The new season of Stranger Things dropped on Netflix on the Fourth of July. If you’re anything like me, you’ve already binged it all. Now, it’s a holiday weekend, and you need something new to watch. Are you in the mood for something eerie, spooky, and ethereal? Are you looking to scratch that Stranger Things itch? Well then I’ve got a recommendation to you: The Twilight Zone.
Now, I am probably not introducing you conceptually to the idea of The Twilight Zone. It’s an iconic early TV show. Rod Serling was a random dude who chainsmoked, but he became one of the faces of television because he wrote so many episodes of the show and introduced the episodes. They made a ride based on it at Disney World! That being said, the original iteration of The Twilight Zone, the one I’m talking about, aired from 1959 through 1964. It’s an old show. Maybe you haven’t given it a shot because you figured it was dated. Or perhaps you were daunted by the fact there are over 150 episodes of the show. Do not worry, and do not be daunted, I’m here to help.
For starters, The Twilight Zone definitely holds up…for the most part. The writing was sharp. Some of the stories are clever and intricately pieced together. Now, are some of the moralistic and a little obvious? Do you see some of the twists coming from a mile away? Sure, though part of that is because of the influence from this show that you’ve seen in the ensuing years. You just have to remind yourself how innovative The Twilight Zone was at the time. And again, a lot of the stories are still just straight-up good.
It’s a mix of science fiction and horror, maybe you would call it speculative fiction. Sometimes it’s funny. Sometimes it’s terrifying. All of it is supposed to take your view of the world as you know it and shake it up a bit. You’ll see a lot of actors that you will probably recognize. So many of them are staged like plays. That helps them stand up to time a bit, I feel. Here is one example of an episode, to give you a little taste, without spoiling the twist. There’s a ventriloquist. He says his dummy is alive. He’s also an alcoholic dealing with PTSD. People don’t believe him, and he’s not even sure he can believe himself, but he’s desperate, and he needs the gig, so he keeps pressing on. It’s gripping (also, the dummy looks horrifying).
Here’s another good thing about an ensemble show, especially one that’s available to stream on Netflix: You can pick and choose which episodes you want to watch! Don’t be daunted, because you don’t have to watch them all. Just look at the episode synopsis Netflix provides you, and if it sounds interesting, give it a watch. If it doesn’t, skip it! You won’t miss anything, because the episodes aren’t linked together at all.
This weekend, it’s time to enter another dimension. It’s time to enter The Twilight Zone.