Series of unrelated short stories covering elements of crime, horror, drama and comedy about people of different species committing murders, suicides, thefts and other sorts of crime caused by certain motivations; perceived or not.
In what would become the most hated episode of the series, 1962's "Cavender is Coming" starred Jesse White and Carol Burnett in what was supposed to be a spinoff episode for a sitcom about a bumbling guardian angel. The episode was videotaped and had a laugh track. See more »
[Opening narration (season 1)]
There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.
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How much do we really know about our next door neighbors? The pleasant facade they masquerade around becomes a stilted and decorative shield for them when their prevailing circumstances are totally cop aesthetic. What happens though, when adversity besieges, and the obligatory veneer is stripped away? The affable camaraderie of your friendly neighborhood kindred spirit, (otherwise known as your neighbor) becomes abruptly, and instantaneously obviated with these circumstances, and now, your neighbor is now a vulgar,venomous, vile, gut-wrenching, self-absorbed- for- survival- mode, monstrous parasite! This episode "The Shelter" is unequivocally,one of the best "Twilight Zone" segments out of the entire series! While it is compared to "The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street", I felt that "The Shelter" was a great deal more compelling. The intensity of the characters' excoriation was extremely gripping with the episode. As opposed to "The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street" where the people extracted a little too much exaggerated paranoia. The cast was very well put together, including Jack Albertson and Larry Gates. (Gates played a doctor, and was down in the basement in the "Twilight Zone's" "The Shelter", just like he was in the movie "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" ). "The Shelter" possesses a vitriolic contempt with which these threatened individuals harbored! This enmity is far more of a lethal arsenal than any defense weapon around. How much do we hate? What exactly is it that we are thoroughly willing to do just to stay alive? The desperation, the prejudice, the primal fears, and the scruple less non cooperation we capitulate to at the first sign of terror, becomes a grim scenario that is truly alarming!! This "Twilight Zone" segment "The Shelter" purveys an incredibly desperate acrimony which basically admonishes the entire human race. This false alarm for apocalyptic calamity with this "Twilight Zone" segment has encapsulated an aggregate character assassination for all of these New York suburban misanthropes who became victimized by this precariously macabre situation. You might want to look in the mirror and attempt to reaffirm the distinction between man and beast after watching this "Twilight Zone" episode. I did, and, quite frankly, such a situation that "The Shelter" brought before me, has made it very difficult for me to distinguish any comfortable dichotomy between human beings, and a bloodthirsty wolf pack!! This wry little epigram definitely put me in an frightfully horrid mood, particularly on a philosophical level! Rod Serling hones in on the rudimentary instincts of man, which are for better, or, for worse, Serling accomplishes this parody in a very successful manner too! What is the most significant aspect to Rod Serling's works is the esoteric element to them that transcends the importance of television ratings and popularity! This intriguing quality is one whereby the paradigms in which Rod Serling manifests were stunningly pertinent to the thought patterns of modern twentieth century America! I do not mean that these ideas were remotely similar to Eisenhower era conceptions, I mean that Serling pinpoints many U.S. cold war ideologies with an utterly succinct and identifiable accuracy! Rod Serling had attained such a creative stranglehold on television entertainment with "Twilight Zone" that it almost seemed as though programming approval from CBS President, William Paley, became relegated to the triviality of a tertiary concern! So many "Twilight Zone" segments were fabulous, and I feel that this episode of "Twilight Zone" entitled "The Shelter" was totally outstanding as well!!
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