Friday Five: the Twilight Zone

The Twilight Zone is probably my most favoritest show ever. Growing up, instead of telling me fairy tales, my dad told me the plots of Twilight Zone episodes. When I learned I could watch them online, good bye productivity. Before I started working from home, I was staying late at the office one evening. Not too late, but everyone else had already gone home. So I turned on an episode of the Twilight Zone to listen to/watch as I worked. And all of the sudden, the power went out. The office was dark except for eerie emergency lights in the hall. But my computer (a laptop) was still on (obviously), and still playing the Twilight Zone. Way to creep myself out.

So here is a list of my five favorite episodes. It’s hard to pick. (Spoiler alert: I won’t be blatant, but I’m not keeping any secrets.)

Why I don’t own one of these is beyond me.

1. Nick of Time

Staring William Shatner (and he is also in Nightmare at 20,000 Feet. And George Takei is in the Encounter, which was a highly controversial episode due [in part] to its portrayal of Japanese Americans during WWII/perpetuating incorrect and harmful stereotypes. Oh my. And, in my opinion, just not very good.). Honeymooners are traveling to New York when their car breaks down in Ohio. They stop for a bite to eat in a restaurant with a mystic seer napkin holder. For a penny, it will answer their question. The husband notices that not only does it give accurate answers (yes and no are right), the answers are tailored to the question (“Will I get the promotion?” “It has been decided in your favor.”) He becomes almost addicted to it and doesn’t want to leave the restaurant without its permission.

2. I Shot an Arrow into the Air

Astronauts crash on an asteroid. Similar to the episode Death Ship, which is also a good one. They struggle with the elements and fight themselves for survival. I like it for the twisty ending and how the twist is revealed. Though today it seems twisty endings are common, so maybe it would be obvious now. Still, this episode aired in 1960, eight years before the movie Planet of the Apes and three years before the book. [edit: OMG! I just learned that Rod Serling wrote the script for Planet of the Apes. No wonder those endings were similar. I feel like an idiot.]

3. The Hitch-Hiker

It creeps me out just to look at him.

A woman is driving across country by herself. She sees a hitch-hiker a few times and wonders how it is possible that he keeps beating her to these locations? I drove across country by myself (well, with my cat), and I couldn’t stop thinking about him and being freaked.

4. Will the Real Martian Please Stand up? It’s similar to the Monsters are Due on Maple Street with people accusing and turning on each other, but I like that there’s a clock running. They were passengers on a bus. A bridge was out and left all the passengers at a restaurant. Only there’s one more person in the restaurant than tickets sold (and no one was in the restaurant before the bus passengers). They have to figure out what’s going on before the bridge is fixed. And then it just gets weird.

5. There are so many good ones. How to choose one more? I don’t think I can. Judgment Night, Eye of the Beholder, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, Living Doll, Third from the Sun. I can’t.

What’s your favorite Twilight Zone episode?

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About emmawolf

I'm a freelance writer living in Baltimore with my husband, son, and two cats. I'm working on editing my first novel. I love reading, traveling, and the cello.
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7 Responses to Friday Five: the Twilight Zone

  1. I LOVE THE TWILIGHT ZONE!

    I love the ones you listed along with “Time Enough at Last”, “Nightmare at 50,000 Feet”, “It’s a Good Life”. Those, I know, are obvious picks, and I have more, I just can’t remember the titles. I think one is “The Obsolete Man” with Burgess Meredith, but I’m not sure if that’s the title.

    One thing I love most about TZ is its timelessness. Another is using it as a teaching tool. I regularly use it in the classroom for teaching literary devices such as irony, theme, and characterization, and it never fails in turning on the little lightbulbs above my students’ heads.

    Oh, FYI—I have the Mystic Seer in my living room, along with my William Shatner doll (change outfits for the episode you want!), Henry Bemis doll, and icons of The Twilight Zone. I bought my mom a Talking Tina last year. Entertainment Earth comes out with a new TZ toy every year, and I always try to pick one up! My classroom prizes are stored in my Twilight Zone lunchbox. : )

  2. emmawolf says:

    I am so jealous! Does Talking Tina actually talk? Because that would be super creepy (which I guess would be the point).

    Agreed, it is pretty timeless. Though I saw one episode that had a computer at the surprise ending that was humungous with all sorts of bells and whistles. It made me giggle a little.

    I’ll have to check out the Obsolete Man. I don’t think I saw that one.

    • No, it’s just a bobble head. They might have a talking one though!

      The one with the computer…is that the one where the town gets advice from an “old man in the cave”, and it turns out to be a computer?

      • emmawolf says:

        Yep, that’s the one. The computer wasn’t super hokey so it didn’t really ruin the moment. It just made me laugh a little at the technology.

        (sort of related to outdated technology, television, and timelessness–I also love Seinfeld, but to me it’s just so amazing how many of the episodes wouldn’t make sense in today’s world because of cell phones [at least].)

  3. fpdorchak says:

    Great post, emmawolf! And here’re my top episodes, though I’m 5xs what you did: http://fpdorchakrealitycheck.wordpress.com/2012/08/09/twilight-zone-my-25-favorite-episodes/

    I think you’re going…my way….

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