A series that is well beloved and over time seems to be better and better is the classic CBS series, The Twilight Zone, created by Rod Serling. It was almost too ambitious to try to do something like a favorite episode from each season or limiting down what to do. So for this series, I’ll be going season by season, which has about 22-24 episodes. This will just be based around the original run of the series, not the reboot with Jordan Peele or the feature film which one of these days, I gotta talk about that movie.
Perhaps if things go well with this post, I might venture out to do other series such as Tales from the Darkside, Tales from the Crypt, etc. Let’s break down my favorites of season!
These will have spoilers!
– WALKING DISTANCE (1959)
– ELEGY (1960)
– THE FEVER (1960)
– THIRD FROM THE SUN (1960)
– ESCAPE CLAUSE (1959)
7. Where is Everybody? (1959) – The first episode of the series, this episode shows what can happen when you are isolated and your mind’s coping with that kind of loneliness. The episode is led by one actor and his… overwhelming emotional, mental and physical journey of trying to find ANYONE to have some kind of contact with. And of course, the ending is quite surprising if you’ve never seen it but it can be quite obvious too for today’s audience. Not from 1959 who probably wasn’t thinking too big!
6. Time Enough at Last (1959) – Another classic and iconic and often parodied episode. What would you do that to get some peace in quiet that inadvertently saved your life after the world ends? That is what happens in this episode, a bookish man who loves to read books, be invested in books is looking for time alone and away from people. The world ends and he is forced to look around and survive as long as he has his precious books… or does he?
5. And When the Sky was Opened (1959) – Based on the short story “Disappearing Act”, this episode is about three surviving astronauts recovering but something is incredibly wrong. And the crazy part is that there is no resolution, things are very bleak at the end. I don’t want to particularly spoil this one because even though it’s a favorite of mine, I can guarantee most people wouldn’t think about this episode.
4. Mirror Image (1960) – Vera Miles stars in this episode all about doppelgangers. I’m sure we know about doppelgangers but in case you don’t, they are nothing like a twin or even a clone. They are more supernatural based and if you see yours, bad things can/will happen to you. I mean, you might even get replaced… the episode takes place in one location, a bus station, as a woman (Miles) is awaiting for her scheduled time. What happens are little inklings that something is wrong… a similar to almost exact suitcase, people mentioning that they just “saw” her and of course, the ending which… again, not gonna spoil this one’s ending.
3. The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street (1960) – Another famous episode straight from season one… it’s interesting at how many of the more famous episodes are from the first season. I guess it comes down to great storytelling and executing it well. The summary of the episode is quite simple: a power failure throughout a neighborhood causes suspicions of one of them (or more) being from outer space. Remember this is the 1960s, really the end of the 1950s where in horror and sci fi, it was about space. Or creatures coming from space; THEM, The Thing, The Blob, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Plan 9 from Outer Space. So this plot isn’t too far fetched from what was happening in the genre but also in real life, the race for space was happening as well. This episode is a great example of how man can destroy itself; by their own hands.
2. The After Hours (1960) – Another favorite is a woman returning to a department store, looking for a gift for her mother; a gold thimble. Throughout the episode, we notice something is off with the department store, the workers. There’s only 8 floors available in the store and yet, she has been up to the 9th, confronted by the one gift item she’s been looking for. The episode concludes with our lead character realizing that she is a mannequin from the department store and that it is her time to retreat from the real world and let someone take her place. The mannequins get 1 month to live among the humans but she was one day late, forgetting who and what she truly is.
1. The Hitchhiker (1960) – Out of these, this one genuinely creeps me out for many reasons. The big first is the idea of “death” following you. Our main character is traveling to visit her mother by car and yet she keeps finding and seeing a hitchhiker who constantly asks her if she’s going his way (are you going my way). The episode gets more and more tense until she is on the verge of a breakdown and she gets the notion that she is (spoiler alert) DEAD. Dead, like a ghost because somehow people saw and interacted with her? I’m more curious about that element than anything.
Next up, we’re gonna tackle S2 next week which… might be hard. More famous and well recognized episodes! What are some of your favorite episodes from S1 or overall from the series? Leave a comment, let me know!