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I'm a big fan of the original Twilight Zone, and just as big a fan of
this reworking of the 1960's anthology series. My family was thrilled
in 1985 that the series had been resurrected. We watched it faithfully
every week, no matter what strange day or time slot CBS moved it to and
they moved it around to a new time slot each and every week it seemed.
It was not a retread of the original show but an updated, modern
incarnation that stood on its own. It featured amazing shows which were
adaptations of short stories by acclaimed writers.
In the wasteland of 80's TV it stood out for its ingenuity and originality. Alan Brennert's "Her Pilgrim Soul" was, for me, the single best episode produced for weekly series TV since the original went off the air. For my husband it was "Profiles in Silver", a "what if?" for JFK fans. "Nightcrawlers" was a true imaginative nightmare that no one forgot once they watched it. "A Message from Charity" is the second favorite episode for most of the people I talk to. But with the network moving the show around to different days it became hard to find in the listings, and people gradually stopped looking for it because it was too difficult to keep track of. In short, CBS never gave this series the chance it deserved, and it sank into oblivion where the final insult was badly butchered episodes thrown into a syndication package. But despite this the series refused to fade away in fans' memories.
Finally, the first two seasons and the syndie third season (which for the most part is completely forgettable) are out on DVD. They are virtually uncut; some music has been replaced, and there are a few other anomalies. These wonderful stories haven't been seen in their entirety since the series aired over 20 years ago, until now. There are commentaries by Alan Brennert, Harlan Ellison, Phil DeGuere, actors, directors, writers, etc.
This is a must-have for all fans of the Twilight Zone no matter what incarnation, and Night Gallery as well. In many respects this show is a blend of the spirit of the original Twilight Zone and Night Gallery; it uses quality stories by many of the classic sci-fi and horror writers of the past forty years. TV in this new millennium is a wasteland of garbage and nauseous reality TV, and we could use stories and writers like this today. The 1980's Twilight Zone deserves to be seen as the classic it is, and this DVD release does it justice.
Rod Serling's series is resurrected and given new sparkle as these
episodes were released in the mid-80's. They still capture the twist
and intensity that the original Twilight Zone offered. Using a strong
cast and many new names, at the time, the stories were able to keep
viewers on the edge of their toes.
Season 1 has currently been released on DVD. Nostalgic enthusiasts who remember the show well may strongly be interested in adding this to their collection. Great stories like 'Button, Button', 'If She Dies', 'Kentucky Rye', and 'Nightcrawlers' have won fans over for the series.
I feel that in it's day, the people who set up the program schedules didn't really give it a chance. Though this is personal opinion, I believe that they had done that with several shows with strong potential. Great collection to add for any Zone Fanatic.
The newest version of the Twilight Zone that premiered in September, 2002,
makes me realize just how good the 1985 series was. They were so good, in
fact, I still remember some of my favourite episodes: the relative of JFK
who went back in time and ends up stopping the assassination, the Viet Nam
vet whose afraid to go to sleep, the man who must become 'invisible' for one
year....ah, those were the days.
I was excited a few years back to see them running in syndication only to
realize that the episodes had been chopped down and key scenes removed (to
fit into a half hour block instead of an hour). This made me stop watching
them. I hope that CBS will release the full original uncut 1985 Twilight
Zone on DVD someday, but it's probably going to be a long
Here's hoping that the 1985 and 1986 versions of The Twilight Zone will one day be released on DVD as it was an outstanding series with well written episodes. The beginning titles have a half-second animation of Rod Serling in them as a salute to the originator of the series. The episode "Nightcrawlers" was directed by William Freidkin and is brilliant. One episode called "Shatterday" features the TV debut of Bruce Willis. There is also a small budget third season which was made after cancellation to make up the numbers for syndication,but it's budget was small and apart from one good episode,where a man is possessed by what looks like Christ,it is a poor third season. But the first two seasons are brilliant.
I honestly don't understand why someone would give a negative review for this show. To say it was "garbage" -as one commenter stated- is very inaccurate. I watched this show as a child...in fact, I grew up on it. The story lines were dark and original. The acting was actually pretty good in my estimation. Especially in comparison to the overabundance of bad acting in that day. The stories were so eerie and unique that they stayed in my head decades after I saw them. I actually had the pleasure of watching several episodes at a friends house recently and loved the nostalgic feelings they brought back. They were even more enjoyable now that I am older. I was able to pick up on the stuff that I had missed as a kid. My faves are the one about the man that was court ordered to be "invisible" for a year, the woman that had a magic necklace and could freeze the world by saying "shut up!", the woman that got offered a box with a button in it...and if she pressed the button she would win a large sum of money...but then a stranger had to be killed and SO many others!
The 1985 version of "The Twilight Zone" begins with a major
disadvantage: it trailed the original Rod Serling vintage 1960s
version! That original series was, and continues to be, the Gold
Standard for programs of this type and for better or worse it's
unlikely that any show in its wake could achieve that level of
However, this second attempt did have some positives going for it: First, it featured stories from a host of brilliant s/f writers, including such iconic names as Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen King, just to name three. And it had the advantage of better special effects, and color photography.
Unfortunately, the parallels to the original series meant this one was doomed to be considered an also ran, which is a shame, because there were some incredible episodes that I would rank among the best of any science fiction program from any era.
Examples: The astonishing "Profile In Silver" tells the story of a time traveling distant relation to John F. Kennedy, who goes to Dallas in 1963, intending to document, but then preventing the assassination of the President, which creates some surprising results. A remarkable story that is most certainly worthy of the "TZ" moniker.
The amusing "I Of Newton" tells of a professor who offhandedly says he would sell his soul to calculate an equation, but then has to try to back out of the deal when the devil shows up in his classroom to claim it. This is reminiscent of many of the humorous episodes from the original series.
They even did a "remake" of a few eps, like "Button Button," where an impoverished couple was offered the chance to receive a large cash amount if they simply pressed a button. The catch: someone they didn't know would die.
There were some hits and misses in this series, and to a degree, it did often reflect the mentality of the 1980s, rather than tell stories that had a "timeless" quality, which is another disadvantage it has to the original series, but it is most certainly worthy of bearing the name, and is worth seeking out, either on reruns or DVD.
I remember when I saw the first commercial informing me that they were
to bring the series back. I was so happy.
I watched the new series faithfully and loved almost every episode. My favorite is still Nightcrawlers which is based on the short story of the same name by Robert R. McCammon from his short story collection Blue World. Other stories in it are just as good and should be read by all fans of this episode.
They also used many other great writers from which to get their material. Examples include Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, Harlan Ellison, Steven Bochco, Arthur C. Clarke and Sidney Sheldon.
I would love to be able to get all the episodes of 1985 series on DVD to go with the originals.
I remember the "new" series of The Twilight Zone with much fondness. I
up with them. I don't remember many films/TV programs from childhood, but
one episode from this series stood out for me more than any other. It was
called "The Burning Man" and it was the most eerie piece of film making I
had ever witnessed as a kid. In fact it first inspired me to start film
I know now that this short episode came from a book by Ray Bradbury, but it was the way the short film was shot that awe-inspired me. I seem to remember it featured a young Danny Cooksey as the kid. Had Piper Laurie in it too.
Please CBS, bring them out on DVD. (And do it proper with extra features!)
I still can't get enough of the original series. It is and was a classic, not to mention damn hard to compete with. The Twilight Zone that was resurrected was pretty good in it's own right. The stories I remember most was the Nightcrawlers episode and Cat and Mouse. The same sense of horror, dread and irony filled this series as well. It was pretty good and enjoyable. It was just too bad that it was taken off. It was one of the better of the redone television series.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is such a great reincarnation of the iconic anthology series. Narrated by a man with such an unforgettable voice such as Charles Aidman, this series had such great tales. Scary, lesson-teaching, feel-good, comedy, or just plain ironic, the 1985 version of the Twilight Zone has left its mark on the people of the world. With such acclaimed actors like Bruce Willis, Melinda Dillon, Robert Klein, Morgan Freeman, Martin Landau, Charles Martin Smith, Frances McDormand, Frances Conroy, Victor Garber, Richard Kiley, George Wendt, Jeffrey Tambor, Helen Mirren, Elliot Gould, John Carradine, Ralph Bellamy, and more guest starring in many of the episodes, this has certainly left me begging for more from the writers, hoping that maybe, just maybe, they might try to reincarnate it again. Go Twilight Zone!
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