The real world not weird enough for you? Prepare for more tales of the strange, then, because The Twilight Zone is officially coming back! The original series ran from 1959 to 1964 on CBS thanks to Rod Serling, and it left its mark on pop culture in more ways than one!
The series was famous for being a series of unconnected short stories about strange tales or versions of alternate futures. They could also be pretty dark — an episode that still stands out involves a book lover being left alone as the last man on Earth, then breaking his glasses! And, of course, there were plenty of stories about robots, aliens, and anything else that played with the fears of the nation at the time.
The richness and variety of stories wasn’t an accident. Episodes of The Twilight Zone were written by people who either were or would go on to be famous authors in their own right — names like Ray Bradbury and Richard Matheson. There were a lot of famous faces on screen, too. William Shatner and George Takei both appeared in episodes, years before starring in the original Star Trek series!
We’re excited at the prospect of a new generation of writers and actors offer their takes on today’s culture, but there’s some kind of bad news, too. The Twilight Zone, won’t be coming to network TV or Netflix, and that means you might have to spend a bit more money to watch it.
The show will come to CBS All Access, the network’s own streaming service, sometime in the not-too-distant future. The service costs $6 per month with ads or $10 per month without ads, so it’s not an insignificant add to your entertainment budget. But, to their credit, they’re doing an OK job at reeling in promising shows — The Twilight Zone will join the better-than-was-feared Star Trek: Discovery, which has already been confirmed for a second season.
The Twilight Zone never completely faded into the aether. CBS brought the show back for a decent run from 1985 to 1989. Ratings weren’t as good as the first time, but there were no fewer soon-to-be-famous names involved! George R.R. Martin, who would go on to write the A Song of Ice and Fire series that Game of Thrones is based on, had some stories adapted for the show. Stephen King, Wes Craven, and Harlan Ellison were all involved as well, and much younger versions of Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, and Morgan Freeman all made acting appearances!
That revival had its ups and downs without the original creator, Rod Serling, involved. The 2002 revival was all down — you might vaguely remember that it came to UPN that year with Forest Whitaker as narrator. It was canceled after that first season, and we’ve got nothing since — even if the freaky futures of Black Mirror seem to be the natural successors to The Twilight Zone‘s legacy. We did hear something last year about an interactive video game-like experience involving gaming industry vet Ken Levine, but apparently that came to nothing.
So, who’s in charge of this one? CBS has handed over the reins to Monkeypaw Productions, the production house of Jordan Peele! We’re super excited about the choice — after making it big as the Peele half of the Key & Peele comedy duo, Peele wrote and directed Get Out, which was probably the best horror film of the year.
He’ll be joined by Marco Ramirez, who will be the showrunner. Ramirez recently worked on The Defenders for Netflix and Marvel, so we’re really excited to see where this partnership goes! The two of them will work with Simon Kinberg on the first episode, but who knows where it will go from there? Here’s hoping it stays true to the originals in the best possible way — finding fresh writers and actors looking for their first big breaks! Oh, and also totally creeping us out. That too.