The Twilight Zone

1959, TV Show


Sopranos: Seeking a Singing Fat Lady

James Gandolfini in The Sopranos by Craig Blankenhorn/HBO

I’m sure I’m not the only person who got a phone call shortly after The Sopranos was over, with someone on the other end wondering frantically if their TV had gone out at the crucial final moment of the final episode. Because surely it didn’t just go to black. And I don’t mean fade to black. I mean, crash to black. To total black, including absolute silence as, after several elongated seconds, the credits began to roll, minus the usual music.When it’s over, it’s over, David Chase appears to be saying. No tidy resolution, no clever summation, except perhaps for A.J. parroting something he heard his old man say once: “Focus on the good times.” OK, let’s do that.Anything to take our mind off the fact that, for one last time, Chase has upended our expectations for where we think The Sopranos is going to go or how it’s going to end. Surely you didn’t think this show would settle for a conventional ending. Even so, an actual ending mi... read more

Lost: Who Were Those Pretty People?

As a happy distraction from our long national nightmare — make that bad joke — that is Sanjaya Malakar, can I just say that Lost blew me away Wednesday night? What an absolute treat of an episode, a clear sign that the show, after a stalled fall, is back in full throttle, back on its creative game and still more than capable of spinning a great, entertaining yarn.Weaving flashbacks that appeared to be posthumous but really weren't (more on that later) while providing clever new angles on classic Lost moments from previous seasons — including the immediate aftermath of the crash itself — this episode was also a welcome reminder that sometimes these producers really do seem to know what they're doing after all. We were silly, and unworthy, to have doubted them, don't you think? For all those times this season that we clucked and shook our heads whenever we spied the marginal beauties Nikki (Kiele Sanchez) and Paulo (Rodrigo Santoro), wondering (as Sawyer often sa... read more

I really enjoy your column; I ...

Question: I really enjoy your column; I read it every week! In light of recent episodes of Battlestar Galactica and your comment in your column about the practical impossibility of Katee Sackhoff (or any other member of the BSG cast in general) ever getting recognition for their work, I was wondering if you had any thoughts about the psychology of why there is such a huge prejudice against sci-fi/fantasy/horror TV, even when it is often the best stuff on TV. (Other than BSG, I'm thinking about Buffy and Angel, and, back in the day, the better Star Trek franchises.) Personally, I've always been a little disturbed by what I see as an unnaturally strong aversion to good sci fi (aka not Heroes — sorry, I tried, but it's just so ridiculously cheesy) on the part of many people. For instance, I know a family friend who became a fan of Star Trek: TNG (not a "going-to-conventions-every-week" fan, just a regular viewer) and whose wife subsequently forbid all sci-fi/fantasy TV shows and movies in the ... read more

September 26, 2006: Danes' Pains and Automobiles

No matter how many inn reservations Luke Danes made, no matter how much cool stuff he packed for a romantic honeymoon, no matter how long he stood there with those puppy-dog eyes begging for forgiveness, nothing called off his quickie wedding plans faster than Lorelai?s one line: ?I slept with Christopher.? Even I was equally blindsided by her flat, emotionless admission. But that?s probably because I was watching the entire episode on the edge of my couch, judging every line, analyzing every shot, hoping our girls would be handled with care by new show-runner David Rosenthal. But when the screen went dark, and the credits flashed, my eyes immediately welled up. (Yeah, yeah, I?m a big softie. You guys knew that already.) But you know what? Those tears were really, really good news. The show is going to be OK. Actually, it?s going to be way, way better than OK. David got it down right out of the gate! The real Lorelai never minced words when she was hurting, so of course she was goin... read more

Lost Boss Tackles Star Trek Enterprise

J.J. Abrams (inset) has "incredible" plans for Star Trek.

J.J. Abrams, the man behind Lost, Alias and Mission: Impossible III, is about to add another sci-fi classic to his résumé. Paramount recently handed the 40-year-old writer-producer-director the reins to one of its most revered projects: the next Star Trek film. Abrams will produce the movie with Lost cocreator (and fellow Trekker) Damon Lindelof. Abrams recently called from his Pacific Palisades, California, home, where he was hanging with kids (and budding sci-fi fans) Henry, Gracie and baby August, to chat about sci-fi, the th read more

Ron Livingston's Nightmares Scenario

Ron Livingston, Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King

Some actors possess an Everyman quality that gives them the versatility to take on any role. Ron Livingston is that type of guy. After gaining notoriety as a member of Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn's crew of Swingers, he went on to play a conflicted World War II captain in HBO's Band of Brothers. This fall the Iowa native gets his first opportunity to play a series lead on Fox's hostage-negotiator action-drama read more

Ghost Town Blues Stephen Kings Desperation is like Deadwood only with living dead

There’s a reason they’re not calling this movie "Inspiration." Actually, the desperation is all ABC’s, which is desperately hoping to attract anyone at all away from the penultimate episode of American Idol. The strategy: lean on longtime horror-story collaborator Stephen King, who has given ABC some of his best (It, The Stand, The Shining) and worst (Kingdom Hospital, Rose Red). Desperation (Tuesday, May 23, at 8 pm/ET) falls somewhere in between. The first hour is promisingly, amusingly creepy, as innocents stray into the seemingly empty Nevada desert mining town of Desperation, where wild animals line the highway like eerie sentinels. It all seems ver read more

With the six genre shows that ...

Question: With the six genre shows that premiered this past season and the tons of genre pilots in production, do you think that sci-fi and fantasy shows will ever become mainstream hits? Everyone counts Lost as a revival in genre, but it's just a [great] character drama with a small tinge of science-fiction elements. Medium is just a crime show in which the lead character has weird dreams, and Ghost Whisperer is light fluff. But it seems that The X-Files has been the only sci-fi show to be truly successful on the Big Four. I know that there are lots of bad genre shows, but there are just as many truly great ones. The networks seem to completely lack faith in promoting these shows and the audiences seem to steer clear from them, for the most part. Why do you think this is? Also, with the recent trends of tons of reality and crime dramas on the air, I was wondering if a day would come when most of the shows were in the sci-fi genre. Critics always seem to pay special notice when more ... read more

What was the strange and ...

Question: What was the strange and funky show on HBO that was a sort of risqué sci-fi anthology à la The Outer Limits and Twilight Zone? It had a CGI female robot host. The name of it is totally escaping me and all my friends.

Answer: Sounds like you're thinking of Perversions of Science, a sci-fi-oriented offering from the people who brought you HBO's Tales from the Crypt. As you say, the hostess was a buxom animated android. The lady's name was Chrome and she was voiced by actress Maureen Teefy.

Based on EC Comics' Weird Science, the show featured a pilot episode with a notably apt title, "Dream of Doom." Perversi read more

The Book of Daniel There's something...

Heather Graham, Emily's Reasons Why Not

The Book of Daniel There's something about pairing Jesus with a Vicodin-popping Episcopalian priest that creates brouhaha. We expected the Bill O'Reillys of the world to complain (Someday O'Reilly is going to be driven to insanity when he awakens in the Twilight Zone surrounded by nice, sensible people), but apparently many in the Midwest found the subject matter so repellent that stations in places like Terre Haute pulled Daniel from their schedules. Another triumph for the easily offended. Normal-ites should ask a different question: Is The Book of Daniel worth checking out? I'd say it's a flawed but worthwhile experiment. Aidan Quinn makes a very human reverend, a man whose faith in God is directly proportional to the lack of faith he has in himself. D read more

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Premiered: October 02, 1959, on CBS
Rating: TV-PG
User Rating: (145 ratings)
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Premise: A classic anthology of sci-fi, suspense and goose-bump-inducing tales that explore 'a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man.' Filled with invention and irony, the stories are tightly constructed, ingenious flights of imagination with often cautionary themes---and frequently a terrific twist at the end. Host and prolific writer Rod Serling penned most of the episodes himself. Influential and often (poorly) imitated, the series was resurrected twice, in 1985 on CBS and in 2002 on UPN.



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