The Twilight Zone brings back Kennedy-era television


The twilight zone shows promise as it continues to grow on Netflix.

Kevin Hutchinson, Staff Writer

Though more than 60 years have elapsed since its first airing, The Twilight Zone remains immortalized as the original, inimitable sci-fi TV spectacular. 

The black-and-white realm of imagination, proudly advertised as something “as vast as space, and as timeless as infinity,” radically restructured the Kennedy-era television landscape. It surpassed plucky, thoughtless sitcoms with its unforgettable storytelling and intense, sometimes unbearable suspense while fully immersing viewers in its bizarre, distorted worlds.

In “It’s a Good Life,” perhaps the most memorable episode in the series, a nigh-omnipotent 6-year-old boy completely controls his Ohio town, using his thoughts to send objects — and people — to the “cornfield.” Other episodes, such as “Shadow Play,” “The Dummy,” and “Elegy,” induce horror for its own sake, while others — generally regarded as the best in the series — provide insightful commentary on social issues.

One such episode is “Eye of the Beholder,” a searing refutation of conformity and the unacceptable treatment of society’s “undesirables.” Another is “I Shot an Arrow Into the Air,” an exploration of humanity’s inherent ruthlessness, as exposed by desperate circumstances. 

“The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street,” indisputably the most potent of the series’ social allegories, displays the human tendency to distrust anyone, even a neighbor, when in dire straits. 

Due to this diversity of themes and the lack of any continuity — as the episodes are isolated stories — The Twilight Zone is unpredictable and can be watched in random order. However, the series is not to be absorbed casually; most episodes sit proverbially in viewers’ guts, leaving them to ponder existential themes presented in unforgettable metaphor. In this manner, the series offers noir escapism and philosophical depth at the same time. 

When Netflix disappoints with its tacky dramas and tired cliches, turn to the mysterious dimension that lies between “the pit of man’s fears, and the summit of his knowledge.” Turn to The Twilight Zone.