Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Imgaine if you will.

In keeping with my New Year's Resolution (well more like a notion; definitely no expectation of a long term commitment) to post more entries, I'm providing you, the lucky readers of the internet, with part two of my 2008 Twilight Zone Marathon Choice Picks. I must note that I spent basically the whole day at my cableless uncle's house so alas I missed a rather large chunk of the New Year's Day episodes, however there are still roughly nine hours of groundbreaking Sci-Fi television left, with many prime episodes still to be shown.

To make sure you take these early steps into the New Year right, here's another 5 Victor-approved classics (once again Eastern Standard Time):
  • 7:30pm "Number 12 Looks Just Like You" - This is a standout among the many, many "dystopian future" episodes of the series. A young rebellious girl causes great confusion among her friends and family when she doesn't want to enter into "The Transformation", a body modification process that everyone undergoes at age 19 which makes them beautiful, immune to disease, and look exactly the same. While an excellent commentary on 50's/early 60's conformity, I was more impressed by the main actress who walks a difficult, fine line between unattractive and beautiful.

  • 11:00pm "Nightmare at 20,000 ft." - What more can I say about this episode that most already don't know. If you somehow have no idea what this episode is about, by all means watch it before someone ruins the entire story for you. A sharp looking William Shatner plays the mentally fragile airplane passenger desperately trying to stop a mysterious monster from downing the plane while struggling to find someone who believes him. This episode might be better known to you many as that Simpson's Treehouse of Horror segment "Terror at 5 1/2 Feet". While it has lost some of its power, the tense, claustrophobic directing of a young Richard Donner and Shatner's going mental performance still make it a keeper.
  • 12:00am "The Masks" - For some reason I almost always end up catching this at the end of every yearly marathon. It's actually a pretty good one to top off the viewing since it has one of the most satisfying conclusions of any Twilight Zone episode. The set up is pure Twilight Zone, an dying old millionaire invites his ungrateful, horrible family to Mardi Gras to will over his possessions with (get this!) a catch! The excellent performances all around by the family and the old man along with the twist make this more of a standout than the general description would have you believe.
  • 1:00am "The Howling Man" - Definitely one of the most high concept of Twilight Zone episodes. A man explains in flashback how while traveling through Europe he sought shelter in the monastery of a bizarre order of monks. He soon discovers they are holding a tortured sounding man captive in their castle who the monks claim to be the devil himself. The man is torn between releasing the individual or believing their crazy story. The whole thing sounds fairly ridiculous but on a deeper level its themes deal with man's inherent curiosity and temptation.
  • 2:00am "The Obsolete Man" - It's another Burgess Meredith classic to round out my list. We venture back to the dystopian future, except this time it's a totalitarian society where Meredith's character is deemed obsolete by the state and ordered to die. He is given his choice of assassin and undisclosed method of death. After he decides this he invites the fascist Chancellor who sentenced him for a final meeting; any other details would ruin the rest of the episode. While there's the climatic conclusion at the end, the confrontation between Meredith and the Chancellor is really the heart of the story that sets it up for the big inevitable ending.
Well, that's it for now. Officially the marathon goes up until 5:00am if the SciFi website schedule is as accurate as it should be. If I remember I'll try to do another more prepared list like this next year; there were definitely some major ones I regret missing, but perhaps I might be able to catch them again during the fairly frequent regularly scheduled airings of...The Twilight Zone.


  1. I've been watching the Twilight Zone marathon too! The Obsolete Man is my all-time favourite Twilight Zone episode.

  2. It's a very underrated episode.