I have two all-time favorite TV shows and one of them is The Twilight Zone. Every week, Rod Serling and his writers presented us with a new tale of the fantastic and/or horrific, but the common theme among them all was that they all had something to say about the human condition. This wonderful series was one of the first science fiction properties to elevate the genre above simple escapism. Serling, Charles Beaumont, and Richard Matheson are three of my favorite writers thanks to their work on this show. (By complete coincidence, it turns out each of them wrote exactly one episode in the following top three list.)
A member of my writing group recently shared with us the first paragraph of the prologue for her current project and it sounded to me like something Rod Serling would have said to introduce that week’s tale. This got me to thinking of my all-time favorite Twilight Zone episodes.
A classic with no dialogue at all until the very end, which is, of course, part of the kicker. Anytime I ride The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disneyland, I always look at the statue of the invader in the hotel lobby scene and declare, “It’s a race of giants!”
“The Howling Man”
Are the monks inside an isolated European castle insane, or do they really hold the devil himself captive within their walls?
“Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?”
This one has often had a comedic feel to me, especially with its off-the-wall ending. But before that, it is a classic mystery with a SF twist. You know you’re in for a treat as soon as the bus driver counts the seven patrons in the diner and declares that there were only six passengers on the bus.
Honorable mentions: “Time Enough at Last,” “It’s a Good Life,” “To Serve Man,” and “Nothing in the Dark.”
Are you a Twilight Zone fan? Have your own favorites, or agree or disagree with mine? Let me know in the comments.