The Twilight Zone Hall of Fame

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Takoma will learn that lesson soon as she's about to enter the Twilight Zone.
Speaking of, are there more comforting words than the ones in the Twilight Zone intro? Every time I watch it, I should be nervous, scared, etc. about what's to come, but it puts me in a relaxed, euphoric state. It's a feeling I'd describe as the distilled essence of "dis gon' be good."





Dreams for Sale, Season 1, Episode 2b, 1985

A woman (Meg Foster) is on a lovely picnic with her husband (David Hayward) when thing suddenly go . . . wrong. Her husband begins repeating himself and items move from place to place.

This is a short, under-10-minute episode, and it's very by the numbers. Because of the short run time, we don't get to know the characters at all. I also thought that the "twist" was very obvious, and it didn't do much to step outside of the limits of the plot.

Foster is good as the woman who comes to in some sort of factory, distressed and disoriented as a worker casually knocks on the machine holding her and then puts her back into her artificial dream. For me, the most effective moment of the episode was just the contrast between her growing panic and his nonplussed manner as he puts her back into her fantasy world.




Oh, whoops. I assumed you reviewed all three of them at the same time. I take it you're going to rank the 1985 episode as one episode at the end, not three separate episodes.

Also, the last nomination actually has three parts to it: Wordplay, Dreams for Sale, and Chameleon, so it looks like you have the final two parts of it to review.
I'm reviewing and ranking Wordplay, Dreams for Sale, and Chameleon separately, even though I realize that technically Wordplay and Dreams for Sale are the same episode. They are written and directed by different people, so it doesn't seem right to lump them together.



Speaking of, are there more comforting words than the ones in the Twilight Zone intro? Every time I watch it, I should be nervous, scared, etc. about what's to come, but it puts me in a relaxed, euphoric state. It's a feeling I'd describe as the distilled essence of "dis gon' be good."
I think it's a combo of Serling's comforting voice and the up-front explanation that it isn't real.



I'm reviewing and ranking Wordplay, Dreams for Sale, and Chameleon separately, even though I realize that technically Wordplay and Dreams for Sale are the same episode. They are written and directed by different people, so it doesn't seem right to lump them together.
That would then mean that PHOENIX would have four nominations in this Hall, while the rest of us would have only two. I'm not sure if that's fair, unless everyone else is cool with it.





Chameleon, Season 1, Episode 2c, 1985

During an outer space mission, an astronaut reports seeing a flash of light near the space shuttle. On returning to Earth, two technicians are examining a faulty camera on the shuttle when one of the men disappears in a flash of purple light. A group of scientists, led by Curt Lockridge (Terry O'Quinn) isolates the camera, which soon reveals itself to be a shapeshifting alien creature. But what, exactly, does it want . . .

It's interesting to watch this after Wordplay, because this is another episode where there isn't so much any kind of twist as there is us watching something odd happen.

I liked this episode, and it is capably led by O'Quinn, conveying that kind of mix of fear and awe of a scientist encountering something new and potentially deadly. Probably the strongest part of the episode is a bizarre sequence where the creature shifts between different personas, at time making nonsensical requests.

This is, however, one of those stories where the scientists behave in ways that are at times just so stupid. Despite knowing that physical contact with the creature is how one man was killed/absorbed, a scientist goes into the room with it and touches it with his bare hands! I also thought that a moment in the episode where the creature turns into a nuclear bomb came off more silly than scary. Don't get me wrong, watching O'Quinn trying to convince a bomb not to explode gave me flashbacks to the best parts of Dark Star, but in a moment where the stakes should be at their peak, I found myself more inclined to giggle than gasp.

What this episode never quite gets its hands around is having its situation reveal anything powerful about its characters or the human condition. The ending monologue asks us to consider what Lockridge must feel having encountered a creature with vast scientific knowledge, and I kind of wish that idea has been incorporated more into the plot! For example, with Lockridge making a deal with the creature or knowingly violating protocol just to learn more about it. The episode is missing an emotional core, and the parallel between Lockridge and the creature--both driven by curiosity--isn't brought forward until the closing monologue.

I'll look forward to hearing others' thoughts on this one.




That would then mean that PHOENIX would have four nominations in this Hall, while the rest of us would have only two. I'm not sure if that's fair, unless everyone else is cool with it.
If it's only meant to count as one thing, then I will score it as an average of the ratings I gave each segment. I'm fine with however others want to do it.



If it's only meant to count as one thing, then I will score it as an average of the ratings I gave each segment. I'm fine with however others want to do it.
Idk, I'll see what the other people here think before I come to a decision.



That would then mean that PHOENIX would have four nominations in this Hall, while the rest of us would have only two. I'm not sure if that's fair, unless everyone else is cool with it.
Doesn't really matter to me, but I'd say count all three segments as 1.



Season 1 Episode 34: The After Hours

(SPOILER WARNING)

This was one of the first Twilight Zone episodes I remember watching and (I think) the first one which piqued my interest in the show. This is my third time watching the episode and it still holds up pretty well. Regardless of how it ends, I think it's one of the scariest episodes in the show. It starts off with a creepy premise with some various characters acting out of the ordinary and, after a shocking twist in the middle, keeps escalating. It keeps you wondering what the mannequins want with Marsha and where it's going to end up. Also, given how much horror the episode builds up throughout its runtime, revealing that the mannequins never intended to hurt Marsha at all is a bold choice that adds a lot to the episode. Seeing the mannequins go from threatening to friendly is quite pleasing to watch, especially for the ones Marsha interacted with the most in the first half. Overall, this episode is paced really well and has a terrific payoff. If I had to nitpick something though, I found it unbelievable for Marsha to be left inside the department store after it closed. Given that she woke up in an office (was she resting there all day?), I'm surprised that none of the employees walked in there throughout the day and noticed her. Since the episode has a jump cut from day to night, we don't ever learn the reason why she was left in there, which makes me suspect that the writers couldn't think of a believable way for her to remain in the store that long. Aside from the rough transition to the second half though, I think this is one of the best episodes in season 1.

Next Up: An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge



The After Hours isn't one of my favorites for re-watches, since it's one of those episodes that relies mostly on the big reveal at the end.
(But now that I typed that... I realize that's pretty much the premise of the majority of episodes)!

I love Anne Francis, though. What a beauty!




If I had to nitpick something though, I found it unbelievable for Marsha to be left inside the department store after it closed. Given that she woke up in an office (was she resting there all day?), I'm surprised that none of the employees walked in there throughout the day and noticed her. Since the episode has a jump cut from day to night, we don't ever learn the reason why she was left in there, which makes me suspect that the writers couldn't think of a believable way for her to remain in the store that long.
She faints really close to when the store is closing, and they put her in a small side office. The manager asks an employee to go wake Marsha up and help her leave, but the woman gets called away to help a customer. I don't think that the time jump is actually that big.




Time Enough At Last
Season 1 Episode 8

Now that's some nicely done set design! That destruction set reminds me of the actual photos of Hiroshima after the atomic bomb was dropped. No doubt that's where the set design was inspired from. For a weekly TV series on a tight budget, that set was very effective looking.

Time Enough At Last is one of three quintessential Twilight Zone episodes that springs to my mind whenever that show is mentioned. It's well made and a classic. What I don't like about it is actually necessary for the story to work...I don't like Jerry Lewis movies and I don't like Burgess Meredith's character here. But if his character wasn't such a caricature bordering on cartoonish buffoon then we would feel devastated by the bleak ending. As it is, he doesn't seem quite real but more like a character from a SNL skit, so the final blow then seems to be taken not too seriously.

One tip for those who wear glasses and expect an H bomb to be dropped soon: Get a laynard



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The After Hours isn't one of my favorites for re-watches, since it's one of those episodes that relies mostly on the big reveal at the end.
(But now that I typed that... I realize that's pretty much the premise of the majority of episodes)!

I love Anne Francis, though. What a beauty!


Yup! Anne Francis gets some bonus points from me



One tip for those who wear glasses and expect an H bomb to be dropped soon: Get a laynard
I mean, this is the moral of almost every episode of the show, isn't it?



I mean, this is the moral of almost every episode of the show, isn't it?
Ha, it could be!

You know I was going to write and say Burgess's character fell asleep on the tattered couch and dreamed of finding the library of books, then had a nightmare of breaking his glasses.




Time Enough At Last
Season 1 Episode 8

Now that's some nicely done set design! That destruction set reminds me of the actual photos of Hiroshima after the atomic bomb was dropped. No doubt that's where the set design was inspired from. For a weekly TV series on a tight budget, that set was very effective looking.

Time Enough At Last is one of three quintessential Twilight Zone episodes that springs to my mind whenever that show is mentioned. It's well made and a classic. What I don't like about it is actually necessary for the story to work...I don't like Jerry Lewis movies and I don't like Burgess Meredith's character here. But if his character wasn't such a caricature bordering on cartoonish buffoon then we would feel devastated by the bleak ending. As it is, he doesn't seem quite real but more like a character from a SNL skit, so the final blow then seems to be taken not too seriously.

One tip for those who wear glasses and expect an H bomb to be dropped soon: Get a laynard



I always fantasized that after the episode ended, Beamis might wander around and at some point maybe find a pharmacy or eyeglass store (which, granted, would be difficult if he was as badly far-sighted as he was near-sighted). But a store might at least have some undamaged reading glasses that he could use just to read his books. After all, he found a sporting goods store and a gun and ammo!



I always fantasized that after the episode ended, Beamis might wander around and at some point maybe find a pharmacy or eyeglass store (which, granted, would be difficult if he was as badly far-sighted as he was near-sighted). But a store might at least have some undamaged reading glasses that he could use just to read his books. After all, he found a sporting goods store and a gun and ammo!
I use to think that too, I almost every wrote that...like you said he found a gun, so maybe he could find some glasses.



Considering he is essentially blind without his glasses, I find it a question as to whether or not he'd even live. At the point that he finds both the gun and the library he'd wandered pretty far away from his little home base and the grocery store.



She faints really close to when the store is closing, and they put her in a small side office. The manager asks an employee to go wake Marsha up and help her leave, but the woman gets called away to help a customer. I don't think that the time jump is actually that big.
Okay, fair enough.