Innovative. Mysterious. Suspenseful. Complex. I’m referring to the iconic anthology series created by the genius, Rod Serling. The Zone (as I call it) lasted 5 seasons, and had 156 episodes. Here are my top 10 episodes of the show that was truly ahead of its time.
10. Ep 61. Season 2. The Silence- The setting is a highbrow men’s club; and involves an annoying chatterbox named Jamie Tennyson, and an OG of the club named Colonel Archie Taylor. The Colonel was frustrated with Tennyson for running his mouth constantly, and bet Tennyson that he couldn’t shut the hell up for an entire year. Tennyson accepted the bet and a special glass room was created, for monitoring purposes within the club. I don’t want to spoil the episode. I’ll just say this… don’t write a check that you can’t cash.
9. Ep 54. Season 2. The Odyssey Of Flight 33- An aircraft and its occupants travel back in time, mysteriously. This episode had me transfixed from the start. I could feel the terror and fear that the crew and passengers felt. Captain Farver- the man in charge, remained cool, although the world was falling apart all around him.
8. Ep 126. Season 5. Living Doll- Annabelle has recently married an asshole named Erich, and purchases a doll for her daughter, Christie. Christie gets this special gift because Erich treats her like crap. The doll- Talky Tina, turns out to be alive, and she really can’t stand Erich. Honestly, the doll was the only one looking out for Christie. Once Erich found out that Talky Tina was a living doll, he tried his best to get rid of her. And of course this causes conflict with his family. There’s no drama like family drama. The lesson from this episode is be careful how you treat people; they may just have a unique protector on their side.
7. Ep 58. Season 2. Long Distance Call- This episode was pretty heavy for the sixties. Billy, a young boy was gifted with a toy phone for his birthday. This phone is extraordinary because it allows him to communicate with his recently deceased grandmother. This episode creeped me out! I can’t say much more because this is a must-see epi.
6. Ep 73. Season 3. It’s A Good Life- Bill Mumy- the little boy from Long Distance Call, also stared in this stellar episode. Anthony is a six-year-old psychopath who runs his town. For reasons not explained, Anthony has all these strange powers, including telepathy. Using his mind Anthony can destroy, or create anything with his mind. All the adults are scared of him, because if he doesn’t like you then you’re pretty much screwed. Anthony sent his town back in the dark ages. All the modern conveniences of life displeased him, so he basically got rid of everything. The climax of the episode was during a party; Anthony allowed the town’s residents to watch an hour of TV . Unfortunately, that’s when some drama was stirred up, due to the frustration of living in Anthony’s world. This is one hell of an episode.
5. Ep 7. Season 1. The Lonely- Not a well known episode, but it’s effective with conveying loneliness, and isolation. In the future an inmate named Corry- who claims he was wrongfully convicted, is sentenced to serve time on an asteroid. Four times a year a crew visits to bring supplies. Corry is slowly losing it, because of the lack of human interaction. The Captain of the crew- a guy named Allenby, has mercy on Corry, and leaves him with a special gift to ease his loneliness.
4. Ep 145. Season 5. The Masks- Jason Foster is a dying man, who invites his family over on the first night of Mardi Gras. Unfortunately, he’s related to a bunch of spoiled, greedy, and self-centered individuals. Basically Jason’s family are just waiting to collect a check after his death. After dinner Jason passes out some grotesque masks to his fam; Jason insists they put them on. Initially they refuse, but Jason informs them that in order to get their inheritance, they must wear the masks. And that’s when the real fun begins…
3. Ep 89. Season 3. To Serve Man- The Kanamits- aliens, land on earth with promises of helping mankind. There’s universal skepticism at first, but then the Kanamits show what they’re capable of, and all are amazed. As the Kanamits continue to wow the world, a group of government officials attempt to decode a book left behind at a U.N. meeting by one of the Kanamits. If they can decode the book, then the true motives will be known. The ending is classic!
2. Ep 8. Season 1. Time Enough At Last- The legendary Burgess Meredith plays Henry Bemis; a bank teller with a deep passion for reading. All Henry wanted was to just chill out, and read. Between his nagging wife, and his boss, they just wouldn’t let Henry be. All that was solved when the H-Bomb was dropped, as Henry was reading in the bank’s vault. The world was destroyed and Henry was the last man standing. Henry was distraught at first and considered suicide. But, then he discovered the public library, and all the books were intact. Henry was supposed to be in paradise with his new found discovery, but The Twilight Zone wasn’t about to let Henry be great. The ending was absolutely heartbreaking.
1. Ep 64. Season 2. Will The Real Martian Please Stand Up?- The epi opens with two state troopers- in a bad snowstorm, investigating reports of a crashed spacecraft. A trail of footprints leads from the crash site, to a hole-in-the-wall diner. The diner is filled with stranded bus passengers waiting out the storm, along with the bus driver, and the diner cook. There were seven bus passengers in the diner, but we learn that only six were on the bus. The bus driver, the diner cook, the two state troopers, the bus passengers, and the viewer are all a part of the investigation to figure out who is the Martian. And you think you may have it figured out, but the ending- which reveals the Martian, will blow you away.
Honorable Mentions: Ep 16. Season 1. The Hitch-Hiker. Ep 42. Season 2. The Eye Of The Beholder. Ep 123. Season 5. Nightmare At 20,000 Feet. And Ep 41. Season 2. The Howling Man.
Coming up with this list was hella difficult, but also so much fun. Enjoy!