his experiences would inform much of what he would write later. He worked his way into radio and then became a TV writer who found his niche with the CBS series Twilight Zone, a series that elevated scripted television with thought-provoking science fiction tales, each with a great and unexpected plot twist. The segments have influenced a legion of TV and feature writers to this day. If you don't understand the reference "It's a cook book!," you could do worse than go back and watch the original episodes.

Serling hatched another memorable TV anthology series a decade later in Night Gallery. Movies were made from both series, there's a lively Tower Of Terror theme-park ride that incorporates Serling and a haunted hotel, and Serling also co-wrote with Michael Wilson the script for the 1968 sci-fi classic Planet of the Apes, based on the Pierre Boull novel. Serling died at 50, from complications stemming from chain-smoking cigarettes his entire adult life.

"Rod Serling was one of the true visionaries in television history," Meieran said. "He single-handedly broke the mold and established television as a powerful artistic medium capable of changing the world when used wisely." Meieran, who comes from a real estate investment background, (the Edison in downtown LA is his, and he's acquired Clifton's Cafeteria and is restoring it), has wrapped his directing debut. Highland Park stars Danny Glover, Parker Posey and Billy Burke in a drama about a group of lifelong friends whose jobs fall victim to budget cuts. The film's in post-production.
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Re: The Twilight Zone

Postby TheButcher on Thu Dec 20, 2012 1:52 am

'X-Men's' Bryan Singer Prepping 'Twilight Zone' Reboot
CBS Television Studios, which owns the rights to Rod Serling's original, is searching for a writer on the project.
Lesley Goldberg wrote:There may be a new dimension coming in The Twilight Zone.

The CBS sci-fi classic could be making a return to primetime as CBS Television Studios -- the producer behind the original 1959-1964 edition -- is prepping a potential reboot, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.

X-Men's Bryan Singer is attached to develop, executive produce and potentially direct a new version of the drama about a mysterious dimension "between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge -- the summit of imagination," as the original noted in its opening credits.

CBS TV Studios, which recently entered the sci-fi space with a straight-to-series order for the Stephen King best-seller, is currently searching for a writer to adapt Rod Serling's original Twilight Zone. The project has yet to be taken out to networks

This marks the latest attempt to reboot Twilight Zone. Serling's original ran for five seasons on CBS with an '80s revival airing on the network that ran for three seasons. A UPN reboot in 2002 with host Forest Whitaker ran for one season.

The project marks the latest geek-themed effort for Singer, who this fall directed NBC's Munsters reboot Mockingbird Lane.

Singer next has X-Men: Days of Future Past set up. His credits include Superman Returns and The Usual Suspects.
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Re: The Twilight Zone

Postby TheButcher on Mon Feb 18, 2013 2:50 am

Submitted for Your Approval: Remembering the Great Rod Serling in Concert With WGA Awards

Brian Lowry wrote:Submitted for your approval: As members of the Writers Guild of America gather this weekend to honor their best, that’s always a good time to remember Rod Serling, arguably the most influential TV writer the medium ever produced.

As the creator of “The Twilight Zone” – a series that resonates throughout pop culture to this day – Serling still casts an outsized shadow. And yet even he experienced considerable frustrations with TV’s limitations, as is documented in a new book by his daughter Anne Serling, “As I Knew Him: My Dad, Rod Serling,” which will be released by Citadel Press on April 30.

Filled with anecdotes and self-reflection, for students of television, the book is more of a speed-read than a must-read. Although Serling is an interesting personality, there’s far more than anyone needs reminiscing about personal moments and how he was as a man and father.

Nevertheless, several tidbits and facts stand out, beginning with the sheer explosion of creative genius Serling exhibited in a relatively brief span — from his mid- to late-30s, during the five seasons in which “Twilight Zone” aired.

The series yielded 156 episodes in that time; Serling wrote a staggering 92 of them.

Beyond cementing his reputation as a master of small morality tales, the series also made Serling publicly famous — perhaps as recognizable as any writer has ever been — albeit because he wound up introducing the show. Turns out the first choice, Orson Welles, wanted too much money.

Despite what “Twilight Zone” came to represent, Serling became disenchanted with TV, saying in a speech years later, “I can tell you that drama, at least in television, must walk tiptoe and in agony lest it offend some cereal buyer from a given state below the Mason-Dixon.” He also chafed at how the show was edited for syndication, excising key scenes to squeeze in more ads, until the episodes “looked like a long, protracted commercial separated by fragmentary moments of indistinct drama.”

Serling also experienced a lack of creative control over his next anthology, “Night Gallery,” which had its moments, while lacking the kind of consistency that makes “Twilight Zone” an unqualified classic.

A chain smoker, Serling was only 50 when he died in 1975. One can only imagine what his fertile imagination might have conjured had he lived and worked today, with the greater latitude the cable universe could have afforded him.

Yet for all his sci-fi prescience, his deft touch in concocting unexpected little twists, Serling was dead wrong when it came to analyzing the durability of his own work. Even though “The Twilight Zone” had already begun airing in reruns that will seemingly be with us until the monsters really do land on Maple Street, the writer maintained he had “spewed out everything I had to say, none of which has been particularly monumental, nothing that will stand the test of time.”

In an industry where practically every writer, without much prodding, can hum the opening bars of “The Twilight Zone” theme and cite favorite episodes, it’s fair to say that’s one test Serling passed with flying colors.
Last edited by TheButcher on Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Twilight Zone

Postby SilentBobX on Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:01 pm

I always liked Serling's work on Twilight Zone and Night Gallery. Never knew that much about him aside from that. Thanks for the link, I'll be checking it out.

BTW, Pickman's Model, Hell's Bells, andThe Cemetary with Roddy McDowall are my favorite episodes of Night Gallery.


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Re: The Twilight Zone

Postby TheButcher on Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:01 pm

your welcome


Bryan Singer breaks his silence on Man Of Steel - Plus, he’s hoping for an A-list cast for his Twilight Zone show
Not one to take it easy, super-busy Singer is currently developing a reboot of sci-fi TV classic, The Twilight Zone. On that venture, Singer told us:

“I’ve taken over The Twilight Zone. I’d love to direct one - at least the pilot. It’s really not easy to jumpstart an anthology show, particularly because it’s hard to pair them with other things. The production is complex too, because you don’t have scanning sets and you have a revolving cast. But I like the challenge.

“If we can get Twilight Zone to a place where A-list talent is participating, then it would emulate the experience of the Rod Serling show which had, you know, William Shatner, Agnes Moorehead, Burgess Meredith… all these terrific actors doing these really serious morality tales. If we achieve that it could be really something.”
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Re: The Twilight Zone

Postby TheButcher on Thu Apr 03, 2014 5:07 am

Amy Adams to Star in Alien Movie Story of Your Life
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Amy Adams is currently in negotiations to star in the alien movie Story of Your Life, perhaps the most misleadingly-named alien movie of all time. A family drama or historical biopic maybe, but an alien movie? Adams' protagonist is purportedly an "expert linguist" who must learn to communicate with aliens who land on earth in order to determine if they are friend or foe. We're already excited to see the sequel in which every linguist in the world is incredibly jealous of Amy Adams for deciphering an alien language.

"It's a Cookbook!"
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Re: The Twilight Zone

Postby TheButcher on Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:45 am

IGN:
The Top 10 Twilight Zone Episodes Page 2 Of 2
Cliff Wheatley wrote:#5
Nightmare at 20,000 Feet
Released October 11, 1963

Another classic Twilight Zone episode written by Richard Matheson and starring the mighty William Shatner (and directed by Richard Donner), this episode finds Shatner’s Bob Wilson on an airplane, convinced that there’s a gremlin on the wing outside his window. Sadly, Wilson’s recently recovered from a nervous breakdown, so nobody on the plane, including his wife, believes him.

Tensions grow as Bob becomes more and more desperate, concerned that the gremlin will cause the engine to crash. Finally, he nearly kills himself stealing a cop’s gun and opening an exit window to shoot the gremlin, causing hysterics on the plane. As an audience we’re nearly convinced that Bob is, in fact, crazy. But when he’s taken away in a straightjacket after landing, the cruelest irony of all hits as we see the damaged wing of the plane, proving the gremlin was there all along.
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Re: The Twilight Zone

Postby TheButcher on Sun Mar 12, 2017 5:17 am

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The Twilight Zone: “Nightmare At 20,000 Feet”

Postby TheButcher on Fri Mar 17, 2017 8:40 am

A.V. Club:
The Twilight Zone: “Nightmare At 20,000 Feet”
Todd VanDerWerff wrote:“Nightmare At 20,000 Feet” (season 5, episode 3; originally aired 10/11/1963)

In which there’s very good reason to fear flying

(Available on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon.)

I am not a particularly great flyer. Yeah, I’ll get on a plane if I have to, and once I’m in the air, I can distract myself well enough. But I’d much rather drive, all things considered, even if it’s clear across the country. Being jammed into one of those little seats is no fun, of course, especially when it’s for long periods of time. But beneath even that is the sense that this shouldn’t be happening, that we shouldn’t be in a long metal tube that’s been flung through the sky, as if by some angry child god. I understand how the science works. I understand why this giant metal husk can stay in the sky as well as a bird can (and when was the last time you worried about a bird suddenly plummeting out of the air?). But deep down in my most primitive brain, this feels like something that shouldn’t exist, a waking nightmare that can only end in fiery death.

“Nightmare At 20,000 Feet” is one of the most famous Twilight Zone episodes—perhaps the last of the gold standard ones that everybody knows, even without seeing them (give or take a “Living Doll”)—and I think it maintains its resonance to this day because of that simple fact. Is there anybody who really enjoys flying, who doesn’t find themselves a little terrified at the thought that somebody might be clinging to the outside of the plane, tearing away at the surface and dooming everyone onboard to plunge to their deaths. And it needn’t even be a supernatural occurrence. You don’t need a gremlin involved, I don’t think. It could just be a really enterprising bird or a squirrel who went for a ride and woke up terrified. There are many, many logical reasons why this wouldn’t happen. But the best horror stories don’t speak to the logical brain. They speak to something deeper and more complicated.

Like many of the best Zones, “Nightmare” is a model of narrative efficiency. Everything you need to know about, outside of the gun used to fire upon the monster at the episode’s end, is established in the first few minutes. There’s a man who had a nervous breakdown the last time he flew, and now, he’s flying back home after a quick stay in a mental hospital. His wife is by his side, and they’re both happy he’s cured. They’re seated by the exit window, and it’s a late night flight, so most everyone (including the wife) will be sleeping. He, however, looks out that window and sees a hunched figure wandering around on the wing, bent on destruction.

The economy is astounding. Richard Matheson’s script uses this basic setup throughout the entire running time, but it finds every possible iteration of it that it can. The gremlin gets up in the man’s face for a big, spooky moment, but it also starts ripping away at the wing. When that’s not enough to up the stakes, our hero’s wife insists he take a sleeping pill, which further creates the suggestion that this might be all in his head. Because this is The Twilight Zone, we know that this is very likely actually happening, rather than being imagined, but Matheson makes very good use of the thought that everybody else thinks our hero is crazy. To stop the gremlin, he’s going to have to give away the appearance of his sanity, and yet, he must, because if he doesn’t, he and the woman he loves will die. It’s a neat twist on the standard “nobody believes the hero that there’s a monster, but there totally is” storyline that’s come up more than a few times on this show and others like it.

It goes without saying that none of this would work without William Shatner. Shatner’s a ham of an actor, and his work here as Bob Wilson is far from subtle. But that’s also always been his charm, and it’s turned all the way up in this guest spot. He had previously appeared on the show in the excellent second-season episode “Nick Of Time,” in which he faced off with a coin-operated fortune-telling machine that seemed to be the real deal, and something about the combination of his wild-eyed fervor and Matheson’s words in that episode must have spoken to somebody on the show, because the two were paired to even better effect here. The times when Shatner doesn’t work on screen are the times when he’s going so huge that he’s blowing away everybody else sharing the screen with him, but it’s hard to blow a monster crawling around on an airplane wing off the screen. When his eyes bug out and his mouth hangs open in slack-jawed awe, he’s note perfect. Furthermore, he’s helped by a really simple, really effective monster design. The gremlin seems like it’s covered in shag carpeting, sure, but it also has this horrifying, frozen face that suggests some abandoned line of primate evolution that’s been going on under our noses all this time, even if only a few of us can see it.

The episode also marks one of the earliest directorial efforts by Richard Donner, the man who would go on to direct Superman and all four Lethal Weapon films. “Nightmare” shows off a young man who’s already in near-perfect control of action direction, as he manages to turn a set that’s essentially filmed from only a handful of camera setups into something that feels filled with infinite variety. In particular, Donner makes great use of the curtain that blocks our hero’s view out the window, swiping it closed so none of us can see what’s going on, then tossing it open to reveal the monster’s face frozen against the glass or the dim glow of the electrical panel casting light up on its face. Amazingly enough, “Nightmare” must have been a very cheap episode to shoot, with only the one set and just a handful of camera setups. But Donner keeps things moving so briskly that it never feels cramped or small, outside of the fact that airplanes feel cramped and small. He even makes the gremlin floating away from the plane’s wing like a flying squirrel look eerie, rather than goofy. The ruthless efficiency of Matheson’s script makes it into Donner’s directing, and that makes so much of the difference.

Of the major Twilight Zone writers, Matheson was the one who least went in for grand, shocking twists, and “Nightmare” follows that paradigm. Rather than turning everything on its ear at the end, Matheson merely answers the story’s central question—is Bob Wilson crazy?—in the negative. (The closing narration also suggests he’ll be vindicated by the signs of the gremlin’s tampering left on the plane’s wing.) That’s, again, part of Matheson’s story economy, but it also reflects a certain affection for this man, who puts everything on the line—maybe even his marriage—to save lives. This allows for the story to become something beyond just a horror or science fiction tale, something much richer.

See, “Nightmare At 20,000 Feet,” strange as it might sound, is one of the most romantic episodes of The Twilight Zone. It reminds me of the X-Files episode “Folie A Deux” in the fact that at its center is the story of a desperately mentally ill man who only wants to find someone else to share his madness, to prove that he’s not crazy. But where “Folie” eventually showed a Mulder and Scully who could share each other’s delusions to track down things that go bump in the night, “Nightmare” has a certain tragedy at its center. It’s easy to forget—because of how thoroughly Shatner chews up this script and spits it out—that Bob’s wife is sitting there all along, played by Christine White. But there she is, and she’s just as good as Shatner, only the monster she’s worried she might be seeing is the one sitting next to her in his assigned seat. She, too, wishes what she’s seeing isn’t real, and she, too, slowly realizes that she’ll have to deal with what’s happening.

Because the episode puts us in Bob’s point-of-view—and because that gremlin really is real—it’s easy to miss that the same thing is playing out in the seat right next to him. Because of where they’ve been, Julia Wilson must always suspect her husband is rounding the bend into true insanity. The irony is that he’s never been more sane. And yet there’s that chewed-up wing, that tangible proof of Bob’s mental certainty. It might be enough to give these two space to trust each other again, or it might tear them apart in the end, simply because she couldn’t let go and trust that he would not mislead her, no matter how sound her reasons for doing so. But I want to choose to believe they’ll find their way back to each other. After all, this is an episode that ends with proof of the Twilight Zone’s existence. That, in and of itself, has to stand as a kind of hope.

What a twist!: The gremlin is real, as revealed by the damage done to the wing during flight.

Stray observations:

    Nick Cravat plays the gremlin, and he’s very good, traipsing around on the wing like some sort of long-lost missing link between ape and man.

    The remake of this episode in the Twilight Zone movie is very good and just might be the best part of that film. A lot of that is the direction of a young George Miller, but just as much is thanks to John Lithgow’s performance. (The inside joke about this in a 3rd Rock episode Shatner guest-starred in was pretty amazing.)

    I wonder how you’d remake this episode today. It certainly seems made for an age of slightly less omnipresent airline security and small propeller planes that didn’t fly nearly as high as modern jets. My guess: Put the gremlin inside the plane somewhere.
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Re: The Twilight Zone

Postby TheButcher on Thu Mar 30, 2017 1:23 am

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Re: The Twilight Zone

Postby TheButcher on Fri Nov 03, 2017 12:11 am

CBS Will Revive ‘Twilight Zone’ on All Access Streaming Service
Brian Steinberg and Daniel Holloway wrote:With its ability to provide programming on demand, streaming-video services are akin to a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. Little wonder, then, that CBS has chosen its “All Access” streaming video service to launch a new version of “The Twilight Zone,” the seminal sci-fi series that opened each week with a distinctive introduction from creator Rod Serling that used those aforementioned words.

“All Access will be the home of a new version of one of the most iconic television shows of all time – The Twilight Zone,” said Leslie Moonves, CEO of CBS Corp., during a conference call with investors Thursday.

According to sources, CBS is in talks with Jordan Peele to executive produce the new version of the show through his company Monkeypaw with Marc Ramirez serving as showrunner. CBS declined to comment on the show’s auspices.

Moonves did not offer many details about the program, but the company has burnished science fiction on its “All Access” service, which currently offers the latest iteration of the venerable “Star Trek” series. CBS last month said it would renew the series, “Star Trek: Discovery,” for a second season.

CBS has long eyed a reboot of “The Twilight Zone.” As recently as last year, CBS Television Studios had been developing the property with “X-Men” filmmakers Bryan Singer and Simon Kinberg and “Limitless” showrunner Craig Sweeny. At the time, CBS was weighing whether to shop the project wide or place it on digital service CBS All Access.

Kinberg left the project to go to work on the upcoming “X-Men” feature film at Fox. He, Singer, and Sweeney are no longer involved in “The Twilight Zone.”

The original “Twilight Zone” aired for five seasons on CBS from 1959 to 1964. Serling wrote or co-wrote most of the 156 episodes in the series. The episodes told original tales rooted in science fiction and horror, and featured well-known and rising actors — among them Buster Keaton, Burgess Meredith, Dennis Hopper, Elizabeth Montgomery, Leonard Nimoy, Robert Redford, and William Shatner.

The series has been revived twice before. The first reboot premiered in 1986 on CBS and ran for 110 episodes. The second, featuring Forest Whitaker in Serling’s on-air role, premiered in 2002 on UPN and lasted 43 episodes. A 1983 feature-film version, “The Twilight Zone: The Movie,” included vignettes directed by John Landis, Steven Spielberg, Joe Dante and George Miller.
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