Can a new 'Twilight Zone' take us to a dimension not of sight and sound but of the mind?

Are we ready for another Twilight Zone movie? Well, ready or not, one is in the works. I'd vastly prefer an anthology-style TV series, particularly one that covered as much ground as The Twilight Zone did, but I'm actually optimistic about a feature's potential because I think our politics are rich for interpretation — and The Twilight Zone was a profoundly political show.

It might be remembered as more of a sci-fi series, but beneath the aliens-and-weird-stuff exterior, The Twilight Zone metabolized national fears about Communism, about spying and a culture of suspicion — how many episodes involved invasions and such, or small towns turning against themselves? The show also dealt with then-new levels of commercialism and consumption — think of all the salesman-oriented episodes. Obviously, not every installment was an allegory, but hopefully the new film will pull from the series' tradition of political storytelling.

As long as we're talking TZ, I'm throwing this out there: In the last few weeks, this show has come up a lot with my friends, and everyone has a favorite episode or theme: I'm drawn to the ones about the agony of experiencing time — "Walking Distance" is a particular fave — while others prefer the what's-wrong-with-these-machines episodes, or all the something-predicts-the-future stories. What about you, PopWatchers? Do you have a favorite Twilight Zone subset, and do you think it could translate to a contemporary movie?

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  • KOZ

    I hope this turns out good.

  • josher

    Only if you can bring Rod Serling back from the dead so he can write the screenplay.

  • StuartW

    Always enjoyed the ones that dealt with relationships, either beautiful – “In Praise Of Pip” – or ugly – “The Masks”.

  • ray

    “Walking Distance” is def. my fave one to watch during the 4th of July marathon. Makes you just want to step back and enjoy summer.

  • paige

    i would rather a movie than a t.v. show… remember the one that forest whitaker hosted???

  • jb

    Does “starring Burgess Meredith” count as a subset?

  • jc

    2 favorites always come to mind…”Eye of the Beholder” and “Time Enough at Last.” Classics!

  • Tash C

    My favorite theme will always be when people turn on each other and then realize the real threat is from within rather than from outside. The best of all of those shows is “the Monsters are Due on Maple Street.”

  • mscisluv

    My favorite episode ever is “How to Serve Man” – it’s a cookbook!

  • The Dude

    Tash C:
    Good call on “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street.” Growing up, this episode’s telecast was actually included in our 6th-grade Literature books, and it was the only thing included that wasn’t either a book or a play. I think that shows just how strong of a story that particular episode was. Plus it was mad creepy!

  • Ryan

    I’m not sure if I have a favorite type, I just love the ones that creep me out. Maybe the ones that have a shocking twist at the end? Some of my favorites are Living Doll, Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, The Invaders, Of Late I Think of Cliffordville, The Hitchhiker, and It’s a Good Life. Walking Distance, To Serve Man, and Maple Street are all classics too. It was a great show and its social commentary was brilliant.

  • Benst

    The orignal Twilight Zone 1959 – 1964 tv show was so great, that it was probably the series that was started the 24 marathon showing of certain programs. A local NYC tv network would broadcast the shows for 24 hours straight on New Year’s Day. It was so popular that now other networks have marathon showing of tv shows and movies, such as TBS 24 hour showing of A Christmas Story on Dec. 24-25. My favorite epsiode is “Eye of the Beholder”. The first movie was a tragedy, resulting in the death of Vic Morrow and the two children. I am not thrilled about the idea of a second feature film. Without Rod Serling I doubt if it would be very good. Just as the other series, 1985 – 1989 & 2002 – 2003 were forgettable.

    • Brett

      I dispute that the 1985-1989 series was “forgettable.” There were several stories during that run that hold up well and are actually better than some of the episodes from the original run.

  • wg

    I guess I’m partial to the individualist episodes – my fave ep is “Number 12 Looks Just Like You”. But I suppose I like the escapist stories as well such as “A Stop At Willoughby”. I’m still haunted though by lost possibilities eps such as “The Odyssey of Flight 33″ and “Spur of the Moment”.

  • James

    Two favorites for me are “Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room” (sometimes there’s no adversary more daunting than yourself) and “The Purple Testament” (the last thing a soldier needs in combat is the ability to know who’s going to survive a mission and who isn’t).

  • Hollywoodaholic

    Twilight Zone has been the Aesop’s fables for our generation and beyond (my 12-year old is now hooked); lessons in morality, judgement and perspective dressed up in pure entertainment and great writing. A one story feature would be too ponderous to work the same; the quick twist or turnaround was everything to the show. And speaking of dressed up – count Anne Francis as a mannequin in “The After Hours” as one of my favorites.

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