‘Twilight Zone’ Old & New

(Above source: MeTV)

Starting Monday, May 27, MeTV will air episodes of the 1980s reboot of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone – weeknights at 12:30 am ET and Sundays at midnight.

The series aired two seasons (1985 -1987) on CBS and a third season (1988-1989) in syndication, for a total of 65 episodes.

The show’s format fluctuated. Season one consisted of one-hour episodes, many offering two or more stories. Seasons two and three were reduced to a half-hour, and the last season focused on one story per episode.The series had no Serling-like host, though it had a narrator — first Charles Aidman, an alum of the original series, and then Robin Ward.

The ’80s Twilight Zone featured contributions from some of the biggest names in science fiction and filmmaking. The premiere episode, “Shatterday,” based on a Harlan Ellison story, was directed by Wes Craven, who helmed the Scream movie franchise. It starred Bruce Willis, shortly before his successful move to the big screen.

Reflecting The Twilight Zone’s signature balance of terror, fantasy and humor, other episodes were directed by Gremlins’ Joe Dante, The Exorcist’s William Friedkin and comedian David Steinberg. Writers included Game of Thrones’ George R.R. Martin and horror novelist Stephen King.

The cast included a who’s who of stars: Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, Robert Carradine, Ralph Bellamy, Martin Balsam, Colleen Dewhurst, Vincent Gardenia and Martin Landau.

A handful of episodes are available to stream for free on YouTube.

Other Versions

Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) included contributions from directors Stephen Spielberg, Dante, John Landis and George Miller. The film comprised remakes of three classic episodes: “It’s A Good Life,” “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” and “Kick the Can.” A fourth story, based on the 1961 episode, “A Quality of Mercy,” “was truncated due to the tragic on-set death of actor Vic Morrow and two child actors.

You can stream Twilight Zone: The Movie for free on Vudu.

A 2002 TV revival, starring Forest Whitaker as the on-screen host, ran for one 22-episode season on UPN. It also consisted of a one-hour format with two 30-minute stories. You can find a few episodes to stream for free on YouTube. Here is “Sunrise.”

Then there’s Jordan Peele’s new Zone on subscription streamer CBS All Access. So far this year, its inaugural season, the series has dropped eight of 10 planned episodes.

CBS All Access offers a $9.99/month almost commercial-free version, and a $5.99/month plan with ads. For more information, visit CBS All Access.

The Original

You can stream all five seasons of the original The Twilight Zone (1959-1964) with subscriptions to Hulu and CBS All Access; episodes from some seasons are also available via other subscription streaming services. You can buy individual episodes starting at $1.99 from Vudu and other providers, and find episodes to stream for free on Dailymotion.

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About Larry Greenberg

A former local beat reporter and film critic, co-founder Lawrence Greenberg has more than 25 years’ experience as a writer and public relations executive.

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