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Will Twilight Zone 2020 Soar or Sink?

Season 1 featured too much message, only some good stories, and ratings seem to have suffered

We now have more information about CBS All Access’s second season of The Twilight Zone reboot. Diverging from its one-a-week release schedule from last season, All Access is releasing all the episodes at once on Thursday, June 25.

If Season 2 follows the precedent set by Season 1 (2019, trailer), we can definitely expect more politically and socially driven narratives. To be fair, there were some pretty good stories in Season 1 (above left). However, much of the content wasn’t so much concerned with telling good iconic Twilight Zone stories as with making sure I knew which hot button social issue about which the writers wanted me to hear their opinion. As Joseph Baxter notes over at Den of Geek, the audience’s disapproval has been obvious:

While no official reason was given for the rollout deviation, one could speculate that it was made in reaction to a common criticism about the uneven nature of the inaugural season. Indeed, topical diversity made the season a hit-or-miss affair as it sometimes sojourned into socially conscious content, which might have led to drop-offs in viewers;

Joseph Baxter, “The Twilight Zone Season 2 Trailer Arrives” at Den of Geek

Now, I would argue that the word “topical” is a bit indirect on Baxter’s part. Let’s not beat around the bush; the episodes were very socially and politically driven. Also, “sometimes” would only be fitting if you mean more than half of the episodes. That being said, he isn’t wrong.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying these social and political issues aren’t important. However, I’m not interested in lectures when I’m just trying to eat some popcorn and watch some good ol’ sci-fi. I want to kick back for entertainment and let my brain be emptied by meaningless cultural tropes.

Do I enjoy a good thought-provoking film that leaves me feeling like I’ve just wandered onto a tilt-a-whirl? Absolutely. However, I never leave those experiences feeling like I heard a long lecture. I’ve only ever left those experiences with more questions than I could answer.

At any rate, before we follow Alice down the rabbit hole, let’s get onto task: I am hopeful that this next season features even better stories than the last. When it comes to almost any show, the first season can be a bit shaky. Even though The Twilight Zone has seen a number ofincarnations over the decades, stories change and so does the demographic. I’m hopeful that next season will go down in the Twilight Zone history books.

Another critic’s preview (some Season 1 spoilers):

Note: The original Twilight Zone was was a TV series (1959–1964) created by Rod Serling (1924– 1975) in which “Ordinary people find themselves in extraordinarily astounding situations, which they each try to solve in a remarkable manner.” (IMDB) Here are some clips.

In 1983, it reappeared as a film (trailer) with “Four horror and science fiction segments, directed by four famous directors, each of them being a new version of a classic story from Rod Serling’s landmark television series.” (IMDB) There was also a mid-Eighties TV series (1985–1989, episodes)

In addition, a radio series (2002–2012) adapted and updated the original TV series.

The 2019 and 2020 productions are the work of the Twilight Zone franchise, by agreement with the Rod Serling estate.


Also by Adam Nieri:

I’m glad I decided to I decided to revisit DUST, a wonderful community of short, free sci-fi films at YouTube. They’ll sure take your mind off lockdown. Both “Hum” and “Alientology” feature a simple storyline that works in a short film. “EI: Emotional Intelligence,” an animated short, compares well with live action shorts. “Exit Strategy” is one of the few really successful sci-fi films on the topic of time. And I would love to see “The Secret Number” made into a feature film.

and

Sci-fi culture: There’s life here on Planet Covid! But you have to look hard. Here’s some help: With major releases postponed, we sci-fi fans tirelessly check our email and bookmarked sci-fi news sites for any good news. If you’re one of those, have no fear! I’ve compiled a short list of what’s been going on in the community over the past few weeks. Expect to see more updates like these as long as needed.


Adam Nieri

Adam Nieri has interests in philosophy of science and philosophy of mind and he holds an MA in Science and Religion from Biola University. He has background in social media and marketing, photography/graphic design, IT, and teaching.

Will Twilight Zone 2020 Soar or Sink?