Best New Twilight Zone Episodes

Maria Johnson
• Tuesday, 27 October, 2020
• 7 min read

Thus, after the 1983 movie and the 80s and 00s reboots, The TwilightZone returned to the zeitgeist in the form of CBS All Access’ Jordan Peele-hosted resurrection, perhaps the most loyal to Serving’s original vision in terms of both technical execution and narrative tone. Peele, whose two features as a writer/director, Get Out and Us, already promised him as Serving’s successor thanks to his distinct ability to boldly examine society’s ills through the prism of pure genre spectacle.

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But he’s also the perfect host for the new TwilightZone, as his Springlike Stoic demeanor is balanced with a twisted sense of humor, thanks to his time as a sketch show veteran. The premise is intriguing, but unfortunately the metaphor around obsessive gun culture is too obvious, and the morally murky ending flat lines by trying to appease both sides of the debate.

This claustrophobic and paranoid thriller, about the officers of a remote Alaska police station at a loss about how to deal with a mysterious tourist (Steven Yen) who magically appears in a holding cell, starts off promisingly as a slight send-off to original series episode “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street.” Essentially, the tourist seems to know every secret of the officers as well as the town’s tiny population, and uses it to turn them against one another during an especially secluded Christmas party. While “Maple Street” opened broad and then tightened its focus to deliver a poignant message, “A Traveler” takes the opposite route and becomes more unnecessarily convoluted as it moves along, to the point where it’s hard to even gauge what the tourist’s motivations and plans were from the start.

The 2019 TwilightZone has a handful of general issues, but its biggest failure is ignoring the clear lesson to be taken from the original series’ misguided fourth season, which doubled the length of the 25-minute format, resulting in pointless filler that turned most of the episodes into chores. Peele and Co. have a lot of fun skewering parallels from the 2016 election, with the electorate defending the “freshness and passion” of the kid while touting his lack of experience as a desperately needed change of pace.

The problem is that once the initial premise is introduced, we know exactly where the story’s heading, and the episode eventually lacks that cynical Serving bite it desperately needs. “The Wunderkind” seems to be a non-supernatural take on the original series’ episode that perfectly exemplifies our current situation: “It’s a Good Life,” about a tyrant child (Bill Mummy) who uses his telekinetic powers to force adults into worshiping him.

This tense chamber mystery about a crew of astronauts on the first manned mission to Mars, who become stuck in space after Earth is destroyed by nuclear holocaust, contains some of the tightest pacing and buildup of the season. This tense nod to the original series’ many apocalyptic tales does such a good job of establishing its many mysteries, it’s almost a shame that we get an underwhelming explanation that also seems to have been influenced by “Maple Street.” This is one TwilightZone that should have done away with the twist.

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As Eve finds out her true identity, she relies on her friends and even her immediate family to look over this revelation, but she’s in for a rude awakening as she gradually faces what it truly means to now be “the other.” With an exciting prison break sequence at its center, this morally pointed episode exemplifies the saying, “Check your privilege.” Annie’s understandably shaken by the experience, but Dylan’s behavior is about to spread into an apocalyptic nightmare, as mysterious pieces of a fallen meteor seem to hypnotize men into acting like monsters.

The IMDB user reviews of the episode shows a heavy load of #notable dude bros bitching about the brilliant final twist, not realizing that their criticism proves its point. This haunting tale, made all the more despairing and socially immediate due to its bitter connection to real life, takes the premise of the original series’ episode “The Hitchhiker” and deftly applies the ongoing tragedy of police brutality against people of color.

This is an especially vital episode for those who find any excuse for abhorrent behavior, and blame the victim for not complying with the police, completely ignoring this country’s ingrained systemic racism in the process. It tells the fourth wall-breaking tale of a TV writer (Marie Beet) being haunted by a hostile blurry figure with telekinetic powers as she struggles with capturing the appropriate tone of the show she’s writing for.

Airing on CBS All Access and bringing the same dramatic mix of thriller, horror, fantasy, and science fiction as its predecessors, the newTwilightZone, from executive producer Jordan Peele, offers episodes fit the worries and the fears of the modern era. With some of Hollywood's favorite actors appearing as guest stars, the bestnewTwilightZoneepisodes delve into everything from the futile anguish of feeling helpless to the intoxicating carelessness that can accompany power.

A journalist finds an MP3 player with a true crime podcast that details how the airplane he is currently on will disappear. The emergence of a strange, elusive gun changes the life of an anthropology professor whose mind is slowly unraveling.

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A space crew preparing for the first human flight to Mars is faced with a life-altering decision...and its consequences. A woman sets out to prevent a racist state trooper from killing her son by using a camcorder with the power to turn back time.

A stand-up comic incorporates details about people he knows into his routines, unaware that every joke results in someone being erased from existence. A down-and-out campaign manager gets a kid elected President of the United States.

Sophie Nelson, a writer for The TwilightZone (2019), is haunted by a mysterious figure. A mysterious man's arrival at an Alaska police station's Christmas party prompts a sergeant to investigate his ulterior motives.

A meteor shower spreads infection across an entire town affecting some inhabitants more than others. Since debuting last year, the CBS All Access revival of The TwilightZone has smartly recognized that, like the classic show that inspired it, the series can play host to all sorts of stories.

There’s an even deeper sense of loss at the center of “A Human Face,” in which Christopher Melon and Jenna Elf man play parents still mourning the death of their daughter (Taxi Levinson) as they prepare to move out of the house they shared with her. When a being from an alien dimension shows up and starts to take on their daughter’s appearance and personality, however, they have to decide whether they should treat it as friend or foe.

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Both the premise and Levinson’s spooky performance owe a little to Jonathan Glazer’s great 2013 film Under the Skin, but the episode finds different ways to approach the question of what it means to be human. And while Rubens’s The Comedian got the series off to a rocky start last season, he scores two of this year’s highlights, aided here by Christina Chose’s unnerving direction.

Written by Heather Anne Campbell, who penned the first-season highlight Not All Men, ” “Among the Untrod den” looks like it’s going to be the second sort of episode then cleverly morphs into the first in its final scene. Director Trisha Poe explored the power struggles of a boarding school with her recent film Salah and the Spades and returns to familiar turf here via the story of a misfit (Sophia Macy, daughter of Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy) who helps a popular bully (Abbie Her) understand her psychic abilities.

In “Downtime,” Moreno Bavaria plays a hotel manager who earns a big promotion just in time to watch everyone freeze around her as a giant orb appears in the sky. An unsettling but ultimately sweet exploration of the nature of identity, it occasionally feels like an idea for a feature film that’s been repurposed as a TwilightZone installment.

Rubens’s other contribution lets Topper Grace and Kylie Bunbury (Pitch) play out a sweet romantic comedy that takes a disturbing turn. Bunbury plays Claudia, a grad student whose museum outing begins with a meet-cute when a stranger named Marc (Grace) saves her from getting hit by a truck, then keeps bumping into her during her visit.

You’ll spot the film noir-inspired twist a mile away in this episode starring Jimmy Simpson as a lonely man who falls in love with a woman with whom he develops an unexpected psychic connection. Ethan Embryo plays a down-on-his-luck actor who decides to rob a bank, then finds he’s inexplicably jumped into the body of the teller behind the counter.

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Then he keeps jumping, a premise that allows Embryo and other guest stars (including Billy Porter and Mel Rodriguez) to play personalities stuck in bodies to which they don’t belong. They can’t all be winners, but the filmmaking team of Aaron Muirhead and Justin Benson (Spring) bring some claustrophobic atmosphere to an extremely X-Files fish Glenn Morgan script, and horehounds will appreciate some Grady effects, including an injury-to-eye scene that would make Lucio Full proud.

This episode deals with what one is willing to do to protect their family, while, at the same time, how emotional and scary circumstances can divide close relationships among friends. This episode shows how humans react to dangerous situations, and the final moments allow characters to realize how far they are willing to go in order to survive themselves.

A favorite among many viewers, this episode involves a little boy terrifying a small town with his special powers, leading everyone into doing exactly as he says. Part of the creepiness of the episode is wondering where the boy sends people when they make him angry.

This episode involves a dying man making sure the members of his family's faces match the people they are on the inside. The makeup effects, for the time, are top-notch, and the great performances by everyone in the cast make this episode a classic.

A mean stepfather gets what he deserves when his stepdaughter's doll takes a turn from being cute to sinister. Creepy dolls have been around in TV and film for years, and this is one of the absolute best depictions of the concept.

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With a great performance by Kojak's Telly Savages and voice-acting by June Foray, this episode is sure to make viewers think twice before letting their children play with dolls. Like “The Shelter,” this episode involves how friends and neighbors behave when they are put into a scary situation, and this may be the best example.

Neighbors in a nice little suburb are driven into madness when they all fear each other, believing that an alien invasion is occurring. Viewers slowly watch as everyone in the cast is driven insane with fear and destruction on their minds.

Meredith plays an avid reader who simply wants peace and quiet so he can enjoy the wondrous and fascinating world of literature. This tragic tale has, arguably, the saddest ending in the history of The TwilightZone, and Burgess Meredith's performance is worth the watch itself.

It has suspense, a unique mystery, a fun sci-fi premise, great performances, and a fantastic plot twist. Richard Kiel, perhaps best known for his role of “Jaws” in the James Bond movies, gives a great performance as one of the aliens coming to Earth and declaring they want to “serve” humans.

William Shatter stars as a man constantly seeing a creature on the wing of an airplane during his flight. Filled with suspense and terror, this episode is a highlight of the series, and it has a clever jump scare thrown in there that is sure to make any viewer think twice before looking out the window.

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