50. The Twilight Zone (1985-1989)

Air Dates: September 27, 1985 - April 15, 1989
Network: CBS
Best Episode: "Nightcrawlers" (October 18, 1985)

In typically unoriginal fashion, TV producers have twice tried to re-launch Rod Serling's history-making The Twilight Zone for modern audiences—the less said about the dreadful second attempt (hosted by Forest Whitaker in 2002) the better. The first effort, braved in 1985 by CBS, fared much better, though rampant mediocrity and, even worse, occasional awfulness was indeed apparent.

Twilight Zone '85 achieved creative success a surprising amount of times, never meeting its predecessor's tier of brilliance, but that's OK—there can only be one Rod Serling. The revival benefitted most from bringing in master filmmakers and wisely picking stories from acclaimed writers (Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, Stephen King) to adapt.

And quite a few episodes remain chilling as fuck today. “Nightcrawlers,” directed by William Friedkin (The Exorcist), is a real knockout, showing a mentally disturbed Vietnam veteran's battlefield nightmares violently manifesting themselves in a roadside diner; “Examination Day” depicts a world where little kids are terminated for being too smart; and the creepy “Something In The Walls” turns an asylum's wallpaper into shrink wrap for ghosts.

blog comments powered by Disqus