The Twilight Zone has an encompassing and intimidating legacy; we’ve seen books, comics, radio series, movies, reboots, and references galore, which all stem from this award-winning series by Rod Serling. It has quite the name to live up to. Unfortunately, in 2002, a reboot series of the same name attempted to copy what the 1959 series had so successfully done in the past, but with a slew of uninteresting characters and predictable stories, as well as a lackluster narration by green-screened Forest Whitaker. The show faltered and only lasted one season.
But there were some memorable episodes that really did follow-through. We’ve put together a list of the outliers, which could’ve settled right in with classic episodes from the original series.
“One Night at Mercy”
There are many incarnations and personifications of Death, whether they be the traditional skeletons swathed in black cloaks or strange gun-toting teenagers with OCD. Either way, we’ve seen a lot of different portrayals, but this time it’s Jason Alexander of Seinfeld fame who plays him – and he does a pretty good job. Paired with Dr. Jay Ferguson during the episode, these two play off of each other nicely to create an interesting narrative about the meaning of life and death.
“Cradle of Darkness”
This story follows a woman, played by Katherine Heigl, who goes back in time with a mission to kill Adolf Hitler. While this concept has been done before, it actually takes some surprising turns at the end, and it’s a suspenseful ride until you get there.
“It’s Still a Good Life”
If you’re at all familiar with the original series, you might know the episode “It’s a Good Life.” This episode is the sequel to that story of a little boy with mysterious powers that can banish anything into “the cornfield from where there is no return. Taking place 40 years after the original, it follows Anthony Fremont, who still lives in the isolated Peaksville with his mother and daughter.
Even though this episode doesn’t have a crazy twist at the end, it’s still a refreshing story that pays homage to the original – especially because the same actor who played the six-year-old in 1961 reprises his role as the doting father of Audrey (who is played by his actual daughter) and current ruler of Peaksville.
The placebo effect, mind over matter, usually used in relation to the medical field, is the basis for this story of a hypochondriac who comes into the hospital with a bleeding finger and a nervous twitch. An intriguing look into what the mind can truly accomplish, this episode is one that redeems the 42-episode long series.
The Pharaoh’s Curse
Everyone loves magic and illusions, and that’s why this episode is delightfully entertaining. We follow an ambitious magician who is determined to discover the secret of the famed and mysterious trick “the pharaoh’s curse”. His search leads him to the door of a veteran magician, and things get weird from there.
The Executions of Grady Finch
Jeremy Sisto of Clueless plays death row inmate Grady Finch in this story of a man who seems to be receiving outside and otherworldly intervention during his execution. Sisto does a wonderful job as a man sentenced to death transforming into a man with new hope. This transition, and the supernatural events that cause it, are definitely plot-lines worth watching.