The Twilight Zone’s most recent revival went off to a rocky start when it released last year. There was undoubtedly some good entertainment, but despite names like Jordan Peele associated with the project not only as a producer but also as a writer, the season was a mixed bag and not a patch on the original or its 1980s’ revival.
For the uninitiated, The Twilight Zone, the original one, was a science-fiction, fantasy and horror anthology TV series created by Rod Sterling and captured the zeitgeist like no other piece of entertainment had managed till then So much so that even now after more than half a century, the show and its themes still resonate with those who watch them.
The 2019 revival, however, came off as preachy and the social commentary that TTZ is known for seemed too overt instead of the nuanced way earlier iterations handled contemporary social and political issues. I did enjoy it in terms of overall experience, but it did not appear to have the Peele stamp.
The second season of the revival is also a mixed bag, and apart from a couple of episodes, the show did not really elevate itself in any way. At this point, the show appears to be a watered-down version of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror, which itself was inspired by The Twilight Zone in the way technology can affect humanity and tapped into humanity’s unease about latest technologies like, say, artificial intelligence.
My favourite episode, or at least the one I most enjoyed, this season was The Who of You. In the episode, a struggling actor gets a superpower which allows him to transfer his consciousness into somebody else just by looking into their eyes really deeply. When caught robbing a bank, he evades the law using this superpower, which ultimately ends up improving his life. There was nothing remarkable about The Who of You, it was just a nice science-fiction crime story that ended well for someone who is basically a bad guy.
Another episode, You Might Also Like, reminded me of the original series in that how weird it became. It also harks back to the original series in many ways. The episode is about a woman living in a dystopian society where people crave the arrival of a certain thing called Egg. Nobody knows what it is, and yet everyone is crazy for it due to its advertising. A rare episode that I found was actually relevant.
Another notable episode is Meet in the Middle in which Jimmi Simpson’s character, a lonely man, connects telepathically to an unknown woman and dreams of being with her. The episode was interesting enough, and the twisty ending really took me by surprise, which cannot be said about any of the other episodes this season except You Might Also Like.
The Twilight Zone’s season 2 is not bad, but as the revival of an iconic series, it sorely lacks that punch. It is neither innovative nor weird enough. Also, the episodes are painfully and needlessly long. All the storytelling in them could have been squeezed into 20-25 minutes runtime without losing any of the value.
In India, The Twilight Zone is streaming on Voot.