Friday, May 31, 2019
The Twilight Zone (TV show) 2019 show runner: Jordan Peele
There have been a few attempts to recreate Rod Serling's Classic anthology show, The Twilight Zone. The original is a highlight in TV history and a monument to how good writing and acting can produce truly remarkable and important art that can change how people think and feel. Those that followed were lesser shows, not always bad, but Serling is an act impossible to follow.
When the 2019 version as announced with Peele in charge I was reticent, but excited. He seemed a good choice. He was a Serling fan and had a sense of how to mix social commentary with great entertainment that made you think.
I won't be spring anything, just making a general comment of the show for his 10 episode run.
Overall: Pretty damn good. Great acting, actors, cinematography and the ideas were all solid. Does it live up to the original? Of course not, or not yet, anyway. It's a different show in a different time and Peele does not shy away from that while at the same time reminding us he knows he is treading on eggshells with fans and new viewers alike. Everyone has an idea what the Twilight Zone is - including those who have never seen even one episode. The entire season plays with the idea of recreating the original, then years off into its own thing, a smart move in my opinion.
Not every episode is successful but that can be said for the 60s version as well. We all know the classics stories over its 5 year run, but they weren't all classics. Some were pretty bad in fact, like every other show with 156 episodes and filmed on a time and money budget. The 2019 version looks fantastic and casting was amazing, but not every story will appeal to every viewer and I think most would have profited from a 30 minute over and hour format. There are plenty of Easter eggs to keep long time fans happy and it does not shy away from some biting social commentary. Sometimes it's way too on the nose for it's own good. There are connections from one episode to another and it seemed there was a theme beyond the stated "When the truth is not the truth - what dimension are you even in?". These connections and themes come around in the last episode which is totally meta commentary on the show itself and what it is trying to do.
One thing I wanted more of and didn't get were twists that hit me like they did in Serling's incarnation. Even knowing what the twist was, on repeated viewing they repeatedly shocked you. I had the opportunity to watch some Serling episodes with people who had somehow never seen the show and the look on their faces and how those twists suddenly opened them up to new ideas was amazing.
There is time for this show to do all that - it has been renewed and I have to say I am looking forward to it.