Long before today’s addictive programming — shows like “Game of Thrones,” “Black Mirror” and “The Walking Dead” that have captivated millions — there was “The Twilight Zone,” one of the first-ever legitimately addicting, binge-worthy television series made up of chilling storylines and shocking twists. Now, 59 years since the release of the very first episode, and soon to be remade by Jordan Peele, “The Twilight Zone” remains challenging, compelling and scary.
Each episode opens with a creepy voice- over narration, accompanied by its eerie, spine-tingling theme music, that effortlessly reels viewers into the surreal dimension that is “The Twilight Zone.” This piece of music went on to become an icon in the world of media and directly inspired many musical scores in television and film that followed, just as many episodes of the classic anthology series have inspired concepts for countless films and TV series.
It’s difficult to find a single boring “Twilight Zone” episode. Each chapter is rich with great ideas, engaging storylines and lessons that still ring true today. While most of the episodes fall under the science-fiction and fantasy genres, there are some that are legitimately creepy (and hold up very well, I must add), such as “Eye of the Beholder,” “The Dummy” and “Living Doll.”
Of the many tremendous “Twilight Zone” episodes, one of the best, most genuinely unnerving is
“Eye of the Beholder,” an amazing commentary on societal standards and a masterclass of suspense-fueled storytelling. The episode tells the story of a woman named Janet, who lays in a hospital bed after undergoing tons of plastic surgery. She inflicts all of the medical procedures upon herself in an effort to look “normal,” to not be ugly, to be beautiful just like everybody else. The plot twist in “Eye of the Beholder” is as thematically rich as it is shocking, and good lord… it’s shocking.
Another terrific episode is “The Hitch-Hiker,” about a woman named Nan, driving from point A to point B, who keeps running into a creepy hitchhiker dressed in a button-down, blazer and hat. As if he possesses supernatural powers, the hitchhiker constantly pops up after Nan passes him, which forces her to think that he’s out to get her. Taut, gripping and tons of creepy fun,
“The Hitch-Hiker” is classic “Twilight Zone,” a chapter that will linger hours after it ends.
“To Serve Man,” “The Masks,” “Twenty Two,” and “The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street” are just a few more great entries in a series full of crazy-good stories. Luckily, the entire series is available to stream on Netflix.
If you haven’t seen “The Twilight Zone,” make viewing it a priority.