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Could I Get Some 'Twilight Zone' Episode Recommendations? 
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Post Could I Get Some 'Twilight Zone' Episode Recommendations?
Fairly new-ish to the series despite having loved and quoted classic episode "It's A Good Life" for many a year. I've watched a random handful of late (excellent "Night Call", terrible "The Fear", pretty good "Living Doll" and a couple of others) and have developed a taste. Seeing as it's available everywhere I looked and I don't want to waste time on the filler episodes I'm putting out a soft call for some of your favorite episodes. And you can do whatever else you want with this thread. It's your sandbox.

I realize, of course, that I could Google "Best of" lists and the like. That's for housewives and little girls. So, please, let me know what you've loved.

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Mon Dec 01, 2014 11:22 pm
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Post Re: Could I Get Some 'Twilight Zone' Episode Recommendations?
"Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" with Shatner is always a classic. And "Nick of Time" with Shatner as well is pretty good.

"The Invaders" with Agnes Moorehead is good and makes a run at having the least amount of dialogue of any 30 minutes of TV....ever.

"Time Enough At Last" with the great Burgess Meredith.

"Kick The Can"

"The Little People" has an ending that is a little trite, but is otherwise fun.

"A Most Unusual Camera"

"The Midnight Sun"

"A Stop at Willoughby"

"It's a Good Life" (with Billy Mumy) Throw in "Long Distance Call" for more Billy Mumy and more disquietment (not a word)

"The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street" is also very, very good.

"To Serve Man" is probably one of the most famous episodes of the whole run

"Eye of the Beholder"

"The Shelter"

"One More Pallbearer" (makes a nice companion piece to "The Shelter" if nuclear bunkers are your thing.)

"The Fever" is one I always remember when I visit Vegas.

I recall all of those above off the top of my head....not sure if they are all "great", but after 35-40 years (since I first saw them) they were certainly memorable. What a great series "The Twilight Zone" was. Have you ever seen any of its bastard stepbrother episodes from "The Outer Limits" series? While Twilight Zone had 156 original episodes, "The Outer Limits" only had 49.


Tue Dec 02, 2014 3:09 pm
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Post Re: Could I Get Some 'Twilight Zone' Episode Recommendations?
You've my sincere thanks, Johnny. Some of the episodes I've seen haven't had the kind of crane shots you always wanted but, given the budget, they still work their mojo.

I watched "The Invaders" a few nights back and liked it, more or less. More because the idea of a dialogue-free episode was really cool and because it generated some good suspense. It also had an ending that has become kind of cliche but, at the time, must have blown minds. Some points off for what I thought was kind of a poor, or at least irritating, performance by Agnes Moorehead who was convincing when she wasn't breathing and groaning like the neighborhood pederast. And she was breathing heavily and groaning for so very much of that episode. I suppose a more generous soul would say "Ah, but maybe that's because of the twist." Maybe! It was still comical.

Most of those you listed are episodes I haven't seen and for that I'm grateful. I know the legend of "Eye of the Beholder" and there isn't a man alive who doesn't know how it ends but that doesn't mean I won't be watching. Because I will.

Watched the last-broadcast episode, "The Bewitchin' Pool", last night. It was terrible! I had to appeal to wikipedia for a reason as to why half of the episode's dialogue was very, very obviously dubbed. But even with that out of the equation there was still the script.

Anyway, because even I'm wondering how long before this post will end, I thank you again and close with this fun fact: Billy Mumy was 50% of Barnes and Barnes, the duo that gave us classic novelty track "Fish Heads". I'll bet you knew that, too. Well, now you know it even more.

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Tue Dec 02, 2014 3:46 pm
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Post Re: Could I Get Some 'Twilight Zone' Episode Recommendations?
Mark III wrote:
You've my sincere thanks, Johnny. Some of the episodes I've seen haven't had the kind of crane shots you always wanted but, given the budget, they still work their mojo.


Always love a great crane shot. But if money is no object, the helicopter shot is great if you can sneak it in there.

Mark III wrote:
Anyway, because even I'm wondering how long before this post will end, I thank you again and close with this fun fact: Billy Mumy was 50% of Barnes and Barnes, the duo that gave us classic novelty track "Fish Heads". I'll bet you knew that, too. Well, now you know it even more.


Anyone who's heard of Dr. Demento should know that little tidbit. I have and I did.


Tue Dec 02, 2014 4:31 pm
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Post Re: Could I Get Some 'Twilight Zone' Episode Recommendations?
CALLING ALL KUNZES! CALLING ALL KUNZES!

I'm a huge TZ fan. Huge. Do you know why New Years has historically been my favorite holiday? Because of the Twilight Zone fucking marathon that's why. So forgive me if this goes on for several pages. And please feel free to email me any TZ related thoughts. I'm serious. I love this show like a family member.

All Time Greats (Season)
Time Enough at Last (1)
The quintessential TZ episode. Manages to tell a great story in 25 minutes, with little bits of characterization and quirkiness that elevate it above SciFi punch into tragic art.
To Serve Man (3)
If you haven't had this one ruined for you yet...well, you're in for a treat
The Midnight Sun (3)
Probably my favorite episode. Because it's a great story of the world ending even before it gets all Twilight Zoney
The Obsolete Man (2)
Totalitarianism! Terrific writing!
The Hitch-Hiker (1)
Legitimately scary and unnerving. Even if you see where it's going, it's still creepy
Death's Head Revisited (3)
One of the best early takes on the Holocaust. Rod's closing narration is terrific
Nightmare at Twenty Thousand Feet (5)
As fine a slice of horror-thriller as television can deliver, and with the show's usual devotion to characterization helping to launch it even higher
The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street (1)
One of the most iconic episodes, with more to say about conformity and suburbia than many movies thrice as long and twice as pedigreed.
Five Characters in Search of an Exit (3)
Five characters wake up in an enclosure they don't understand with no memory of who they are. Existentialist in the good way, not the bad way.
Eye of the Beholder (2)
Most people guess the twist, but the direction and themes are so good that it doesn't much matter anyway
Number 12 Looks Just Like You (5)
A companion piece of sorts to Eye of the Beholder, but perhaps the better episode even if less ballyhooed
A Game of Pool (3)
Tension with no guns nor knives nor explosions, simply a game of pool
Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up (2)
A mystery with a sci-fi flair and some delightful characters
The Howling Man (2)
A prisoner in a cell may or may not be the Devil. They play it straight and it's fantastic

Call me when you need Tier 2!

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Tue Dec 02, 2014 4:33 pm
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Post Re: Could I Get Some 'Twilight Zone' Episode Recommendations?
As a kid I always tried to figure out what image from the preceding episode they would use as background image to the closing credits that the producers intended to be the final "take away". Usually guessed it right but other times they weren't so obvious.


Tue Dec 02, 2014 4:42 pm
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Post Re: Could I Get Some 'Twilight Zone' Episode Recommendations?
Ace work, Mr. Kunz! I will get cracking on those and report back on some of my findings.

As I put everyone's suggestions into an easy-reference spreadsheet I noticed that not one recommendation comes from the fourth season. No love for the hour-long format?

Will almost certainly make this my next tv show (edging out The Walking Dead for the moment) and look forward to the little-mentioned highlights. God, I love hyphens.

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Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:27 pm
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Post Re: Could I Get Some 'Twilight Zone' Episode Recommendations?
Mark III wrote:
Ace work, Mr. Kunz! I will get cracking on those and report back on some of my findings.

As I put everyone's suggestions into an easy-reference spreadsheet I noticed that not one recommendation comes from the fourth season. No love for the hour-long format?

Will almost certainly make this my next tv show (edging out The Walking Dead for the moment) and look forward to the little-mentioned highlights. God, I love hyphens.


The hour long format is so bad that most marathons don't even show them. I'm the biggest TZ fan everz and I've never even seen some of them. It's like that album by the band you love that you acknowledge is terrible -- only listen to it after you've listened to all the classics

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Tue Dec 02, 2014 6:29 pm
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Post Re: Could I Get Some 'Twilight Zone' Episode Recommendations?
I don't think I have watched more than 10 episodes of the show yet, but my favorite so far (and also with no one mentioning it yet) is "Walking Distance". A slight departure because the tone is rather wistful instead of mysterious. I think it is very touching, and you can tell it's very personal to Rod Sterling too; his voice cracked a little in the narration at the end.

I also second Kunz' "Five Characters in Search of an Exit". Very intriguing set-up (reminded me a bit of Cube) and satisfying pay-off.


Tue Dec 02, 2014 8:15 pm
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Post Re: Could I Get Some 'Twilight Zone' Episode Recommendations?
A few more I thought of as I was drifting off to sleep last night:

"A Kind of a Stopwatch" and "A Penny For Your Thoughts" are interesting "what would YOU do" type stories.

"Nothing in the Dark" is notable for featuring a very young Robert Redford.

Then I thought of the episode "I Robot"...but then research shows that was actually from the TV series The Outer Limits. You should check that one out if you have the chance. (It's got Leonard Nimoy in it as a bonus.)

Harlan Ellison wrote a few episodes for The Outer Limits which a couple were "borrowed" from for the movie The Terminator by James Cameron.


Wed Dec 03, 2014 9:40 am
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Post Re: Could I Get Some 'Twilight Zone' Episode Recommendations?
Great show, but the only episodes I remember are the Shatner flight, Eye of the Beholder, and Two. Two may or may not be any good. I have no objectivity concerning that episode as I was hopelessly smitten with Elizabeth Montgomery and have always been a fan of Charles Bronson.


Wed Dec 03, 2014 7:06 pm
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Post Re: Could I Get Some 'Twilight Zone' Episode Recommendations?
Thanks to peng and CasualDad for further contributions and reinforcements.

Watched and enjoyed 'The Howling Man' and 'Five Characters in Search of an Exit' and wasn't disappointed in either episode, recommendation, person that happened to recommend the episode, Serling and so on. I debated offering up some capsule reviews but won't. Will say that 'Five Characters..." served to remind me that the endings, as notable as they often are, don't necessarily make the entire episode worthwhile. That particular episode's end was a bit silly to me but everything leading up to it was good stuff. Thanks again for the lists, you people.

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Thu Dec 04, 2014 11:55 am
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Post Re: Could I Get Some 'Twilight Zone' Episode Recommendations?
Mark III wrote:
Thanks to peng and CasualDad for further contributions and reinforcements.

Watched and enjoyed 'The Howling Man' and 'Five Characters in Search of an Exit' and wasn't disappointed in either episode, recommendation, person that happened to recommend the episode, Serling and so on. I debated offering up some capsule reviews but won't. Will say that 'Five Characters..." served to remind me that the endings, as notable as they often are, don't necessarily make the entire episode worthwhile. That particular episode's end was a bit silly to me but everything leading up to it was good stuff. Thanks again for the lists, you people.


I really like how Five Characters takes the existential search for life's meaning and makes it a literal, sweaty, fight.

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Thu Dec 04, 2014 3:28 pm
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Post Re: Could I Get Some 'Twilight Zone' Episode Recommendations?
Having a really good time watching these.

The Midnight Sun was excellent. Hat is tipped to JL and JK for this one. They wrote it together, right?
To Serve Man was good and, as a bonus, Richard Kiel. The end was spoiled for me by other vehicles of pop culture, of course.
Walking Distance is a great short film. No twist ending but as good as The Peng(uin) said. Good job.

Not recommended but watched and enjoyed were these:

Stopover In A Quiet Town, which I found wonderfully eerie even if the story had no real purpose. Great atmosphere, great suspense.

Person or Persons Unknown, another great episode dealing with existential struggle and the timeless struggle with old Greek questions. Plus it has a man leaping right through a closed window. Right through the glass that guy went.

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Sun Dec 07, 2014 1:17 am
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Post Re: Could I Get Some 'Twilight Zone' Episode Recommendations?
Mark III wrote:
Having a really good time watching these.

The Midnight Sun was excellent. Hat is tipped to JL and JK for this one. They wrote it together, right?
To Serve Man was good and, as a bonus, Richard Kiel. The end was spoiled for me by other vehicles of pop culture, of course.
Walking Distance is a great short film. No twist ending but as good as The Peng(uin) said. Good job.

Not recommended but watched and enjoyed were these:

Stopover In A Quiet Town, which I found wonderfully eerie even if the story had no real purpose. Great atmosphere, great suspense.

Person or Persons Unknown, another great episode dealing with existential struggle and the timeless struggle with old Greek questions. Plus it has a man leaping right through a closed window. Right through the glass that guy went.


Walking Distance is one I didn't really appreciate until I got older. As a kid, it was so boring but now I really dig Gig Young's loneliness. Stopover in a Quiet Town is indeed good. The point where the train arrives back to Centerville is a perfect TZ moment. Then Person or Persons Unknown is interesting in that, along with Mirror Image and a few others, it's truly a mean episode. The TZ typically has a deeply moral streak. Good things happen ultimately to good people and bad to bad. But sometimes even the TZ universe is just malevolent, and so it is here.

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Sun Dec 07, 2014 10:12 am
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Post Re: Could I Get Some 'Twilight Zone' Episode Recommendations?
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge is a great short film that won an Oscar then aired as a Twilight Zone ep 2 years later.


Mon Dec 08, 2014 2:22 pm
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Post Re: Could I Get Some 'Twilight Zone' Episode Recommendations?
Quote:
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge is a great short film that won an Oscar then aired as a Twilight Zone ep 2 years later.


This was really great; remember seeing the short in junior high after we read the story.

I've only a couple of episodes left before I'll have wrapped up all recommended episodes. The only one I've thought was subpar was "The Odyssey of Flight 33" which may have been a nice idea on paper but was fairly boring when flashing in front of my eyes. Only myself to blame for that one. Only myself to blame for "Long Distance Call", another Bill Mumy episode and one of the better entries from the show's brief "shot on video because our budget was cut" spell.

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Thu Dec 11, 2014 3:56 pm
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Post Re: Could I Get Some 'Twilight Zone' Episode Recommendations?
Mark III wrote:
Quote:
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge is a great short film that won an Oscar then aired as a Twilight Zone ep 2 years later.


This was really great; remember seeing the short in junior high after we read the story.

I've only a couple of episodes left before I'll have wrapped up all recommended episodes. The only one I've thought was subpar was "The Odyssey of Flight 33" which may have been a nice idea on paper but was fairly boring when flashing in front of my eyes. Only myself to blame for that one. Only myself to blame for "Long Distance Call", another Bill Mumy episode and one of the better entries from the show's brief "shot on video because our budget was cut" spell.


I like the Howard Hawks-esque "men at work" aspect of Odyssey of Flight 33, as the five (!) men in the cockpit attempt to figure out what's happening and why. It's not terrific as a piece of drama, but I like it

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Thu Dec 11, 2014 5:46 pm
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Post Re: Could I Get Some 'Twilight Zone' Episode Recommendations?
JamesKunz wrote:

I like the Howard Hawks-esque "men at work" aspect of Odyssey of Flight 33, as the five (!) men in the cockpit attempt to figure out what's happening and why. It's not terrific as a piece of drama, but I like it


I was ready to call you an apologist but your "I like it" throws a wet blanket all over that fire. And it was such a small fire, too. Pity to smother it so thoroughly.

There are two things I liked about the episode: the dinosaur seemingly making eye contact with the men (accidentally adorable) and the sad resignation that is the episode's denouement.

I'm curious which episodes you don't much like, James.

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Thu Dec 11, 2014 10:21 pm
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Post Re: Could I Get Some 'Twilight Zone' Episode Recommendations?
Mark III wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:

I like the Howard Hawks-esque "men at work" aspect of Odyssey of Flight 33, as the five (!) men in the cockpit attempt to figure out what's happening and why. It's not terrific as a piece of drama, but I like it


I was ready to call you an apologist but your "I like it" throws a wet blanket all over that fire. And it was such a small fire, too. Pity to smother it so thoroughly.

There are two things I liked about the episode: the dinosaur seemingly making eye contact with the men (accidentally adorable) and the sad resignation that is the episode's denouement.

I'm curious which episodes you don't much like, James.


ANYTHING WITH A FUCKING ANGEL! Cavender is Coming is not just bad as a TZ episode, it's an embarrassment to human artistic endeavors. One for the Angels is slow and plodding. Mr. Bevis is a dumb, dumb episode. Execution is meh, with one of the least believable murders in screen history. Twenty-Two is hamstrung by video tape and some truly terrible acting. The Mind and the Matter is a one-trick pony that I never enjoy watching. The Gift is stupid and borderline racist. I Sing the Body Electric is stupid, and then any number of the "we're out of ideas" fifth seasoners -- Ninety Years without Slumbering, Sounds and Silences, Caesar and Me, Come FUCKING Wander with Me, The Fear, and The Bewitching Pool

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Thu Dec 11, 2014 11:40 pm
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