FIRST LOOK: The Twilight Zone (2020) Season 2 – CBS All Access June 25

National Twilight Zone Day is being celebrated today, May 11, 2020 — and every May 11th going forward.

A timely day for CBS All Access to announce when Season 2 of the rebooted Twilight Zone series from Jordan Peele and Simon Kinberg is coming.

Thank you, CBS, we have an answer.

The Twilight Zone returns for its second season on CBS All Access on June 25th. CBS announced the premiere date on Monday alongside the debut of the second season’s new trailer to commemorate National Twilight Zone Day. CBS also announced that all 10 episodes of the anthology series will release on the same day. This new iteration of The Twilight Zone comes from executive producers Jordan Peele and Simon Kinberg.

The Twilight Zone Season 2 Trailer Released, Premiere Date Announced

Episodes as in the first season will target a one hour run time. No information yet as to if the black and white versions will be available at launch. With Season 1 they released everything in color first and later dropped the black and white version, which I preferred.

As a lifelong fan of The Twilight Zone, including other non-media like games and media like the magazine, books and comics, I’ve followed the movie and every TV series to date (including the one Forrest Whitaker hosted).

Even when it comes to the classic 1959- TZ, I’m not as big a fan of the hour long episodes. I think the shorter 22-25 minute episodes were best suited. There have been some good longer episodes, including episodes written by Rod Serling himself, but I wish Jordan Peele and team would have focused on telling two or three different stories versus only one longer episode.

What do you think of Jordan Peele’s reboot of Twilight Zone?

The Twilight Zone (2020) Season 2 – all 10 episodes – will be available for streaming on June 25, 2020.

Is The Star Trek Universe Played Out?

The End is the Beginning — that’s the way it is for a universe as expansive as Star Trek

No. That’s the answer to the headline. Louder, no.

There are plenty of great stories in the Star Trek universe that can be told on streaming, in movies, books and more. The galaxy is massive and dare I suggest provides nearly limitless creative potential.

We might disagree on the most recent two Trek ventures (Discovery and Picard), but to suggest any one bad movie, TV show, book, story, etc can ruin the future story potential is silly.

(would say the same thing about the Terminator franchise, btw)

On the heels of my last post: CBS, please scrap Star Trek: Picard Season 2 and give us Star Trek: Next Generation Titan which generated a drive-by disagreement comment (hey, come back, I wanted to discuss the topic in greater depth!), comes a post with 10 more Star Trek series ideas for CBS All Access.

But Star Trek has been making TV shows, movies and more since 1966. There are an incredible number of opportunities for more series, mini-series and movies for CBS All Access.

10 NEW Star Trek Series For CBS All Access We Want To See

Some of the 10 ideas suggested in the linked article quoted above I really liked. The Galactic Core and Holodeck ideas stood out. I’m the type of creative person who looks at this well of creative goodness and sees immense opportunity.

My Twilight Zone TV Series Pitch

I can’t recall ever writing any fan fiction, but the closest I could see myself writing would be some kind of Twilight Zone stories. The coolest thing I’d like to see are an extension — not a reboot — of the original Twilight Zone episodes: filmed in black and white, shadows, substance, same stock Bernard Hermann music, 22-25 minute run time, and a narrator Serling clone who wears the black suit and has the wry Serling expression and cigarette dangling. Heck, even get sponsors that still exist and have retro commercials. So many opportunities with this pitch. If anybody from CBS is reading this, contact me, because, yes, I do have several script ideas. Again, this isn’t a reboot idea, this is a continuation of 1959-1963 in present day. Sacred ground, yes, I know, but if it’s a project done with admiration and love it could be pulled off and amazing. Would you dig seeing a Season 6 of the original series?

Am sure there are fans of Star Trek with ideas they can pitch that are as good as or better than what’s presented in the quote above — or my Star Trek: Next Generation Titan idea. There are also boatloads of books in the Star Trek universe that could be adapted. Picard won’t be the least Star Trek TV series.

Do you have any Star Trek (or other shows they own the IP) pitches for CBS All Access? Go ahead, pitch in the comments. Never know who’s reading!

Caesars Las Vegas offers Twilight Zone by Monster Mini Golf

From the “wish we could have done this while on vacation in Las Vegas” list, comes The Twilight Zone mini golf experience at Caesars.

Looking for an affordable, yet extraordinarily unordinary experience in Vegas? Twilight Zone by Monster Mini Golf is a unique 10,000 square foot themed attraction featuring an extraordinary custom-designed indoor glow-in-the-dark 18-hole miniature golf course entertainment venue.

Twilight Zone by Monster Mini Golf

On May 1 some casinos in Vegas are taking reservations (right now). This is about in line with the 45 days behind China that we are on the pandemic and they are starting to open businesses. We’ll be back in Vegas again, hopefully this summer, so am hoping to catch this cool looking mini golf experience next time.

Flying at 30,000 feet as the sun sets … dreams in the cloud

In the meantime, we’ll just have to dream among the clouds.

TV SERIES Review: The Twilight Zone (1959) S1E1 – Where is Everybody?⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½ (#1 of 156)

Season 1
Episode 1 – “Where is Everybody?”
Written by Rod Serling
Starring: Earl Holliman (living, age 91 as of 2/14/2020)
Original airdate: October 2, 1959

Directed by Robert Stevens

Stevens would direct 2 of the 156 Twilight Zone episodes. He died in 1989.

Story

A man walks along a path into a strange town.

The place is here. The time is now, and the journey into the shadows that we are about to watch, could be our journey.

Opening Narration by Rod Serling for “Where is Everybody?”

It opens with a man (Holliman) checking out a diner. Coffee is brewing, pies are cooking.

Fresh pies and coffee brewing … Where Is Everybody?

He calls out for people and looks around and while it looks like there should at least be workers in the kitchen, nobody is around.

Next he goes outside and sees a woman in a car. He calls out to her, starts talking about wondering where all the people in town went?

“Hey Miss! Miss! Over here!” As he closes in on the woman in the car, he explains that he can’t find anybody else in town and that he doesn’t remember who he is or how he arrived here.

When he opens the door he realizes that the woman is a mannequin. Then he enters the mannequin shop and still can’t find anybody. After another minute, he walks outside and hears a telephone ringing!

Trying to get out of a phone booth with the weird collapsing door is something nobody with a cell phone ever worries about in 2020, but in 1959 … even into the early 80s, phone booths were a real deal. Bill & Ted used one as a time machine.

When he answers the phone, nobody is there. He hangs up and calls the operator and hears a voice, but it’s only a recording of the operator. Then he struggles to exit from the phone booth. Anxiety and stress are beginning to affect him. He’s starting to sweat.

After exiting the phone booth through a normal, albeit difficult, door he decides to check out the police station next. Surely there will be someone in there, yes?

Check out the old school fire extinguisher on the wall? Is that water in there?

No. He enters the jail area with running water and shaving kit prepared but, again, nobody is around to use it. The cell door creaks and threatens to close on him, locking him inside the cell. Escaping, his panic level is rising as he goes into the office area and finds a smoking cigar.

It would be quite freaky to encounter a lit cigar … but nobody around smoking it

He runs out of the police station and cries, “Hey! Where is everybody?!”

Fade to black. This would be a commercial break if there was one. When we return to the action, the man is back in the diner eating a sundae. He’s a little calmer, but there is still an underlying tension and confusion in his voice.

He tells himself in a mirror that he wants to wake up. Wants to find somebody to talk to. There’s a book rack in the diner with a bunch of books titled, “The Last Man on Earth.”

He leaves the diner and plays Tic Tac Toe in the dirt outside. Nightfall is coming and the streetlights illuminate. He heads inside a movie theater.

Looking at movie posters, he suddenly realizes that he is in the Air Force. He runs around the lobby of the movie theater yelling that he’s in the Air Force.

He wonders if there was a bomb? But if there was, why isn’t anything destroyed? He then goes inside the theater and a movie starts playing on the projector.

Excited, he heads upstairs to the projector room.

The projector is running, movie playing, but where is the projectionist? In 2020, a very different position, one that is shared at least in part with computers

But nobody is up there. Just the haunting projector running … tick, tick, tick, tick.

Running downstairs is the best camera shot in the episode.

In a panic running away form the projector and into …

He runs toward the viewer and we don’t realize it’s a mirror until he crashes into it.

A mirror image!

Now he’s in full panic mode and losing his mind. When he emerges outside and runs down the dark street we see a camera at an angle with a bicycle in the distance. We see him running toward it and …

One of my most favorite camera shots of the first episode of running toward and falling over the bicycle at an odd angle. Batman would use a similar angle for henchmen battles with Batman & Robin, as if to show how crooked the bad guys were. Here the angle is to illustrate his growing confusion and fear over the circumstance. A genius camera angle that is never repeated anywhere else in the episode.

Then he trips over it. When he looks up and sees a giant cyclops eye, his stress has turned to terror. He can’t process that it’s simply an Optometrist office.

Optometrist watchful eye is the final straw … he cracks!

He runs over to the empty street, sweating profusely, frantically pushing the button to walk across the street safely.

Yes, they still exist in 2020: push them to walk across the street when it’s safe. Some technology isn’t as easily replaced. These days many of these devices speak or make loud noises to aid the sight-impaired.

He cries out for help. Anybody, somewhere, anywhere, “Help!”

At this point the flashing lights, “WAIT! WAIT! WAIT!”

And now viewers can’t wait to find out where the people are?

… SPOILERS ahead, you’ve been warned that the twist ending is revealed after this (hurry, go and just watch the episode before having the fun ruined …

Spoiler sectionTHE TWIST ENDING

The part that always fascinated me with Twilight Zone episodes was the twist ending. Some I figured out, most were surprises including this first episode.

The man we’ve been watching isn’t really in a town that has no people. He is in the Air Force and his name is Ferris.

He’s been part of an experiment inside an isolation booth.

Trapped in an isolation booth, being studied by the military

They are trying to measure how loneliness impacts the astronauts traveling in the long trip in space.

Inside the isolation chamber, pressing the panic button

We cut inside to Ferris in the box, pushing the panic button.

Ferris has snapped. The officials order him taken out of the box.

Help has arrived to pull him out of the isolation chamber … 2 1/2 weeks later.

We learn in the final moments as they pull him out that he’s been in the isolation chamber for 2 1/2 weeks.

The barrier of loneliness: The palpable, desperate need of the human animal to be with his fellow man. Up there, up there in the vastness of space, in the void that is sky, up there is an enemy known as isolation. It sits there in the stars waiting, waiting with the patience of eons, forever waiting… in The Twilight Zone.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration for “Where Is Everybody?”

My Review

This is an excellent episode to start the series. Serling chose a central theme which seems amazingly fitting: loneliness. As if he wanted to explain that these little, self-compacted stories in the anthology series each episode would do more than basic sci-fi/fantasy entertainment: they would have a message that transcends the black and white TV images.

By the time I review all 156 episodes, I’ll rank them and I’d guess on this Valentine’s Day in 2020 that this episode is probably in the top 25 (just a guess at this point, need to rewatch and review them all again). It has an unusual, unsettling storyline and a great twist ending. Earl Holliman’s acting isn’t overdone, there is a progressive crescendo as we build to the end.

The episode is understandably a little dated now in its presentation of a small town, particularly the phone booth. In 2020 everybody has cell phones and the use of phone booths has been obsoleted. If younger, first time viewers can suspend their belief at this historically accurate oddity, this episode still packs punch.

There are various fire extinguishers which look like diving tanks instead of the modern day version. Of course the cars look every bit like something from Back To The Future when Marty McFly goes back in time to 1955. Cars just looked cooler in the 50s than they do today, so no problems there. The advertisements for products and pricing is pure 50s as well. 40 cents for a banana split? Wouldn’t that be nice?

The camerawork, the angles, the extreme close-ups, the use of black and white with shadows are all excellent. Cinematography for this episode is by Joseph LaShelle who died in 1989 at the age of 89. LaShelle was a master craftsman of black and white film — and it shows.

Editing was by Roland Gross who also died in 1989 at the age of 80. He was an Academy Award nominee for the Best Film Editing category for the movie, None But The Lonely Heart.

The legendary Twilight Zone score is by Bernard Herrmann who died in 1975. Herrmann worked with Alfred Hitchcock and on many other TV shows and classic films like The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951). A legend gone too soon who died of a heart attack at 64. Too young for such a great talent.

If one could define a nearly perfect Twilight Zone or really any other sort of pilot, this would be an example. I’m going to take a very tiny half star away for one minor thing that somewhat plagued some TZ episodes worse than others: flowery dialogue. Serling liked to have characters who spoke things that probably sounded great on paper, but didn’t always translate well to screen. This will likely be a recurring complaint of mine during the series.

Here some of the character Ferris’ dialogue speaking to himself was a little too convenient. Like he was being pure exposition and not really speaking aloud like someone in his position would. For example, how does he realize he’s in the Air Force just being inside the movie theater? Is it seeing the movie posters of airplanes? It isn’t entirely clear how this “aha!” moment is struck and a minor flaw in the episode. I know he looks at the flight suit he’s wearing and it is an Air Force outfit, so that could explain it better.

I realize it’s a dream state essentially, but some of the dialogue didn’t ring as true. Ferris didn’t need to speak as much as he did. His facial expressions were fantastic and showed the horror. I don’t think he’d be trying to have quite as many conversations with himself.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Easter Eggs & Meta Toast

This section is for behind the scenes and meta information on publishing this review. Over the course of posting all these reviews, I may update with links to related posts. This post was published on Valentine’s Day 2020 at precisely 1:43pm PST.

R.I.P Carol Serling, now which Serling carries on The Twilight Zone legacy?

Curious who will be the torchbearer for Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone after Rod’s wife Carol died in Janunary 2020? No, respectfully, not Jordan Peele. He’s doing that from a professional standpoint, sure, as is CBS All Access. Thank you very much for doing that.

Yes, I’m talking somebody in the family that already carries the great Serling name. My money is on one (or both) of their daughters, Anne and Jodi, but perhaps one or more of the grandchildren could at least symbolically fill the shoes left by Rod and Carol.

Raised in Columbus, Ohio, Carol met her future husband in 1946 when they were students at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and he had just returned from duty in World War II. They married two years later, and she received a degree in psychology and education in 1950. Survivors include daughters Anne and Jodi, grandchildren Samuel, Ryan and Erica and great-grandchildren Alyssa and Aiden.

Carol Serling Dead: Wife of ‘Twilight Zone’ Legend Rod Serling Was 90 | Hollywood Reporter

Speaking of Jordan Peele’s version of TZ, it’s worth mentioning director of Gretel and Hansel Osgood Perkins is penning a “way out version” of an episode in season two of the CBS All Access Twilight Zone. Perkins is an artful cinematography guy, so it will be exciting to see what he does with shapes, shadows and the vast expanse of canvas that Twilight Zone provides.

On February 14, I’m planning a Twilight Zone love letter to share here. The first planned of at least 156 going many years into the future, if I live long enough, of course. Submitted for your approval, this blog will enter … The Twilight Zone.

60th Twilight Zone Anniversary REVIEW – Rod Serling’s Daughter Shares More about What Made Her Father Tick

Kara, Joel and I all caught up with, rated and reviewed ….

The Twilight Zone: A 60th Anniversary ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

… on the big screen for the first in theaters last night and loved seeing it. Was like watching TV on a giant screen. The theater was probably 60% full, so not everybody came out that could have, but was a decent showing.

Looking around this morning, I came across some more articles about the event.

While I could have done without the political stuff (President Trump is just too easy a target for anybody, especially Rod Serling), I enjoyed Jodi Serling’s insight. Serling was a master of telling the stories he wanted to tell, but framing them in a way that could get though the hypersensitive network censors of the time:

Overflowing with big ideas and uniquely attuned to the fault lines running through America, Rod Serling’s pioneering series provided the vital counterpoint to the placid programming that mostly worked to distract viewers from the realities of life. “He started to write The Twilight Zone to address the problems in society,” Serling’s daughter, Jodi Serling, confirms to Yahoo Entertainment. “He felt it was criminal that [television] writers were not permitted to address the social evils that existed.” 

Rod Serling’s daughter spills ‘Twilight Zone’ secrets — and the link between MAGA hats and Ariana Grande’s Halloween costume

Here is our video review from Joel and I:

Let’s hope we’re all here to celebrate 75 years of Twilight Zone in 2035!

Rod Serling Forever Yearned To Be Young Again and Remembered as a Writer

Kara and I now have tickets to see this Thursday November 14, 2019 — excited, too!

Rod Serling is legendary. His words will not only be remembered, but by some of us, they’ll be treasured moments captured on television.

Have stated here before, and will probably do it many more times: Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone is my favorite ever television show. Nothing before it and nothing after has had — and continues to have — the single greatest impact on what I enjoy watching .

It wasn’t only the visuals, acting and sound, however, it was the amazing foundation, the timeless writing by Rod Serling. The singular magical feeling so many of the episodes generated.

“Every writer … has certain special loves, certain special hangups,” said Sterling. “In my case, it’s a hunger to be young again. A desperate hunger to go back to where it all began. I think you’ll see this as a running thread through all the things that I write.”

‘Twilight Zone’ Creator Rod Serling Feared He’d Be Forgotten | Hollywood Reporter

Just bought tickets to the Twilight Zone 60th Anniversary Fathom Events for both Kara and I next Thursday night. On 11/9, five days before the screening the theater is filling up:

Those first two row of seats are the least popular, aren’t they?

We don’t like the first two rows of seats either. Your neck gets all jacked up and you have to sit at an uncomfortable angle. 47 of 73 (64.3%) available seats remained for the Twilight Zone 60th Anniversary on 11/14 when we signed up on 11/9.

The Twilight Zone TV show episode reviews are coming in 2020

The plan is to start reviewing every single one of those classic episodes beginning soon, probably in January 2020. My problem is that there aren’t enough of episodes to keep me going forever. I’ve seen all of them at least once and some of them many, many times. Reviewing all 156 episodes even at an intentionally slowed pace of one per month would mean I could burn through every episode in 13 years. Isn’t ironic that the superstitious number of 13 comes up when divided out all episodes?

To say this blog will exist for 13 years is probably a bigger question mark than whether or not I’ll need something else to review in 2033. Also, there is the matter if I’ll still be alive in 13 years? My relations tend to live a long time, so outside of accident or future disease, I see no reason that I won’t be here in 2033.

(cue eerie Zone theme music)

There is always Rod Serling’s Night Gallery TV series to review after The Twilight Zone. That’s the series where a young filmmaker named Steven Spielberg worked on one of his first teleplays “Eyes”. There were 44 episodes of Night Gallery. So there is another four years. Could also review all the reboot episodes of Twilight Zone, including the one with Forest Whitaker as the narrator. Serling had involvement in some films and other teleplays, so I might have to dig deep, should I be lucky enough to make it 20+ years in the future here, still reviewing his awesome work. I suppose that’s plenty of time into the future. Who knows if something better will come along to share reviews by then?

Another huge influence of mine is Stephen King. I could maybe alternate a Stephen King adaptation movie or TV adaptation review with a TV review each month. That would stretch out the months. There has been no shortage of King movies. Plenty of options.

Is anybody else reading attending this Twilight Zone Fathom Events? 60 year anniversary is a special one. That is older than me. Not too much older, but older. I’m sure if Serling is able to read these words and tons by others, he would not have worried about being remembered.

Fathom Events: Thursday November 14, 2019 at 7pm – The Twilight Zone: A 60th Anniversary Celebration

Fathom Events: The Twilight Zone: A 60th Anniversary Celebration November 14, 2019

I’ve never attended a Fathom Event before and this one bullseyes my zone.

The Twilight Zone: A 60th Anniversary Celebration will combine digitally restored versions of six quintessential episodes with an all-new documentary short titled “Remembering Rod Serling” about the life, imagination and creativity of creator Serling, whose thought-provoking anthology series continues to mesmerize fans. 

Fathom Events | The Twilight Zone: A 60th Anniversary Celebration

The 60th Anniversary of my favorite TV show of all time.

Yes, I’ve seen all six episodes they’ll be showing, but never on the big screen. I have not seen the Rod Serling documentary short they are adding:

Trailer for The Twilight Zone 60th Anniversary Fathom Events on Thursday November 14, 2019 @ 7pm

Fathom Events has live concerts and sports events too on the big screen. Might like to take part in one of those someday too. Anybody attended a Fathom Events at the theater before? What was your experience like?