One of the most popular and frequently repeated topics in the acclaimed "The Twilight Zone" was the conquest of space and the encounter with extraterrestrial life. This is almost a matter-of- course, as the series was primarily a Sci-Fi and mystery show, and obviously few topics lend themselves better for mysterious Sci-Fi than the unexplored planets of our galaxy and their potentially menacing inhabitants. Still, it certainly must not have been easy to script an episode for this series, because Sci-Fi/mystery is usually complex and detailed, and yet there were only 25 minutes of running time available for each episode! Knowing this, it's truly amazing how practically all entries of this TV-format are so intelligent and engaging. "People are alike all over" is a nice example of this, in fact, since it's a very smart and meaningful tale that is compactly narrated in less than half an hour; - not longer than necessary! A still very young Roddy McDowell ("Planet of the Apes", "The Legend of Hell House") stars as the insecure astronaut/biologist Sam Conrad, who's about to embark on his first major mission to Mars and feels very nervous about what he might discover there. His friend and co-pilot Marcusson comforts him by stating that, even if do stumble upon another species, it will undoubtedly look and act likes them because that's how God created the universe. The mission doesn't run all that smoothly, unfortunately, as they crash on Mars and Marcusson dies before they can open the hatch. Sam is all alone now, but he receives a warm welcome from the Martians who do – like Marcusson promised him – look and act like humans on earth. Actually, they act EXACTLY like human beings from earth would
The great thing about these TW episodes is that, no matter how hard you see the end conclusion coming your way, the show still manages to surprise you with it! Quite early in the episode already, I was fairly persuaded that "People are alike all over" would finish the way it did, but it nevertheless still felt as a minor rush of adrenalin. The portrayal of Mars and its inhabitant is very basic and implausible, of course, but it ideally suits with the underlying message of the story. People ARE alike all over, and the nature of our kind is questionable to say the least.