Being the huge Twilight Zone fan I am, this is sad news to hear the most recent reboot courtesy of Jordan Peele has not been renewed for a third season. Strangely, it sounds like the showrunners are the reason it’s not returning, not the network.
While the first episode of the reboot drove up CBS All Access’ level of unique viewers to an all-time high, per the streamer, it will not come back when CBS All Access is rebranded as Paramount Plus on March 4.
That makes a total of 20 episodes over two seasons. The previous reboot effort from 2002-2003, with host Forest Whitaker, ran one season on UPN with 43 total episodes. Prior to that the 1985-1989 reboot — the most successful of reboots — lasted three seasons with 65 total episodes.
The original series ran from 1959-1964 for five seasons with a total of 156 episode, most of which were written by Rod Serling and all hosted and narrated by him. True story that Serling wrote more Twilight Zone episodes himself than any of the other reboot efforts have lasted. A testament to the quality of his writing.
My guess is we’ll see another Twilight Zone TV show reboot, perhaps another 10-20 years from now. This show is too good not to keep trying to recapture the magic. Maybe the next one will go true old school and keep it black and white, shot on film like the original with stories from writes modeling what Serling did in the original, only brought up to date in 2021. Peele and his team tried to do this, even offering a black and white version, but I think the longer than 30 minute episodes hindered the quality. Twilight Zone is perfect for 30 minute or less episodes. Even the fourth season of the classic that tried longer episodes stumbled in ratings. The fifth season they went back to the 30 minute run time.
It’s also possible that somebody will take a shot at another Twilight Zone movie. The last one might seem to be cursed with Vic Morrow and two child actors tragically killed in a stunt gone wrong, but it wouldn’t surprise me if we see another TZ movie.
Hopefully, Paramount+ will offer every Twilight Zone reboot episode on their service. The original is everywhere and Jordan Peele’s version is available, but the other two versions aren’t widely available, except on DVD. Some of these episodes were very well done. Twilight Zone fans deserve to see the entire history of Twilight Zone on Paramount+.
Readers here already know I’m a huge fan of the original Twilight Zone and its creator, Rod Serling. He’s cited as one of three writing influences for my creative work (Stephen King and Robert McCammon are the other two) and for good reason.
The guy was flat out an amazing writer. Sure, he dealt in television script writing, but a lot of what Serling did in that short run time was, truly, as timeless as infinity. Can’t compliment his work enough. It’s freaking legendary.
I’m currently in process of reviewing all 156 episodes of the classic Twilight Zone for this blog. It will, intentionally, take many years to complete this project. Probably more years than I have left on earth, because each episode, each review, is a time portal itself. It takes me back to a place I can only dream any new Twilight Zone could provide and have to dive into that frame of mind for each review. For example, see: TV SERIES Review: The Twilight Zone (1959) S1E1 – Where is Everybody?⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½ (#1 of 156) which was intentionally published on Valentine’s Day 2020 at a very specific time.
(easter egg alert!)
With the various reboots and sequels, they could go where Serling went, but often they don’t. They are imitations, but not his work. It’s more than his work, it’s his spirit and dedication, as well as the many others around him that put that show lovingly together.
Bless Jordan Peele’s heart for coming as close to what Serling did as anybody else in recent memory. He’s donning the familiar black suit, he released episodes in black and white and the themes and style of the new Twilight Zone episodes are trying to be there. I think the length of the episodes remain one vital, missing ingredient.
Cut the episodes down to 25 minutes max. We don’t need padding, we don’t need too much told to us, just show us the spark and let our imaginations fill in the gaps. Today storytelling is longer and I think that’s often to its detriment. Longer isn’t necessarily better (listen up, Martin Scorsese). Yes, it can be, but the Twilight Zone stories worked best in 25 minutes or less. Even the original fourth season they tried to expand to an hour length and Rod Serling himself admitted that the format didn’t fit the show and the stories they were trying to tell.
Jordan Peele isn’t likely to listen to me, but maybe someday we’ll get a Twilight Zone like the classic series. One that starts out in black and white, is a true homage in every little detail. Use the stock music, sound effects, shadowy lighting which only works in black and white, not in color, BTW. Make a black and white TV show first and secondly a color 4K HD or whatever whiz bang super sharp, clear technology exists.
Peele is a better narrator than Forest Whitaker. I’m not sure if Whitaker was involved as much creatively as Peele, but think more episodes were better under the Whitaker version. Alas, CBS All Access doesn’t offer the Whitaker hosted Twilight Zone, nor does it offer the first sequel in the 80s for comparison. Get with the program, CBS, and put all The Twilight Zone series on your service!
Back to present day and Twitter. I don’t use Twitter that much or involve in many conversations there, but I do read and enjoy following some people there.
One of my favorite people I enjoy following on Twitter is Anne Serling, because she somewhat frequently posts pictures of her father along with quotes by him that are shockingly relevant today. It’s a Twilight Zone moment that many of the same social and political issues, as well as business pressure and conflicts that Rod faced in the 50s and 60s, still exist today in some shape or form.
According to Anne, Serling was once asked what he would want on his gravestone. Serling replied, “He left friends.” Anne said that when she was finally able to visit his grave after coping with his death, someone had left a message on a piece of tape attached to a flag that read, “He left friends.”
A timely day for CBS All Access to announce when Season 2 of the rebooted Twilight Zone series from Jordan Peele and Simon Kinberg is coming.
Thank you, CBS, we have an answer.
The Twilight Zone returns for its second season on CBS All Access on June 25th. CBS announced the premiere date on Monday alongside the debut of the second season’s new trailer to commemorate National Twilight Zone Day. CBS also announced that all 10 episodes of the anthology series will release on the same day. This new iteration of The Twilight Zone comes from executive producers Jordan Peele and Simon Kinberg.
Episodes as in the first season will target a one hour run time. No information yet as to if the black and white versions will be available at launch. With Season 1 they released everything in color first and later dropped the black and white version, which I preferred.
As a lifelong fan of The Twilight Zone, including other non-media like games and media like the magazine, books and comics, I’ve followed the movie and every TV series to date (including the one Forrest Whitaker hosted).
Even when it comes to the classic 1959- TZ, I’m not as big a fan of the hour long episodes. I think the shorter 22-25 minute episodes were best suited. There have been some good longer episodes, including episodes written by Rod Serling himself, but I wish Jordan Peele and team would have focused on telling two or three different stories versus only one longer episode.
What do you think of Jordan Peele’s reboot of Twilight Zone?
The Twilight Zone (2020) Season 2 – all 10 episodes – will be available for streaming on June 25, 2020.
No. That’s the answer to the headline. Louder, no.
There are plenty of great stories in the Star Trek universe that can be told on streaming, in movies, books and more. The galaxy is massive and dare I suggest provides nearly limitless creative potential.
We might disagree on the most recent two Trek ventures (Discovery and Picard), but to suggest any one bad movie, TV show, book, story, etc can ruin the future story potential is silly.
(would say the same thing about the Terminator franchise, btw)
Some of the 10 ideas suggested in the linked article quoted above I really liked. The Galactic Core and Holodeck ideas stood out. I’m the type of creative person who looks at this well of creative goodness and sees immense opportunity.
My Twilight Zone TV Series Pitch
I can’t recall ever writing any fan fiction, but the closest I could see myself writing would be some kind of Twilight Zone stories. The coolest thing I’d like to see are an extension — not a reboot — of the original Twilight Zone episodes: filmed in black and white, shadows, substance, same stock Bernard Hermann music, 22-25 minute run time, and a narrator Serling clone who wears the black suit and has the wry Serling expression and cigarette dangling. Heck, even get sponsors that still exist and have retro commercials. So many opportunities with this pitch. If anybody from CBS is reading this, contact me, because, yes, I do have several script ideas. Again, this isn’t a reboot idea, this is a continuation of 1959-1963 in present day. Sacred ground, yes, I know, but if it’s a project done with admiration and love it could be pulled off and amazing. Would you dig seeing a Season 6 of the original series?
Am sure there are fans of Star Trek with ideas they can pitch that are as good as or better than what’s presented in the quote above — or my Star Trek: Next Generation Titan idea. There are also boatloads of books in the Star Trek universe that could be adapted. Picard won’t be the least Star Trek TV series.
Do you have any Star Trek (or other shows they own the IP) pitches for CBS All Access? Go ahead, pitch in the comments. Never know who’s reading!
From the “wish we could have done this while on vacation in Las Vegas” list, comes The Twilight Zone mini golf experience at Caesars.
Looking for an affordable, yet extraordinarily unordinary experience in Vegas? Twilight Zone by Monster Mini Golf is a unique 10,000 square foot themed attraction featuring an extraordinary custom-designed indoor glow-in-the-dark 18-hole miniature golf course entertainment venue.
On May 1 some casinos in Vegas are taking reservations (right now). This is about in line with the 45 days behind China that we are on the pandemic and they are starting to open businesses. We’ll be back in Vegas again, hopefully this summer, so am hoping to catch this cool looking mini golf experience next time.
In the meantime, we’ll just have to dream among the clouds.
Season 1 Episode 1 – “Where is Everybody?” Written by Rod Serling Starring: Earl Holliman (living, age 91 as of 2/14/2020) Original airdate: October 2, 1959
Directed by Robert Stevens
Stevens would direct 2 of the 156 Twilight Zone episodes. He died in 1989.
A man walks along a path into a strange town.
The place is here. The time is now, and the journey into the shadows that we are about to watch, could be our journey.
Opening Narration by Rod Serling for “Where is Everybody?”
It opens with a man (Holliman) checking out a diner. Coffee is brewing, pies are cooking.
He calls out for people and looks around and while it looks like there should at least be workers in the kitchen, nobody is around.
Next he goes outside and sees a woman in a car. He calls out to her, starts talking about wondering where all the people in town went?
“Hey Miss! Miss! Over here!” As he closes in on the woman in the car, he explains that he can’t find anybody else in town and that he doesn’t remember who he is or how he arrived here.
When he opens the door he realizes that the woman is a mannequin. Then he enters the mannequin shop and still can’t find anybody. After another minute, he walks outside and hears a telephone ringing!
When he answers the phone, nobody is there. He hangs up and calls the operator and hears a voice, but it’s only a recording of the operator. Then he struggles to exit from the phone booth. Anxiety and stress are beginning to affect him. He’s starting to sweat.
After exiting the phone booth through a normal, albeit difficult, door he decides to check out the police station next. Surely there will be someone in there, yes?
No. He enters the jail area with running water and shaving kit prepared but, again, nobody is around to use it. The cell door creaks and threatens to close on him, locking him inside the cell. Escaping, his panic level is rising as he goes into the office area and finds a smoking cigar.
He runs out of the police station and cries, “Hey! Where is everybody?!”
Fade to black. This would be a commercial break if there was one. When we return to the action, the man is back in the diner eating a sundae. He’s a little calmer, but there is still an underlying tension and confusion in his voice.
He tells himself in a mirror that he wants to wake up. Wants to find somebody to talk to. There’s a book rack in the diner with a bunch of books titled, “The Last Man on Earth.”
He leaves the diner and plays Tic Tac Toe in the dirt outside. Nightfall is coming and the streetlights illuminate. He heads inside a movie theater.
Looking at movie posters, he suddenly realizes that he is in the Air Force. He runs around the lobby of the movie theater yelling that he’s in the Air Force.
He wonders if there was a bomb? But if there was, why isn’t anything destroyed? He then goes inside the theater and a movie starts playing on the projector.
Excited, he heads upstairs to the projector room.
But nobody is up there. Just the haunting projector running … tick, tick, tick, tick.
Running downstairs is the best camera shot in the episode.
He runs toward the viewer and we don’t realize it’s a mirror until he crashes into it.
Now he’s in full panic mode and losing his mind. When he emerges outside and runs down the dark street we see a camera at an angle with a bicycle in the distance. We see him running toward it and …
Then he trips over it. When he looks up and sees a giant cyclops eye, his stress has turned to terror. He can’t process that it’s simply an Optometrist office.
He runs over to the empty street, sweating profusely, frantically pushing the button to walk across the street safely.
He cries out for help. Anybody, somewhere, anywhere, “Help!”
At this point the flashing lights, “WAIT! WAIT! WAIT!”
And now viewers can’t wait to find out where the people are?
… SPOILERS ahead, you’ve been warned that the twist ending is revealed after this (hurry, go and just watch the episode before having the fun ruined …
Spoiler section – THE TWIST ENDING
The part that always fascinated me with Twilight Zone episodes was the twist ending. Some I figured out, most were surprises including this first episode.
The man we’ve been watching isn’t really in a town that has no people. He is in the Air Force and his name is Ferris.
He’s been part of an experiment inside an isolation booth.
They are trying to measure how loneliness impacts the astronauts traveling in the long trip in space.
We cut inside to Ferris in the box, pushing the panic button.
Ferris has snapped. The officials order him taken out of the box.
We learn in the final moments as they pull him out that he’s been in the isolation chamber for 2 1/2 weeks.
The barrier of loneliness: The palpable, desperate need of the human animal to be with his fellow man. Up there, up there in the vastness of space, in the void that is sky, up there is an enemy known as isolation. It sits there in the stars waiting, waiting with the patience of eons, forever waiting… in The Twilight Zone.
Rod Serling’s Closing Narration for “Where Is Everybody?”
This is an excellent episode to start the series. Serling chose a central theme which seems amazingly fitting: loneliness. As if he wanted to explain that these little, self-compacted stories in the anthology series each episode would do more than basic sci-fi/fantasy entertainment: they would have a message that transcends the black and white TV images.
By the time I review all 156 episodes, I’ll rank them and I’d guess on this Valentine’s Day in 2020 that this episode is probably in the top 25 (just a guess at this point, need to rewatch and review them all again). It has an unusual, unsettling storyline and a great twist ending. Earl Holliman’s acting isn’t overdone, there is a progressive crescendo as we build to the end.
The episode is understandably a little dated now in its presentation of a small town, particularly the phone booth. In 2020 everybody has cell phones and the use of phone booths has been obsoleted. If younger, first time viewers can suspend their belief at this historically accurate oddity, this episode still packs punch.
There are various fire extinguishers which look like diving tanks instead of the modern day version. Of course the cars look every bit like something from Back To The Future when Marty McFly goes back in time to 1955. Cars just looked cooler in the 50s than they do today, so no problems there. The advertisements for products and pricing is pure 50s as well. 40 cents for a banana split? Wouldn’t that be nice?
The camerawork, the angles, the extreme close-ups, the use of black and white with shadows are all excellent. Cinematography for this episode is by Joseph LaShelle who died in 1989 at the age of 89. LaShelle was a master craftsman of black and white film — and it shows.
Editing was by Roland Gross who also died in 1989 at the age of 80. He was an Academy Award nominee for the Best Film Editing category for the movie, None But The Lonely Heart.
The legendary Twilight Zone score is by Bernard Herrmann who died in 1975. Herrmann worked with Alfred Hitchcock and on many other TV shows and classic films like The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951). A legend gone too soon who died of a heart attack at 64. Too young for such a great talent.
If one could define a nearly perfect Twilight Zone or really any other sort of pilot, this would be an example. I’m going to take a very tiny half star away for one minor thing that somewhat plagued some TZ episodes worse than others: flowery dialogue. Serling liked to have characters who spoke things that probably sounded great on paper, but didn’t always translate well to screen. This will likely be a recurring complaint of mine during the series.
Here some of the character Ferris’ dialogue speaking to himself was a little too convenient. Like he was being pure exposition and not really speaking aloud like someone in his position would. For example, how does he realize he’s in the Air Force just being inside the movie theater? Is it seeing the movie posters of airplanes? It isn’t entirely clear how this “aha!” moment is struck and a minor flaw in the episode. I know he looks at the flight suit he’s wearing and it is an Air Force outfit, so that could explain it better.
I realize it’s a dream state essentially, but some of the dialogue didn’t ring as true. Ferris didn’t need to speak as much as he did. His facial expressions were fantastic and showed the horror. I don’t think he’d be trying to have quite as many conversations with himself.
Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½
Easter Eggs & Meta Toast
This section is for behind the scenes and meta information on publishing this review. Over the course of posting all these reviews, I may update with links to related posts. This post was published on Valentine’s Day 2020 at precisely 1:43pm PST.
Curious who will be the torchbearer for Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone after Rod’s wife Carol died in Janunary 2020? No, respectfully, not Jordan Peele. He’s doing that from a professional standpoint, sure, as is CBS All Access. Thank you very much for doing that.
Yes, I’m talking somebody in the family that already carries the great Serling name. My money is on one (or both) of their daughters, Anne and Jodi, but perhaps one or more of the grandchildren could at least symbolically fill the shoes left by Rod and Carol.
Raised in Columbus, Ohio, Carol met her future husband in 1946 when they were students at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and he had just returned from duty in World War II. They married two years later, and she received a degree in psychology and education in 1950.
Survivors include daughters Anne and Jodi, grandchildren Samuel, Ryan and Erica and great-grandchildren Alyssa and Aiden.
Speaking of Jordan Peele’s version of TZ, it’s worth mentioning director of Gretel and Hansel Osgood Perkins is penning a “way out version” of an episode in season two of the CBS All Access Twilight Zone. Perkins is an artful cinematography guy, so it will be exciting to see what he does with shapes, shadows and the vast expanse of canvas that Twilight Zone provides.
On February 14, I’m planning a Twilight Zone love letter to share here. The first planned of at least 156 going many years into the future, if I live long enough, of course. Submitted for your approval, this blog will enter … The Twilight Zone.
… on the big screen for the first in theaters last night and loved seeing it. Was like watching TV on a giant screen. The theater was probably 60% full, so not everybody came out that could have, but was a decent showing.
Looking around this morning, I came across some more articles about the event.
While I could have done without the political stuff (President Trump is just too easy a target for anybody, especially Rod Serling), I enjoyed Jodi Serling’s insight. Serling was a master of telling the stories he wanted to tell, but framing them in a way that could get though the hypersensitive network censors of the time:
Overflowing with big ideas and uniquely attuned to the fault lines running through America, Rod Serling’s pioneering series provided the vital counterpoint to the placid programming that mostly worked to distract viewers from the realities of life. “He started to write The Twilight Zone to address the problems in society,” Serling’s daughter, Jodi Serling, confirms to Yahoo Entertainment. “He felt it was criminal that [television] writers were not permitted to address the social evils that existed.”
Rod Serling is legendary. His words will not only be remembered, but by some of us, they’ll be treasured moments captured on television.
Have stated here before, and will probably do it many more times: Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone is my favorite ever television show. Nothing before it and nothing after has had — and continues to have — the single greatest impact on what I enjoy watching .
It wasn’t only the visuals, acting and sound, however, it was the amazing foundation, the timeless writing by Rod Serling. The singular magical feeling so many of the episodes generated.
“Every writer … has certain special loves, certain special hangups,” said Sterling. “In my case, it’s a hunger to be young again. A desperate hunger to go back to where it all began. I think you’ll see this as a running thread through all the things that I write.”
We don’t like the first two rows of seats either. Your neck gets all jacked up and you have to sit at an uncomfortable angle. 47 of 73 (64.3%) available seats remained for the Twilight Zone 60th Anniversary on 11/14 when we signed up on 11/9.
The Twilight Zone TV show episode reviews are coming in 2020
The plan is to start reviewing every single one of those classic episodes beginning soon, probably in January 2020. My problem is that there aren’t enough of episodes to keep me going forever. I’ve seen all of them at least once and some of them many, many times. Reviewing all 156 episodes even at an intentionally slowed pace of one per month would mean I could burn through every episode in 13 years. Isn’t ironic that the superstitious number of 13 comes up when divided out all episodes?
To say this blog will exist for 13 years is probably a bigger question mark than whether or not I’ll need something else to review in 2033. Also, there is the matter if I’ll still be alive in 13 years? My relations tend to live a long time, so outside of accident or future disease, I see no reason that I won’t be here in 2033.
(cue eerie Zone theme music)
There is always Rod Serling’s Night Gallery TV series to review after The Twilight Zone. That’s the series where a young filmmaker named Steven Spielberg worked on one of his first teleplays “Eyes”. There were 44 episodes of Night Gallery. So there is another four years. Could also review all the reboot episodes of Twilight Zone, including the one with Forest Whitaker as the narrator. Serling had involvement in some films and other teleplays, so I might have to dig deep, should I be lucky enough to make it 20+ years in the future here, still reviewing his awesome work. I suppose that’s plenty of time into the future. Who knows if something better will come along to share reviews by then?
Another huge influence of mine is Stephen King. I could maybe alternate a Stephen King adaptation movie or TV adaptation review with a TV review each month. That would stretch out the months. There has been no shortage of King movies. Plenty of options.
Is anybody else reading attending this Twilight Zone Fathom Events? 60 year anniversary is a special one. That is older than me. Not too much older, but older. I’m sure if Serling is able to read these words and tons by others, he would not have worried about being remembered.
I’ve never attended a Fathom Event before and this one bullseyes my zone.
The Twilight Zone: A 60th Anniversary Celebration will combine digitally restored versions of six quintessential episodes with an all-new documentary short titled “Remembering Rod Serling” about the life, imagination and creativity of creator Serling, whose thought-provoking anthology series continues to mesmerize fans.
The 60th Anniversary of my favorite TV show of all time.
Yes, I’ve seen all six episodes they’ll be showing, but never on the big screen. I have not seen the Rod Serling documentary short they are adding:
Fathom Events has live concerts and sports events too on the big screen. Might like to take part in one of those someday too. Anybody attended a Fathom Events at the theater before? What was your experience like?