Twilight Zone Episodes Seem Even Eerier Now

Series often examined human behavior in isolation
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2020 8:30 PM CDT
‘Twilight Zone’ Prepared Us for Worse Than This
Rod Serling began "The Twilight Zone" in 1959.   (AP Photo/Bob Wands, File)

An electrician looked out over the empty streets of New York City one morning last week and considered the change. "It's like the Twilight Zone," he said, the Wall Street Journal reports. "That energy you get from New York—it’s all the people. Now there’s no people." That's how Burgess Meredith felt in an episode of the original series, The Twilight Zone. And how Jack Warden and Shelly Berman felt in others. Rod Serling's series, launched in 1959, often examined what life would be like, and what we'd be like, in isolation. The series looked at that and other external threats, as well as the threats from our own behavior. We might not always be at our best if that energy was gone.

Decades later, The Twilight Zone can be found on cable channels and streaming services, offering understanding and lessons in black and white. The Washington Post has compiled a list of the seven most relevant episodes. Refinery29 was able to hold its recommendations to five, including "Nightmare At 20,000 Feet"—in which no one would listen to William Shatner about that monster on the wing of the plane. Here's the Post's list:

  1. "Time Enough at Last" Meredith alone is left after a nuclear attack, thrilled that he can now do nothing but read.
  2. "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street" On an idyllic street, neighbors turn against each other when they fear an alien is about.
  3. "The Lonely" Warden's solitary confinement is eased by a robot.
  4. "The Mind and the Matter" Berman's wish to be rid of other people comes true.
  5. "The Shelter" The possibility of a nuclear attack forces a doctor with a bomb shelter to choose whom to save.
  6. "The Whole Truth" A smooth-talking car salesman loses his greatest skill.
  7. "Where Is Everybody?" Earl Holliman encounters home, theaters, streets—but no people.
(Read more coronavirus stories.)

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