Rod Serling's original Twilight Zone was defined by genre-twisting stories that upending what audiences thought television could be. Each episode found a way to affect both the heart and mind, while also playing with your deepest fears, using the fantastical elements of horror and science fiction to make sense of an even darker reality. It was the epitome of necessary television. The Twilight Zone reboot coming to CBS All Access may not be as unequivocally groundbreaking or unique as the original, but it is every bit as necessary, if not more so.
Just like the classic series, this Twilight Zone is an anthology program designed to take viewers on a journey to a world that looks just like ours, but comes with its own unexpected twists and turns. The only major difference in the two shows, outside of the use of color this time around, is that Jordan Peele has taken over for Rod Serling on screen as the narrator, in addition to his creative duties behind the scenes.
Although Peele has openly admitted that he was hesitant to take over for Serling as the Twilight Zone host, it's a good thing he changed his mind. Peele carries the same mysterious aura that made Serling so right for the job, but with an added level of grandeur in his delivery. It certainly doesn't hurt that films like Us and Get Out have already established Peele as one of the most intriguing minds in entertainment. When you see him on screen, it's almost as if you mentally buckle yourself in for a crazy road ahead, and that feeling really plays into the tone of the stories in The Twilight Zone.
Just like in his directorial efforts, Peele's reboot of The Twilight Zone fully understands that our society needs to be examined in different ways if we have any hopes of fixing what's become broken. Each of the four episodes that were made available for this review took aim at a glaring issue in our world - specifically the Unites States - in 2019. Unlike just about every other series out there, Twilight Zone dives headfirst into what scares us about our own lives, and makes us reflect on how we could be handling them, perhaps more than we're comfortable with.
That's the key with The Twilight Zone. Discomfort. There's a nagging feeling you get as each episode unfolds and the light bulb flips on in your head, and you realize just how close to home the story actually is. Sure you may not be a struggling stand-up comedian or a police officer in Alaska, but you know exactly what each of these characters is going through. You can feel what they feel, often times on a cellular level, and that discomfort is what keeps you so immersed in the stories being told on the screen.
Very few TV shows in 2019 can make you consider the world around you quite like The Twilight Zone will. This is truly television designed to make a change in the way we view things, in hopes that the grim fairy tales will serve as fair warning before we befall the same fates as these characters. The Twilight Zone is equal parts ominous and exciting, mysterious and enlightened. It's a beautifully produced series full of wonder and terror, and I believe Rod Serling would be damn proud of it.
Rating: 5 out of 5
The Twilight Zone premieres on CBS All Access on April 1st.