Welcome to ‘The Twilight Zone’: Reminisce with the best episodes
Before Black Mirror started capitalizing on society’s fear of its own technological advancements, there was The Twilight Zone. It had a simple setup and a huge impact on television today. Rod Sterling both created the show and became its enigmatic host.
The Twilight Zone went on to become a critically acclaimed show throughout its 5 season/5 year run. It was futuristic in storytelling in how it told stories and apologetic about which ones it told at all.
So, let’s take a look back on some of the best episodes of The Twilight Zone!
“Eye of the Beholder”
They say “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. Whether or not that’s true is debatable, especially when considering someone as universally gorgeous as Megan Fox. But it’s an idiom The Twilight Zone tackled with intrigue and style in season 2, episode 6.
Janet Tyler (Maxine Stuart) spends most of the episode covered in bandages until the very end. Doctors solemnly work on removing her bandages. The episode uses silence to build tension & suspense that pays off until her bandages are removed.
Face uncovered, Tyler (now played by Donna Douglas) is met with the reality that she is considered hideous by the doctors that operated on her. But the audience was treated to the shocking reality of what that means in a world where beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.
“Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”
William Shatner is famous for both his iconic roles and the dramatic flair he brought to them. But his portrayal of Bob Wilson in season 5, episode 3 of The Twilight Zone called for something a little more subtle.
Wilson is a terrified flight passenger being terrorized by a monster-like figure on the wing of the plane. Is he experiencing a panic attack-induced hallucination? Or is the figure really out there?
No one but him can see it. No one but him is experiencing it. It made for a creepy episode watching him try to decipher between what was real and what had been pulled from the terrifying depths of his imagination.
“Stopover In a Quiet Town”
At times, The Twilight Zone could be quite progressive in the messages of each episode. Season 5, episode 30 was not one of those episodes. It was one of the more conservative episodes, but no less able to put viewers on the edge of their seats.
Millie (Nancy Malone) and Bob Frazier (Barry Nelson) are a married couple that goes out partying one night. Only they make the mistake of driving home while heavily intoxicated and the episode makes them pay for it.
They wake up in a strange place, surrounded by stranger faces – the price they pay for endangering themselves & others. A lesson taught in true Twilight Zone fashion – with dramatically creepy flair.
“Will the Real Martian Stand Up?”
When The Twilight Zone wasn’t teaching lessons on perspective or proper behavior, it was holding a mirror up to society. Season 2, episode 28 did exactly that by playing on the Cold War-related fears of the time.
Troopers Bill Padgett (John Archer) and Dan Perry (Morgan Jones) arrive in a small town diner with news of aliens. It immediately puts the townspeople on edge. When the troopers claim that the aliens could be among them, they become suspicious of one another.
People are often at their worst when they are both intolerant and fearful of differences in others. This episode highlighted that in a way that was smart, subtle, and creepy, making this one of the best episodes of The Twilight Zone.
“Where Is Everybody?”
While the early seasons were popular among TV critics, it was not as highly praised or well-received by audiences. It was, instead, a strange new show struggling to find its footing. Then season 1 episode 1 came along, one of the best episodes of The Twilight Zone.
An Air Force General (James Gregory) wanders a deserted town looking for other people. The less signs of life he sees, the more desperate for human contact he becomes. His desperation only increases when he finds a book display for The Last Man on Earth.
This episode feels a little more personal after almost 2 years of self-isolation and quarantine. But the threat of a lonely existence in the face of technological advancement has always been a very real and present fear. Just as The Twilight Zone has always had a knack reflecting those feelings back to the audience.
What do you think were some of the best episodes of The Twilight Zone? Do you agree with this list? Or do you think we forgot something? Let us know in the comments below!