The Twilight Zone Hall of Fame

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Unfortunately the deadline for joining this HoF has already passed. You'll have to ask @SpelingError if you can still join.

If not, you are still welcome to watch the nominated episodes and participate in the chat about the episodes, and even recommend ones that weren't nominated if you'd like to, (but they wouldn't be required watching). You just wouldn't be able to submit a ranked list after watching the episodes.
I think it's a little late for someone else to join, but if anyone here still wants to watch the episodes and participate in the discussion here, they're welcome to do so.



I thought of another one I just don't like. "The Jungle."
After returning home from a trip to Africa and apparently due to a curse by a witch doctor, a guy spends a half hour hearing animal noises wherever he goes. He's finally attacked by a lion in his hotel room.

I find this episode not only boring, but down right annoying.
Silly though it is, I actually do like this episode.

*ring ring*
"Hello? Who is it?!"
*JUNGLE NOISES!!!!*

Normally, nature and wildlife don't really have a way to fight back against human destruction and exploitation, so I see it as a fantasy "what if," kind of akin to Long Weekend.




The Invaders
Season 2 Episode 15

Major bonus points for Agnes Moorehead...There are actors and then there are actors and then there's Agnes Moorehead!

Most of my experience watching Agnes was on TV's Bewitched where she created a wonderfully colorful and memorable character in Endora. I've seen her in smaller movie roles too. But it's here in The Invaders that her theatrical stage training shines through. There's lot of actors who have dynamic personalities but could never convey through contorted body language & anguished facial expressions what Agnes was able to relay so effortlessly.

I've seen this episode enough times that the twist, well done as it is, no longer holds interest for me...Instead I was riveted just by watching Agnes Moorhead's portrayal of a lone woman fighting off tiny invaders. I'll ends this by saying I loved the setting and set design. Each inch of the primitive dwelling oozed iron age primitiveness...Kudos to whoever decided Agnes should never utter a single word, that was brilliant.

One of my favorite Twilight Zones.

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Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?
Season 2 Episode 28

I might be tempted to compare this to The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street. Both episodes have a very similar theme: suspicion that someone might be something they are not. They might be something alien and threatening.

If I did compare the two episodes, I might deem this one second tier...but that would be unfair as this episode is presented in a much different light than the aforementioned '...Maple Street'. The tone here is light, not threatening and comical at times...Jack Elam gets a turn at playing a screwball and does so with much vigor. Even the lighting of the set is bright and without lurking shadows. So comparing the two episodes isn't really a fair metric, as the tones are diametrically opposed. Though I suppose both episodes are about real aliens taking over Earth, and that continuing Twilight Zone theme must have represented American's fear at the time of being taken over by the Soviet Union and Communism.

Fun episode.



"The Encounter" CONTAINS SPOILERS

I don't think I've seen a bottle episode I haven't liked, and this one is no exception. Can it be considered a bottle episode if it's an anthology series? I don't know, but it has the qualities of my favorite ones: an unescapable and confined space, a dilemma requiring cooperation to overcome, and speaking of confined spaces, performances that prove the best acting occurs in them. I believe the episode succeeds on all of these fronts. The dilemma is clearly about guilt, with Fenton's resulting from killing an unarmed soldier and the blame festering so much that he's become unemployable and a danger to his family. Arthur's, on the other hand, made him so ashamed of his heritage that he took on his new moniker and claimed to only speak English. How quickly they showed their true colors upon their unfortunate encounter, however, expertly demonstrates how guilt becomes more and not less intense the more you stamp it down. Regardless, is that all that's going on here? Is this also a condemnation of the expectation for men to hide their feelings instead of being open about them? Possibly, and even though the second bottle episode rule is clearly broken here that a resolution didn't really occur, I don't think the episode could have asked these questions any better, not to mention so explosively, otherwise. I also love the other lingering question that remains: would whoever or whatever locked the door have opened it if the two men had come to terms with one another instead? Oh, and it's nice to see George Takei in a non-Star Trek role for a change. As much as I like Sulu, it's just as nice to see him in a different kind of role.



"The Encounter" CONTAINS SPOILERS

How quickly they showed their true colors upon their unfortunate encounter, however, expertly demonstrates how guilt becomes more and not less intense the more you stamp it down.
I continue to grapple a bit with the way that the episode uses Arthur (a Japanese-American who was 4 when the war happened) as a surrogate for a Japanese soldier. As if it's somehow instinctive for him to pick up the sword which seems to kind of imply that he's not really American. I was much more taken with the idea of this pathological need to distance himself from his heritage out of a sense of vicarious guilt, but that all gets muddied with the reveals at the end of the episode.

Regardless, is that all that's going on here? Is this also a condemnation of the expectation for men to hide their feelings instead of being open about them?
Yeah, I kind of love that ultimately, the guy just wanted a buddy to drink a beer with and talk about losing his job and having problems with his wife, but had to create this very convoluted way of "bonding" instead.




I continue to grapple a bit with the way that the episode uses Arthur (a Japanese-American who was 4 when the war happened) as a surrogate for a Japanese soldier. As if it's somehow instinctive for him to pick up the sword which seems to kind of imply that he's not really American. I was much more taken with the idea of this pathological need to distance himself from his heritage out of a sense of vicarious guilt, but that all gets muddied with the reveals at the end of the episode.
It is a bit problematic that Arthur apparently has "samurai genes." It's no wonder that the episode wasn't rerun very often after it premiered and that is probably the reason why. I too repeatedly told myself "it's because of his guilt" but it still left a bad taste in my mouth.
One of the best recent SNL sketches.The "Marvel? Marvel" part especially rings true since that's how my father-in-law almost always breaks the ice with me!



It is a bit problematic that Arthur apparently has "samurai genes." It's no wonder that the episode wasn't rerun very often after it premiered and that is probably the reason why. I too repeatedly told myself "it's because of his guilt" but it still left a bad taste in my mouth.
I think that it's fine for him to feel guilty, even guilt by association. And that's even before the (a bit too much, in my opinion) reveal about the father. Guilt doesn't always have to be rational.

I think that they could have taken it in a different direction. Have Arthur feel both guilt by association and anger (which we see in the first third!!!!) about the bigotry that he faces as a Japanese-American. It's when they try to bridge Arthur's feelings (as an American who is treated as an other) to an actual Japanese officer that it gets weird. Like you say, the implication that it's "in his blood" to even know how to use a sword is odd.

I didn't care for them equating the two men when one of them is an actual murderer and the other is someone who was 4 years old when a parent made a treacherous choice.

With the inscription on the sword, I thought it was going to be more explicit that Arthur would be possessed by the dead Japanese officer, but instead it was more like he was expressing his own pent-up feelings.

I will give the episode credit for having one of the stronger opening acts. The tension as the two men arrive together in the attic, all of the Japanese artifacts up there like a weird little museum, and the little aggressions (like calling Arthur "boy").

One of the best recent SNL sketches.The "Marvel? Marvel" part especially rings true since that's how my father-in-law almost always breaks the ice with me!
I have a few female friends who are on the other side of this dynamic, LOL.



Season 1 Episode 11: And When the Sky Was Opened

This is definitely among the scariest episodes in the show. It finds the right balance of ambiguity in order to send chills down your spine by refusing to provide a direct explanation of what goes on in the episode. It instead has the astronauts ominously guess that someone or something mistakenly let them come back to Earth, meaning they may be at the mercy of whatever is happening to them. I also found the character arcs of the three astronauts quite effective as their descents into madness and terror over "being next" is really well-done. Since the three of them are never on the same page in terms of their arcs, they aren't able to support or believe each other until it's too late. Their arcs are complimented by the overall strong acting across the board. I also found some of the visuals creepy, like how the newspaper headline of the astronauts surviving the crash changed a handful of times throughout the episode. It was a good indicator of how the situation kept growing worse and worse. Finally, the ending stuck with me for a while, given how much tension the episode builds up throughout its runtime. Overall, I'm really glad this episode was nominated as I didn't remember it that well prior to this HoF. It's now among my favorite episodes in the show.

Next Up: The Encounter



Season 1 Episode 11: And When the Sky Was Opened

This is definitely among the scariest episodes in the show.
Generally speaking, the idea that something is happening to you that either (1) other people can't see or (2) don't understand is terrifying. There's a good reason it's a premise that's frequently mined for horror films and it's executed so well in this episode.



rbrayer's Avatar
Registered User
I think it's a little late for someone else to join, but if anyone here still wants to watch the episodes and participate in the discussion here, they're welcome to do so.
Oops. I misread the 1-22 deadline as the nom deadline. My mistake! Oh well.



Allaby's Avatar
Guy who likes movies
Season 1 Episode 34: The After Hours
(spoilers)

A woman is in a department store looking to buy a gift for her mother. She is taken to the 9th floor and that is when things get strange. The floor is empty with no merchandise at all and one lone sales woman, who acts in an odd way. Things get ever more peculiar when the woman is told by the manager that there is no 9th floor! This is an eerie and fun episode with a good performance from Anne Francis. It's interesting and enjoyable (for regular people and for mannequins!)



Allaby's Avatar
Guy who likes movies
Season 5 Episode 22: An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge
(spoilers)

A unique episode as it was not made specifically for the show, but was an award winning French short film. A prisoner condemned to die by hanging appears to escape and makes an effort to avoid his captors and get back to his family. But all is not as it appears to be. This is beautifully filmed with some great shots. The use of very little dialogue is effective and the score, especially the drums, was really well done. Excellent performance by Roger Jacquet. The twist ending works really well here.





A Stop at Willoughby


Before Sterling made The Twilight Zone he also worked on a show called Playhouse 90...which sadly never got a full DVD/streaming/syndication release. Minus the end twist this was basically what Playhouse 90 episode looked like. The episode follows a disillusioned ad exec who dreams of a simpler life during his commute. Each time he falls asleep he gets closer and closer to Willoughby.


This was basically a showcase performance from James Daly and while it's good when I invest in a Twilight Zone episode it really comes down to twists and set design. This one we get an 1880's train set which is less than ideal. Some episodes you get a solid setup but not a great payoff. I wonder if this would have been better as a season four hour long episode.



Season 5 Episode 22: An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge
(spoilers)

The twist ending works really well here.
Were you at all
WARNING: spoilers below
surprised that it was a dying fantasy? I thought that the part where he sort of swoons and has the vision of the wife before snapping back to reality made it kind of obvious. Or do you mean that the impact of the reveal is just very strong, even if you can see it coming?



Allaby's Avatar
Guy who likes movies
Were you at all
WARNING: spoilers below
surprised that it was a dying fantasy? I thought that the part where he sort of swoons and has the vision of the wife before snapping back to reality made it kind of obvious. Or do you mean that the impact of the reveal is just very strong, even if you can see it coming?
I wasn't sure what the ending would be, so I was a little surprised. I do think that the impact is strong and effective, even if you did see that ending coming.



I wasn't sure what the ending would be, so I was a little surprised. I do think that the impact is strong and effective, even if you did see that ending coming.
Agreed.

Just curious if others found it a surprise.



Season 1 Episode 2: Wordplay/Dreams For Sale/Chameleon (1985 Revival)

SPOILERS!!!

Wordplay - I like Robert Klein, but this episode didn't really work for me. There was no cause, and no resolution. Just a lot of confusion. Even as it got worse, nobody around him seemed to notice that he couldn't understand anyone, and that they couldn't understand him. The concept was a good idea, but it just didn't play out well for me because there was no rhyme or reason to it. Why did the words change for everyone else, but not for him? It just felt like something was missing. However, I did like the ending, with him using his son's book to try to learn the new words.

Dreams For Sale - This one was interesting. The dreams felt like reality, but the reality was worse, so she tried to escape into her dreams, and she ended up staying there forever. If you're going to get stuck in a "Twilight Zone", this is one of the better ones to get stuck in. At least she got a happy ending. (On a different note, Meg Foster has strange eyes that seem to give the episode a bit of a weird vibe.)

Chameleon - This one was probably the best of the three segments. It's nice to see an alien story where the aliens aren't just murderous invaders. They're just curious, just like humans are. I felt the confusion of the scientists as they were trying to figure out what was going on, and then the tension when the situation became dangerous. And it brings up an interesting question. If you were Lockridge, and he made you that offer, would you have gone with him?

Overall, this episode was okay, but the original series episodes all had a unique kind of charm to them. They had a moment in the episode where you realized something, and your brain just said "Oh wow! I didn't see that coming.", but these episodes don't have that. They're just missing something.
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Season 1: Episode 2: One for the Angels

SPOILERS!

Great episode. I love watching Mr. Death change from being overly confident at the beginning, to panicking when he realizes that he missed his deadline. I also love the moment when Mr. Bookman realizes the consequences of his decision, and tries to change his mind and go with Mr. Death.

It might have been better if Mr. Death strategically picked Maggie, knowing that Bookman would eventually go with him, but it didn't seem like it was intentional that he picked her. She seemed to be just a random pick because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Terrific acting by both Ed Wynn and Murray Hamilton.



Season 1: Episode 5: Walking Distance

SPOILERS!

Another great episode. The moment when Martin sees the boy carving on the gazebo, and realizes who it is, and where he is was done so well. I love the conversation that his father has with him after he realizes who Martin really is and when he's from, about not looking back at the past, and living his life.

But at the beginning, when Martin gives the soda jerk a $1 tip, why doesn't he notice that the money is wrong? Wouldn't he think that money from the future is counterfeit? We know that it's from the future because Martin's father even mentions that the dates on the money haven't happened yet.

Great performance by Gig Young, and nice cameo by little Ronnie Howard.