May 11th is Twilight Zone Day. No one knows why 5/11’s the date to celebrate the sci-fi mindtrip series, which seems to be very fitting. The show premiered in October 1959 and ran for five years before the creation of two revival series: one that ran for several seasons on CBS and in syndication in the 1980s, and another series that ran on UPN from 2002 to 2003. It also lead to a feature film, a radio series, a comic book, a magazine and various other spin-offs that spanned five decades. We celebrate with a list of its top 15 episodes. Prepare to enter… THE TWILIGHT ZONE!
“It’s A Good Life”
stars Billy Mumy who who was the Haley Joel Osment (“I see dead people”) of the day. It’s a creepy story about a young boy and his very scary powers (check out the hot, young Cloris Leachman!).
“Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”
long before he was the calm, cool and collected Capt. Kirk, William Shatner was the nervous and terrified passenger on this plane ride from hell.
“Time Enough At Last”
Burgress Meredith plays a bank teller who just wants to be alone with his books. Unfortunately he gets just what he wishes for.
“A Stop at Willoughby”
Tired of his miserable job and wife, a businessman starts dreaming on the train each night about an old, idyllic town called Willoughby. Soon he has to know whether the town is real and fancies the thought of living there.
“Eye of the Beholder”
A young woman lying in a hospital bed, her head wrapped in bandages, awaits the outcome of a surgical procedure in a last-ditch attempt to make her look “normal” (dig the cool way the episode is filmed!)
A frustrated father does battle with his stepdaughter’s talking doll who has some very bad vocabulary.
“The Hitch Hiker”
A young woman driving cross country becomes frantic when she keeps passing the same man on the side of the road hitching her for a ride.
“The Midnight Sun”
When the Earth falls out of orbit, two women try to cope with increasingly oppressive heat in a nearly abandoned city.
A wealthy relative is dying and invites his greedy heirs to a Mardi Gras party where they must wear the masks he specially had made for them or else be cut off from their inheritance. (You ain’t never seen a Mardi Gras like this before!)
A woman is treated badly by some odd salespeople on an otherwise empty department store floor. After watching this, you and your girlfriend may never want to go shopping again!
While visiting his boyhood hometown, a middle-aged executive finds himself in the past. Lost creator and Star Trek director J. J. Abrams claimed the episode as his favorite, saying, “[The episode] is a beautiful demonstration of the burden of adulthood.” The story was even revived in the form of a graphic novel.
“To Serve Man”
The story is based on the short story “To Serve Man,” written by Damon Knight. The title is a play on the verb to serve, which has the dual meanings of “to assist” and “to provide as a meal.” The episode is one of the few instances in the series wherein the actor breaks the fourth wall and addresses the viewing audience at the episode’s end. Time Magazine claims this episode is the third best of the entire series. It’s been parodied or spoofed in The Simpsons, Futurama, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Married…With Children and many more.
An old woman living alone in a very rustic cabin in the middle of nowhere battles small “invaders”. It’s only at the end that we see just who the intruders really are.
“The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street”
This episode is often presented to teach children about the dangers of prejudice and hysteria. After an alleged meteor crash causes an entire neighborhood to lose its power, the residents on lose their minds as they suspect each other of being aliens. It was also influential to Stephen King’s The Mist, and was referenced in Angel and Family Guy.
“Nick of Time”
After their car breaks down, two men hit up a diner where they ask a fortune teller a bunch of questions. One of the men becomes consumed with the machine until his lady friend breaks him of his spell.
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