Jordan Peele’s revival finds its own place in “The Twilight Zone”

Lucas Torborg
A&E Editor

It is extremely coincidential that the introduction to the classic 1958 television anthology seriess begins with the sentence, “It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity.” In many respects this sentence describes the show itself – timeless.

“The Twilight Zone” created and presented by master playwright and screenwriter Rod Serling is over 60 years old, but was at least 100 years ahead of its time when it was created. The show focused on stories with underlying themes of the common fears, anxiety, and social issues that are still relevant today. Because of this, it is still being discovered by kids of new generations and is referenced on the daily. Twilight Zone has opened not only “a gateway to another dimension”, but also a gateway to writing and filmmaking to many young viewers such as Stephen Speilberg, and Jordan Peele.

When it was announced that the Twilight Zone would be revived for the current generation many enthusiasts of the original were skeptical due to the fact that the original show simply cannot be replicated. 

This has been proven by the three previous efforts for a revival of the series; the 1980’s series which felt cheap and lacked the charm or visual appeal from the previous, the late 80’s anthology film that bombed at the Box Office regardless of Stephen Spielberg’s involvement and lastly the short-lived and ultimately forgettable 2002 revival. The thing that seemed to be missing from these reboots was the involvement of Rod Serling who passed away in 1975.

When CBS announced that Jordan Peele would take the place of Rod Serling in the revival and act as a co-writer, producer, and presenter, it seemed like a great choice. Jordan Peele’s 2018 hit film “Get Out” took the world by storm and his tight thought-provoking screenplay won him an academy award. 

Peele’s passion for horror and the Twilight Zone felt as if the revival would be in safe hands, in fact Peele conjured up the idea behind his new hit movie “Us” from a Twilight zone episode.

Two episodes were released to the streaming service CBS All Access April 1, “The Comedian” and “Nightmare at 30,000 feet”, “The Comedian” can also be found on Youtube for free. Each episode has a very unique, and surreal style of filming along with amazing retro-like set design. These aspects make this revival of the story feel more unique than the other revivals, and adds a bit of magic that was present in the the original series.

The weakest of the episodes, stars Kumail Nanjiani from “The Big Sick” and tells the story of a struggling comedian who discovers that telling jokes based on his own life get more laugh, however this discovery leaves to many consequences. This episode looks great and has some every interesting and dark commentary on comedy acts, however, the very slow pacing and messing dialogue creates for a slightly boring and a mildly disappointing first episode.

“Nightmare at 30,000 feet” starring Adam Scott is a remake of sorts to the classic original episode “Nightmare at 20,000 feet”. Although this episode takes place on a plane like the original instead of a monster on a wing of the plane, the main character finds a podcast on an mp3 player, presumably from the future, that indicates that the plane Scott’s character is on had disappered. 

This episode is great because of its simple, yet extremely suspenseful plot, that will make keep audiences guessing. This in many ways is the same reasons the best episodes in the original series.

The new series is not at the level of the original series and there is no way it could have been, it is impossible to entirely encapsulated what made the original so great, but nostalgia could be involved. However, the new Twilight Zone is its own show, but inspired by the themes, and ironic twists of the original. In fact, easter eggs from the original show can be found certain scenes of the revival. 

Although, only two episodes have been released this is the best Twilight Zone since the original and it will definitely rival another similar anthology show “Black Mirror”.

Header photo courtesy of the Associated Press.

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