The Twilight Zone (TV Series 1959–1964) Poster

(1959–1964)

User Reviews

Add a Review
141 ReviewsOrdered By: Helpfulness
The true beginning of modern Science Fiction
NuRhyme23 July 1999
Wow! Where should I start? "The Twilight Zone" is arguably the greatest science fiction television show ever! Almost every single episode is a masterpiece of modern Sci-Fi. I feel "The Twilight Zone" is responsible for the way we view science fiction today...provocative, strangely eerie, and wildly entertaining. The shows creator and writer, Rod Sterling, was a master of creating a show that caused you to stop and think, re-examine reality, consider the impossible, check the closet before going to bed, and sleep with the lights on! I watched this program religiously as a child. Every Saturday night I had to bribe my little brother to stay up and watch "The Twilight Zone" with me because I was afraid to watch it alone. It came on at 11:00 p.m. By 10:45 my little brother was sound asleep with chocolate smeared around his mouth, and I would be alone, curled in a blanket, awaiting the next spine tingling episode. I was never disappointed. By the time it went off, I would usually be sitting there alone...in a comatose-like daze, staring at the static on the television screen, too afraid to turn it off because to do so would ensure that you met with some hideous fate similar to the one you just saw earlier. "The Twilight Zone" was also a spring board for many young and talented actors/actresses during its run from the late 50's well into the 60's.

Thanks to mail order companies, I have ordered and received every single episode of "The Twilight Zone"! It would be impossible for me to say which episode is my absolute favorite because I loved so many. But a couple do stick out in my mind. They are "Time Enough At Last" and "Eye Of The Beholder". If you've never watched this wonderful example of television at it's best, I plead with you to check it out. It can be found on the Sci-Fi channel as well as various other stations via cable T.V. There's no sex, no foul language, and no graphic violence. But you will find a solid plot, famous actors/actresses years before before they became famous, and a story with a very surprising twist at the end that will leave a smile on your face, or, a cringe as you wake up your someone else in the house to turn off the T.V.
86 out of 94 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A Show of Depth Well Ahead of it's Time
yarborough7 December 2002
"The Twilight Zone" brought a complexity and maturity to television that had never existed before and probably hasn't been seen since. The stories were always ironic, briliant, and fascinating, and they often came with a moral lesson. Episodes like "A Kind of a Stopwatch", with Richard Erdmann, "Time Enough At Last", with Burgess Meredith, "Nightmare at 20,00 Feet", with William Shatner, and "Where is Everybody," with Earl Holliman, dove into concepts and situations no other show would have even touched. The entertainment brought on by "The Twilight Zone" was as vast as the Zone itself. Its principal writers, Sterling, Beaumont, and Matheson, were the best of their era. For sheer television entertainment, nothing compares to the brilliant, heavyweight stories of "The Twilight Zone." TO be frank, "The Twilight Zone" was the first show that didn't insult the viewer's intelligence.
70 out of 77 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
When It Worked, No TV Show Was (Or Is) More Imaginative
Snow Leopard4 November 2004
Rod Serling's distinctive approach gave "The Twilight Zone" a unique character that will always keep it among the best-remembered of all classic television shows. Not only that, but it set high goals for itself, and it took a lot of chances - and not chances in the phony, trivial sense in which a lot of more recent series "take chances" by resorting to unnecessarily provocative or indecent material that actually guarantees them attention and acclaim.

"The Twilight Zone" took chances by experimenting with many different kinds of stories and material, and by aiming to provide high-quality entertainment while simultaneously giving you something to think about. As a result, there were a few episodes that didn't quite click, and that seem odd or even dull. But when it worked - as it did a great deal of the time - no television show then or now was more imaginative.

In a short review, it would be impossible to list all of the memorable episodes, or even to cover the full range of the kinds of material that it used. There were chilling episodes like "To Serve Man", which is often remembered by those who saw it decades ago, and there were thought-provoking episodes like "In the Eye of the Beholder", which was also imaginatively filmed.

Many episodes relied primarily on a well-written and well-conceived story, while others, like "The Invaders", relied heavily on excellent acting performances (in that case, by Agnes Moorehead). There were occasional light-hearted episodes like "Once Upon a Time", which was also a nice showcase for the great Buster Keaton.

It's too bad that these anthology-style series went out of fashion, because a number of them were of high quality. This one, in particular, stands well above its subsequent imitators. The best science fiction, like the best of any genre or art form, appeals to the imagination, not to the senses, and imagination is what "The Twilight Zone" was all about.
112 out of 128 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Stop At Wiloughby!!
dataconflossmoor30 August 2005
This episode begins in the foyer of Mr Williams' personal and professional fatigue...This dilemma transcends the cumbersome nuisance of an encroaching mid-life crisis..It is far more fatal!!..Mr Williams is cannonaded by being under constant scrutiny at his high profile job, and this undue stress takes a toll on his physical health as well as his mental resolve...Pressure from all sides has made Williams acutely aware of his actual breaking point...This Twilight Zone episode brilliantly depicts how a man who has sophisticated Connecticut suburbia by the throat can be the well deserved recipient of self deprecating pity!!

As Williams is returning home from work one evening, he falls asleep and has a dream about a town called Wiloughby...In this dream the train stops at a town named Wiloughby, which is a quaint little town in the late 1800's...Wiloughby "Where a man can live his life full measure".. Wiloughby is a simplistic and serene utopia.. Small town America in the late 1800's?.. No flu shots, no air conditioning, no television, abhorrent racial intolerance and non-refrigerated food!!..yet for Williams, Wiloughby represents an innocence and happiness that is right out of a Currier and Ives painting!!

When Mr Williams arrives home, he tells his wife about his dream!!! Let's first meet the wife...She is a preoccupied virago who is consumed by material accoutrement as a way of flaunting accomplishment and success...Her brow beaten husband's accomplishment and success!! It is Chateaubriand every Friday at the Country Club and clothes from Peck and Peck just to brandish a badge of prestige, her avaricious nature is solely for the purpose of nurturing the shallow virtue of vanity!!

As the husband explores the conundrum of climbing the corporate ladder, the wife merely purports her husband's social isolation and emotional neglect and relegates it to indignant and precocious whining...She perceives the town he manufactured in a dream called Wiloughby, as an escapist panacea which serves as a subterfuge for averting the reality of executive level competition!!

Returning home once again, Mr Williams has a dream about Wiloughby and now he is determined to get off the train and visit Wiloughby should he have this dream ever again!!...Increased pressure from his job and a total lack of empathy from everyone around him intensify his desire to change his life!!...He gives his wife one final plea to support his mixed feelings about everything...This completely backfires and she makes it perfectly clear as she previously stated, that she wants no part of a man "who's big dream in life is to be Huckleberry Finn"...It is important to note that William's wife is not impervious to what he is saying, she understands fully of what he is saying and resolutely resists it!!

Now being pressured from all sides to the point whereby a head vice seems like a Tonka Toy...Mr Williams once again falls asleep on the train and decides to get off at Wiloughby (The manufactured town in his persistent dreams)...To Williams, he has now entered the citadel of respite and solace...To the real world Mr Williams has committed suicide...For now, Mr Williams is in the world he wants to be!!

This Twilight Zone episode illustrates how being raptured up in white collar slavery can often times lead to being trounced by recrimination!! As a result, it is easy to lose sight of what is truly important to you!! Now all of a sudden, the joy of heartfelt laughter, and human compassion seem like old relics!!...A mandated life of affluence can be the insidious assassin to happiness, as well as a ruthless vitiation to a tolerable perseverance!!

The Twilight Zone episode "Stop at Wiloughby" is loosely based on Rod Serling's life in terms of the pressure he faced while doing Twilight Zone!! It is very ironic that this episode premiered on CBS the day I was born!!...Rod Serling's articulation of the social climbing America is done up to perfection in this episode!! Carrying across an idea that is prolific and socially astute in nature is difficult enough on it's own right, but when you are continually interrupted every twelve minutes by commercials about bleach detergent, chocolates that taste homemade, and Mercury Convertibles, it is seemingly far more difficult or next to impossible...Rod Serling somehow finds a way to convey his message and flawlessly...This is my second favorite Twilight Zone Episode of all time...I love it, but then again I love a lot of them!!
146 out of 182 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
IT'S A COOKBOOK!!!
ratboy7a11 May 2001
There is probably no one who doesn't remember the Twilight Zone and have a favorite episode. I was 11 or 12 and so many of the episodes stick in my mind. Many friends and co-workers are similarly afflicted. When a group of us are discussing the woes of commuting, someone is sure to suggest that they get off at Willoughby. Stuck in a long line for whatever, with the beginning of the line no where in sight - someone might rant "It's a cookbook!". We laugh now but some episodes gave us cause for concern.

Did you ever notice how many 50's, 60's and even 70's tv shows are represented by the guest cast of TZ? Gilligan's Island, Bewitched, Star Trek, Lost In Space, Beverly Hillbillies, The Farmer's Daughter, Dobie Gillis, My Three Sons, Batman, Big Valley, The Bob Cummings Show, My Favorite Doll (or is that My Living Doll - Julie Newmar plays a robot), Honey West, Police Woman, The Odd Couple and who knows how many more!

What a series - serious actresses like Ida Lupino and Agnes Moorehead and clowns like Don Rickles. Big screen names like Mickey Rooney and Charles Bronson. Lost In Space is represented by Johnathan Harris, Billy Mumy (numerous appearances -and its a good thing you did,Anthony) and Angela Cartwright. Batman has Adam West, Julie Newmar and the great Burgess! You have a James Bond villain (Joseph Wiseman) and the first James Bond himself (for the really entrenched trivia fans - I'm not telling you who he is but it ain't Connery).

An earlier commenter put it best - this show bred most of today's horror, suspense and occult films.
65 out of 81 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
You've just crossed over into...
Lee Eisenberg10 July 2005
I would assume that everyone knows "The Twilight Zone"'s theme song, and recognizes Rod Serling's monotone explanations of how the given character has just crossed over into the Twilight Zone. I'm not sure which episode is my favorite. There's "Nightmare at 30,000 Feet", in which William Shatner sees a monster tearing at an airplane wing, and there's also "Time Enough at Last", where Burgess Meredith plays a bookworm who gets enough time to read as much as he wants...or does he? Or, it might be another episode. But no matter. "The Twilight Zone" never ceases to impress me. Even the 1983 movie was pretty interesting, not something that many movies based on TV shows accomplish. You should try to see the show.
33 out of 40 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
The signpost up ahead...
evildead19789 December 2004
It is completely impossible to narrow down the best episodes of this classic TV series...everything about it (writing, acting, production values) is leaps and bounds above anything around today! That being said, since the Christmas season is approaching, Serling made two holiday episodes that are worth taking the time to watch all over again: "The Night of the Meek" with Art Carney and (my personal favorite) "The Changing of the Guard" with Donald Pleasance. Both are timeless classics, and show a very sentimental side to the Twilight Zone...Every year at the holiday season I like to sit back and take these episodes in; they get better and better with each repeated viewing! Merry Christmas & Enjoy!
44 out of 55 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Spur of the Moment
edwinalarren7 February 2006
Imagine you are an unsuspecting daughter of prominent New England wealth, and suddenly you are upended by a malignant premonition!! This woman is an enigmatic phantom who has been disillusioned by consequences, she winds up resorting to dipsomanical forms of entertainment, this means that her only form of emotional consolation comes from a bottle of cognac, apathy is suffocating her, and she is afflicted by her own personal failure!! The abrupt revelation that mendacity is your stilted panacea, and reality is her bitter cynicism, necessitates a formidable trepidation which you are unable to cope with!! This is a dreadfully candid scenario with definable features!! You are unfamiliar with this nightmarish figure, but she has an acute resemblance to you, she is warning you about yourself, and you have become terrified!!

This Twilight Zone episode deals with devastating disappointments which emanated from personal neglect and wanton selfishness!! You (Ann Henderson) were mirrored by the fallen angel of darkness, otherwise known as you at age 43!! You were suppose to marry Mr Right, and as a result of your adolescent instinct being one of your downfalls, you wound up marrying your childhood sweetheart, he was definitely Mr Wrong!! ..The only constant in your life is alcohol, and your stupors of disenchantment result in blaming your father for everything, hence, you are stalemated by non-productiveness, and you have become misanthropic by default.. These irrational logic patterns of yours are indicative of a banal, run of the mill, alcoholic's proverbial cop out!! Your father's estate has been run into ruin, and your prevailing domestic enmity is a crippling force to your very existence!! At the ripe old age of 18, your desolate future accosted you, and you had no way of fighting back...You were victimized by a lethargic attrition, disheveled by circumstances, and though you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, your incredible lack of discipline and discriminating judgment has caused you to be permanently bankrupt!! Bottom line, you had a dual with adversity and adversity won!! Everything in your life has gone wrong, and now you are isolated and despondent!! This comprises the callous vilification of your miserably pathetic plight...Without question!! It is definitely time for you to reap what you've sown!!

This was my favorite Twilight Zone episode of all time!! It depicts the realistic tragedy of deteriorating wealth decimating an entire family!! Rod Serling illustrates how lives can easily be destroyed by making the wrong decisions!! Films like "Dracula" and "Wolfman" are indeed supernatural sensationalism, and the real horror story which receives the certificate of authenticity is Ann Henderson's life!! Yes, the monster that will destroy you is your future!! While Ann owned a racing horse on the verge of bank foreclosure, by no means, may she ride off into the sunset!! This episode has a very poignant and compelling dialog which addresses the upheaval of pecuniary dissemination!! The trend of domestic disaster in this case is resoundingly irreversible!! In 1964, television's perception of the well to do insinuated that they were omnipotent.. The reality of affluence is that once it is passed down to the heirs (Otherwise known as the overgrown adolescents) it is reduced to nothing in record time!! The Twilight Zone segment "Spur of the Moment" does a tremendous job of displaying such an unfortunately realistic situation!! It was made during the last season of the series!! This was a fantastic idea for a Twilight Zone segment, as I stated before, this is my favorite Twilight Zone episode out of the entire series!!
121 out of 162 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Tucson, AZ
Agent1023 July 2002
Whatever incantation, whatever form, whatever decade, this show has managed to intrigue and defy logic with its use of imaginary story lines and ideas, mixing a palate of intrigue and genius to allow the common viewer to become engrossed in the weirdest television has to offer. While the original series was cheesy at some points, this show was always different, always something to look forward to in regards to the eeriness it created. Rod Serling helped usher in a generation of paranoia and science fiction thanks to this groundbreaking show, and I'm thankful for this. I could only imagine what the world would be like if all we had were terrible dramas and average sitcoms filling the airwaves. This show will rank as one of the best in my book, no matter what people say.
49 out of 63 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
A Dimension of Mind
phantom_tollbooth21 February 2007
The concept of 'The Twilight Zone' grabbed me immediately. Rather than a simple collection of supernatural tales designed to give us the willies, Rod Serling set out to utilise the often underrated medium of Science Fiction and Fantasy to put forward his social commentary on mankind. Serling's early straight drama scripts had been cut to shreds by the networks whose main concerns were keeping the sponsors happy and not offending potential viewers. This came at the price of quality entertainment and, despite the worthy targets of the scripts, it was more important for the bosses to ensure their funding was secure than it was to produce socially conscious programmes. However, by using a genre that was generally considered to hold little creative value, Serling managed to slip plenty of subversive social and political satire past the censors without them picking up on it. This was the sort of materiel that, in the 1950s, would never have made it to the screen unveiled. It exposed corruption in authority figures, it exposed the sort of weaknesses inherent in mankind that American networks are still so unwilling to portray in their country's citizens. By adding in a supernatural element Serling could suddenly comment on whatever he wanted. To the networks it was a sci-fi show, a bunch of far fetched stories about unusual people. In actuality, it was about all of us. Often the supernatural element figured far less heavily in the story than the social element. Serling's wonderfully melodramatic, wordy scripts focused squarely on his characters rather than just utilising them as two dimensional pawns overwhelmed by the story. People, their thoughts, choices, behavioural patterns and emotions were the story.

Just as compelling was the nature of the twilight zone itself. Although Serling offers us a long spiel at the beginning of each show describing the zone, it is purposefully vague so as to not erase the mystery. All we know is that entering the twilight zone causes things to take a turn for the unusual but in exactly what way is impossible to tell until you're in the thick of it. This is because the nature of the zone is so elusive. Sometimes it is a God like force which metes out justice or teaches characters a lesson. However, the zone's sense of justice is often distinctly skewed. Although corrupt, violent, generally unpleasant people get their comeuppance in the zone more often than not, being a good, honest, benevolent person is no guarantee that you won't end up with the rough end of the stick. This is what makes The Twilight Zone such a fascinating watch. You don't know what sort of mood the zone will be in from episode to episode. Sometimes it takes active control, rewarding the good and punishing the bad; sometimes it takes a step back after having set things in motion and simply observes the outcome; sometimes, in what often prove to be some of the best episodes, the zone unleashes its sick sense of humour on an unsuspecting innocent (the most notable example of this being 'Time Enough At Last'). It's even possible for the zone to contradict itself, such as the back to back episodes 'The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine' and 'Walking Distance', which offer two very different outcomes for characters who long to return to their pasts.

More than ably assisting Serling are several other regular writers, most notably Charles Beaumont and Richard Matheson. These two writers turned in many of the very finest episodes of the series and proved to be more consistently reliable than Serling (although, to be fair to Serling, they did not contribute nearly as many scripts to the show as he did). Less inclined to lapse into broad, cartoonish comedy or over-sentimentality, Matheson and Beaumont turned in some of the most famous episodes ("Nightmare at 20,000 Feet") and some of the most undervalued ("Perchance to Dream"). Matheson was to be admired for his taut plotting, strong characterisation and convincing dialogue while Beaumont frequently came up with the most intriguing ("Miniature", "Passage on the Lady Anne") and plain horrific ("Long Live Walter Jameson", "Perchance to Dream", "The New Exhibits") concepts.

Of course, as is the case with virtually every anthology show, some episodes of The Twilight Zone were better than others while some were just downright awful (check out the likes of "The Mighty Casey", "The Whole Truth" or "Mr Dingle, The Strong" for just a few examples) but when it got it right, the result was frequently magical. These beautifully made stories in gorgeous, crisp black and white, continue to thrill, delight and disturb me with each viewing. Rod Serling's mysterious but lovable humanitarian host is a hard man to refuse and when he asks me to step into the twilight zone with him, I rarely refuse.
8 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
loading
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews