I watched the new Twilight Zone last night

I liked it. I’m not one for posting lengthy academic analyses about things, because I’m incapable of that, but as a lifelong fan of the original and the ’80s reboot, as well as a great admirer of Serling’s, I found it worthy a worthy successor. It “felt like” the Twilight Zone, if that makes any sense. My wife enjoyed it as well, and now we have yet another new show to watch together.

My only beef with it is the profanity. F-bombs don’t bother me in the context of an R-rated movie or TV-MA series that was conceived as such, but the Twilight Zone has always been a property that the entire family could sit down and watch together. The profanity included in Peele’s version could alienate potential younger viewers who would in turn go back and discover and appreciate the original series, much as I did when I saw my first episode of the original series way back in 1989.

I could say the same for Star Trek: Discovery, which is also a fine show, but one that I’d hesitate to allow a younger child to view. I simply don’t think it’s a smart move to include explicit language just because the streaming/paywall nature of the shows allow for it. It is possible to create an intelligent, socially relevant, adult-oriented show without graphic sexuality and language so that smart, perceptive younger viewers can watch and be intellectually stimulated as well.

If you’re some kind of feeble-brained, one-dimensional simpleton who believes every bullshit info-meme that comes across his Facebook feed, then you’re not going to understand the point I’m trying to make here.

I like Aliens, Terminator, Robocop and lots of other stuff with sex, language and violence. Those things aren’t an issue for me because I’m not a child. Imagine, though, if E.T. II was released today and it showed Elliot as a depressed, fat, alcoholic adult who realizes that nothing in his life will ever top escaping FBI agents on a flying bicycle powered by an alien. Everything is boring and disappointing in comparison.

Well, come to think of it, that could work. That’s a great idea, if I do say so myself. For me, as an adult, I’d find such a movie immensely enjoyable, but it probably wouldn’t be something you’d let your kids watch.

But, whatever. The show was good, it had some classic TZ premises with classic TZ twists at the end. I thought “The Comedian” in which the main character, an unfunny guy trying to catch a break in the world of standup comedy, was quite thought-provoking. “Put yourself out there, and people will laugh, but you’ll lose that part of yourself.”

He talks about his nephew, and his nephew disappears, having never been born. He’s jealous of his lawyer girlfriend’s “mentor,” who he erases from existence, only to discover that his girlfriend never would’ve become a lawyer without his influence. She works at a diner. Whoops, spoiler alert.

The second episode featured a guy listening to his favorite podcast on a plane, but the podcast is from the future and about the disappearance of the very flight he’s on. Great episode, too.

I’ve read a lot of commentary, by people who haven’t seen the show, about Peele turning their beloved classic franchise into some sort of left-wing progressive propaganda vehicle. I don’t see it, unless you count the mere presence of non-white people as “liberal.” I don’t. That’s fucking silly. It looks like life in 2019. Whoop de doo. People who don’t look like you are out there existing and doing things, get over yourself. There’s room for everyone to play in this playground we call speculative fiction. And, contrary to all the naysaying, white people are not being excluded. The plane episode was mostly white people and a white heterosexual man was the lead, so there goes your “Jordan Peele hates white heterosexual people” theory.

It is the twilight zone, as much as it can be without Serling’s magic touch. Only difference is that it’s updated with modern settings and references. If you can’t get past that, think of it as its own thing. Based upon the two episodes I’ve seen, I’m a fan.

4 thoughts on “I watched the new Twilight Zone last night

  1. The use of comic actors in serious roles is a nice touch. There’s a lot of depth there that people don’t usually consider when thinking about people who normally make them laugh.

  2. That was actually the thing I was worried most about when I first heard about this. I know Peele as a comedian. He’s not exactly the person I’d expect to see doing the Twilight Zone.

  3. Yeah, but then when you think about it, funny people are often pretty deep. Or disturbed. Certainly depressed. They also tend to be good at emoting. I confess that I had similar thoughts about Tracy Morgan’s part on the episode. But then I thought, eh, maybe he’ll surprise me. And he did. Solid performance. Kind of like when they’d have Don Rickles in a serious role. Like Casino. Robin Williams, etc.

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