Your weekly streaming pick has arrived! The Twilight Zone is one of the most infamous television series to ever grace the small screen. CBS brought the series back on their streaming platform. Helming the ship this time is Jordan Peele in the next phase of his skyrocketing career.
The Twilight Zone is an anthology series. Short stories that fall somewhere in science fiction, or science fiction adjacent. The stories consist of skewed reflections on our world and perceptions. There is often a lesson in morality or a warning involved, but not always. Sometimes it’s a twist that goes for the gut.
The concept of the show is one that can work in any year of any decade of any era. The stories are timeless and don’t rely on any crucial elements to be effective other than solid writing. There have been a couple attempts to reboot the show and capture that magic again over the years. These attempts were unsuccessful. The original run set the bar high.
The original series debuted on CBS October 2nd 1959 and ran for a staggering 156 episodes. These episodes never connected. Never had a sequel, and only rarely brought back the same actors. When they did, they didn’t play the same characters. A few episodes were remade for 1983’s Twilight Zone movie but even these fell a little short of the originals.
So where does a 2019 version stack up? Is the Twilight Zone still a viable property in a world with Black Mirror and Electric Dreams?
Currently streaming on CBS All Access
The newest iteration of the show is a worthy effort and a solid entry into the franchise. Being an anthology series some of the episodes didn’t work for me. The writers could lose the meaning. The episodes, or endings, could fall flat, or was far too heavy handed. The next episode would deliver a new experience with fresh talent, story, and ideas. The updates of some classic episodes don’t feel like remakes at all. They are nods to the spirit of the original series while bringing things into our modern times.
Speaking of nods, long time fans of the show will be happy with the respect given. Not an episode goes by without references and homages to the original series.
Jordan Peele built his name in comedy. In 2017 he made a horror movie called Get Out. Audiences were skeptical at first. Then they saw it. Get Out was another hit in a new genre. Good. In 2019, before Twilight Zone debuted, Peele created Us. Us was also a hit with audiences, despite being an absolute dumpster fire of a movie. Bad.
Many factors stifled my excitement for the rebooted series. CBS having their own app made it harder to watch. To further this problem, their app feels like Hulu year one with even more limits on content. Seeing Us terrified me. Not in the way it should have, but for the sake of the show. The Twilight Zone’s original run has, and will continue to be, one of my favorite shows of all time.
I did the week free trial on CBS All Access and got to watching. What a relief when I found that more of it works then doesn’t. They are doing spiritual remakes but are far from a cover band. Peele also does a nice job of taking over as The Narrator from the great Rod Serling.
I try to keep the streaming picks to the bigger apps. The world of entertainment is dividing into so many apps you have to chase what’s good. Luckily the week free trial gives you more than enough time to catch up. You could also wait for the season to end and spend the 6 bucks to digest them all. They aren’t perfect, but it’s worth it.