The Twilight Zone: Season 1 (review)

No, the other one: This is the mid-1980s do-over, not the classic of early television, and yet even though you kinda remember it being pretty cheesy, it’s still compulsively watchable. The very first story of the very first episode hints at why: It stars Bruce Willis, it’s based on a story by Harlan Ellison story, and it’s directed by Wes Craven. Wow. Behind the camera and in front of it, the roster of creative talent that contributed to just this first season, dating from fall 1985 and spring 1986, is stunning: Stephen King and Arthur C. Clarke, William Friedkin and Joe Dante, Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren, William Petersen and Frances McDormand. And that just scratches the surface (the names who appear on the bonus audio commentaries are impressive, too). Yes, it’s true that most of the spooky stories here rely on “surprise” endings that are eminently predictable, or are based on science-fiction stories I read years ago. Yes, it’s true that this reimagining cannot re-create the eerie atmosphere that Rod Serling’s deadpan voiceovers and the moody use of black-and-white soaked the original series in. It may be junk-food TV, but I’m hooked.

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