Twilight Zone

101Science Fiction16

Enter the Twilight Zone again

26 March 2021
It is a place that both reflects and questions society.
The Twilight Zone s2 Rod Serling Jordan Peele article

"There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone."

This monologue, or variations thereof, sets the tone of each episode of the show. It can leave one confused and comforted at the same time, feeling both fear and yearning. The result of that juxtaposition? Eerily disconcerting, prescient, and highly thought-provoking. And let’s face it, that seems to be the point of The Twilight Zone.

Much like other sci-fi cult classics – Doctor Who and The X-Files, to name a few – The Twilight Zone has been rebooted and remains, to this day, universally appealing across generations. At the helm before was Rod Serling, who wrote and produced much of the show, which started airing in 1959 and ended in 1964. He played the suit-wearing narrator reciting the above monologue as well as somewhat ominously narrating each episode. It set the entire mood and tone of the standalone episodes. He is the common thread through which the showed weaved along.

This time, that honour goes to the talented executive producer of the show, Jordan Peele, the brains behind hits such as Get Out and Us. As a nod to the past, Peele also wears a suit and uses an emotionless flat monotone with dramatic pauses. Hey, if it worked then, it definitely still works today.

Yet Peele admits to Daniel Holloway, Variety’s executive TV editor that he was initially reluctant to fill Serling’s big shoes. “I was terrified,” Peele tells Holloway during an interview with the writer. “Why would I ever jump into the most established, pristine shoes in all of the genre? I could rip Twilight Zone off and call it something different and not be compared to Rod Serling. So I stepped away from it. And then several months later I got another call.”

That call was from fellow Twilight Zone executive producer Simon Kinberg and after meeting him, Peele says he realised it was an opportunity to actually continue Serling’s mission. “If we approach it without ego and sort of bow to Serling, that will hopefully suffice for our fellow Twilight Zone fans but also bring back a show that I think is needed right now. Because it’s a show that has always helped us look at ourselves, hold a mirror up to society.”

So synonymous has the show become with bizarre events, that its name is often used as a general description for the curious and uncanny that takes place in our everyday world. The empty streets during the lockdown because of the Covid-19 pandemic? That felt like being in the Twilight Zone. Waiting in queues to buy a loaf of bread because of social distancing? Also the Twilight Zone. See?

Like its predecessor, the show’s themes involve fear of the unknown, prejudice, the dangers of ever advancing technology, space adventures, everyday horrors, and the supernatural. The anthology of episodes can each be watched on its own making it easier to consume the bite-sized chunks.

It is time leap head first into The Twilight Zone.

Are you excited for the second season of this timeless reboot? Let us know on social media. Join the conversation on Twitter (@MNet),  Instagram (@mnettv), and Facebook (@MNet). Watch The Twilight Zone from 20 April at 22:30 (CAT).  

Sources: Variety and The Washington Post 
Featured images: Getty