A linguist and his team set out to translate the aliens' language, using a book whose title they deduce is “To Serve Man”. A man, newly recovered from a nervous breakdown, becomes convinced that a monster only he sees is damaging the plane he's flying in.
One young woman desperately wants to hold onto her own identity. Gaining telepathic abilities when his coin lands on its edge bank clerk Hector B. Poole learns about the difference between other people's plans and fantasies.
Tired of his miserable job and wife, a businessman starts dreaming on the train each night, about an old, idyllic town called Willougbhy. Soon he has to know whether the town is real and fancies the thought of seeking refuge there.
A young woman driving cross-country becomes frantic when she keeps passing the same man on the side of the road. No matter how fast she drives the man is always up ahead, hitching her for a ride.
A pair of newlyweds stopping in a small town are trapped by their own superstition when playing a fortune telling machine in a local diner. On a peaceful suburban street, strange occurrences and mysterious people stoke the residents' paranoia to a disastrous intensity.
When the Earth falls out of orbit, two women try to cope with increasingly oppressive heat in a nearly abandoned city. A convict, living alone on an asteroid, receives from the police a realistic woman-robot.
Annoyed by a club member's constant chatter, a man bets him he cannot remain silent for a year, living in a glass enclosure in the club basement. Adam Grant is trapped in a recurring nightmare, in which he is sentenced to death by execution.
He tries to convince the surrounding people that they are imaginary and that they will cease to exist if the execution is carried out. While waiting in a bus station, Millicent Barnes has the strange feeling that her doppelgänger is trying to take over her life.
Two families of Government employees plan to steal a spaceship and travel to another planet just prior to a nuclear war. A woman is treated badly by some odd salespeople on an otherwise empty department store floor.
Three astronauts return to Earth after seemingly having made an encounter that dooms them and their craft to erasure from existence itself. Fearing the worst, the lone survivor of a crash-landing on Mars finds the native inhabitants, to his relief, very hospitable indeed, but there's a catch.
Wealthy Jason Foster is dying, and he invites his greedy heirs to a Mardi Gras party where they must wear the masks he specially had made for them or else be cut off from their inheritance. On an isolated family farm, a young boy with vast mental powers, but lacking emotional development, holds his terrified family in thrall to his every juvenile wish.
On a desolate planet, two astronauts discover an entire society populated by incredibly small beings. A pioneer from a wagon train in 1847 sets off to find something for his ill son and stumbles into present-day New Mexico.
Mike Ferris finds himself alone in the small Oak wood town and without recollection about his name, where he is or who he is. Mike wanders through the town trying to find a living soul.
A man travels back in time to his childhood, arriving just a few miles away from his native town. Following a frantic phone call about a crashed spaceship, two policemen try and determine who among the passengers of a bus at a snowed-in roadside diner is from another world.
Passing through the sound barrier, a commercial airliner inadvertently travels back in time. A frustrated father does battle with his stepdaughter's talking doll, whose vocabulary includes such phrases as “I hate you” and “I'm going to kill you”.
Seeking refuge from a storm, a traveler comes upon a bizarre abbey of monks, who have imprisoned a man who begs for his help. When he confronts the head monk, he is told that the man is the Devil, and he must decide whom to believe.
A businessman sitting in his office inexplicably finds that he is on a production set and in a world where he is a movie star. Uninterested in the newfound fame, he fights to get back to his home and family.
David Gurney wakes up to another ordinary day. Jenny and the other kids don't realize that the kindly yet magical old duffer they play with in the park is really an intergalactic fugitive hiding out till two serious men come looking for him, asking questions that test their friendship.
Before leaving on a decades long mission, astronaut Douglas Stanfield meets a woman and falls in love. A hung-over couple awaken to find themselves not only in a strange house, but in a deserted town, where nothing is as it should be.
A suburban dinner party is interrupted by a bulletin warning of an impending nuclear attack. As the neighbors scramble to prepare themselves, they turn against the one family that installed a permanent bomb shelter.
Telephone calls begin to haunt a disabled elderly woman. When a woman investigates a clamor on the roof of her rural house, she discovers a small UFO and little aliens emerging from it.
Charlotte Scott and policeman Robert Franklin seem to be stalked by giants. For years, Rod Serling’s “The TwilightZone worked in many moods and genres, from gentle magic realism to cosmic horror.
In time after a devastating nuclear war the last man on Earth (Charles Bronson) finds out he’s not alone one day while making his rounds when he stumbles across another survivor (Elizabeth Montgomery). By turns tough and tender, Montgomery in the more difficult role of having no dialogue says pages with a suspicious flick of the eyes, or a hard won wary smile.
In a totalitarian society a librarian (Burgess Meredith)is judged obsolete by a tribunal led by a merciless Fritz Weaver. Weaver has underestimated Meredith’s courage, and cunning, and on a visit to gloat at the man’s impending death he finds himself locked in Meredith’s apartment, forced to share the man’s fate unless he relents and admits that there might be more to life, and the universe than the hard, inflexible code he has destroyed society with.
Meredith turned in several iconic performances on “The TwilightZone but my favorite is his librarian in “The Obsolete Man,” the quiet resistance of free will and the soul that gnaws through the root of fascism. Fritz Weaver got a turn to be the hero in this episode as a scientist trying to save his family from war that will destroy the planet.
Time is running out for their escape, and they’ve attracted the attention of an oily coworker (Edward Andrews) who loves needless destruction almost as much as he hates the idea of refugees fleeing to safety. Spielberg directed one of the segments of the TwilightZone movie in 1983 and the show’s influence on his work is seen clearly in this episode.
“Little Girl Lost” is exceptional for showing how “The TwilightZone could take the sets and budgets of sixties television and make something that truly felt otherworldly out of them. The lengths parent will go to aid their children is illustrated another way in this story of a father who accidentally stumbles into the future.
Robertson’s shock and fear quickly give way to desperately trying to find any kind of aid for his son and to get back to him. This is perhaps the episode that should be shown in high school history and civics classes as a warning and a rebuke to being ruled by fear.
And there’s a helplessness watching a suburban neighborhood turn on each other in how little we’ve progressed and in many ways regressed since that episode originally aired. The simple story of a young woman (Singer Stevens) dogged by a mysterious figure (Leonard Strong) who turns out to be Death could be a cold tale of the inevitability of life’s end.
Strong’s Death is frightening, able to appear out of nowhere and refusing to be left behind at a series of money gas stations and cafés on a desert road far from anywhere. After a fateful phone call Stevens wanders back to her car, her voice over remarking that all she feels now is a strange peace.
But the pleasure lies in watching Redford gently coax the old woman into realizing that her fear of death is also what’s kept her from living. And that if we acknowledge the end of life as part of its process it stops being the boogeyman and becomes something we can live with, however long we have on this earth.
A salesman (Ed Wynn) makes a deal with Death (Murray Hamilton) to not take him until he’s made the one perfect sale. The generosity of characters, often small-time operators and ordinary people not marked by any great destiny, that transforms them into heroic figures even if only for one hot summer night is an enduring pleasure of the show.
Today marks the unofficial holiday to celebrate the classic sci-fi series. For those living under a rock, The TwilightZone is a sci-fi anthology series that ran from 1959 to 1964 on CBS.
With its creepy atmosphere and social criticism, its influence is seen in countless television shows and movies. It has smart writing, plot twists, and some truly terrifying scenarios.
The episode follows a bookworm who just wants time to read and a nuclear catastrophe that leaves him utterly alone. The famous final scene is absolutely devastating and will stick with viewers for a long time.
Eye of the Beholder (2×06) This episode is an excellent example of The TwilightZone‘s sharp social commentary. In this episode a woman is recovering from surgery in her final attempt to look “beautiful”.
The woman’s completely bandaged face and the shadowy figures of the doctors and nurses make for an incredibly creepy atmosphere. The episode’s iconic twist ending shows that beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.
In a small town a community does everything to please a young boy, in fear that if they don’t, he will harm them with his powers. When a race of aliens come to earth claiming to be friendly and wanting to help, the U.S. government’s cryptography staff investigate the claims by attempting to decode a book left by the aliens.
Nightmare at 20,000 Feet (5×03) This episode stars William Shatter and takes place during one horrific plane ride. In “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” a man who recently suffered a nervous breakdown (Shatter) claims to see a creature on the wing of a plane.
Like Shatter’s character, the audience feels like they cannot escape the terrifying situation. “Living Doll” follows a hotheaded man who struggles to get along with his stepdaughter.
To the stepfather the doll says such terrifying things as: “My name is Talky Tina, and I am beginning to hate you”.