New version of The Twilight Zone to be on CBS All Access

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Shaka Zulu, May 27, 2018.

  1. RJDemonicus

    RJDemonicus Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    Episode 10, "Blurryman," and I watched it in black and white.

    Well, I have to say that I enjoyed this episode quite a bit for its wry metafictional introspection and well-intentioned homage. It was entertaining and suspenseful, and it made explicit the attributes that make Twilight Zone unique, both in design and in its place in cultural history. However, upon scrutiny, it didn't really illuminate so much as embody the problems that have plagued the show throughout the first season. It's intent and message are at best garbled and at worst contradictory.

    Ironically, the faux Jordan Peele, whose role as the devil's advocate I assume to be satirical, said it explicitly at the beginning of the episode when he made a remark along the lines of, "Maybe we're saying something we don't really want to say." But apparently he wasn't referring to the juvenile and naive politics of the show, but rather the very concept of wrapping a message in a story. The fictional character of the writer was there to be the defender of the Zone against the pressure of mediocrity-- and yet it was her character, not Peele's, who the Zone singled out to learn some vague and obscure lesson, while Peele is left to blunder on obliviously.

    At the end of the story, we get a wonderful scene where Rod Serling appears as the guardian and ferryman of the Twilight Zone-- literally a wondrous world of imagination-- to lead our beleaguered writer to the other side. It's very touching and very clearly meant as a loving tribute to the big guy, and it's beautiful to watch it unfold. But try to parse the journey that got her there, and there's nothing there but fragments of the Zone flung up in the air like Dada poetry.

    The writer character is depicted as the one who lives and breathes Twilight Zone since childhood, as shown not only on set but in a brief flashback-- to the exclusion of a real life, which is highlighted as her character flaw both in the past, by her father, and in the present, by her girlfriend. The main body of the story involves her running a gauntlet of randomly violent inanimate objects and assorted imagery from both the present and original versions of TZ, and being stalked by a sinister and shadowy figure, who turns out, inexplicably, to be the benign Serling, offering her an exit from the mundane world.

    So what is the message here? To get a life? Apparently not, since her obsession with the Zone was rewarded with full immersion. She was already the defender of the Zone's artistic integrity, so there was no lesson to be learned there. What, then, was the purpose of the gauntlet and Serling's menacing coyness? What benefit to the character was there to be put through that danger and fear? What was the purpose of her parents' point and counterpoint about having both an imagination and a real life, and of her nagging girlfriend, who she abandoned in the end? What was the purpose of the debate about the importance of deeper meanings when it was never resolved in the story within a story?

    Somewhere in the midst of the chaos, when the character is literally talking to herself-- another plot device used to no good effect-- she randomly shouts out that using the word crazy is no longer allowed because it stigmatizes the mentally ill. This had no internal connection to the narrative, so was the intention (of the remark and the story) to parody the awkward political correctness of previous episodes, or did the writers believe it to be significant somehow? With this bunch, it's hard to tell.

    So, after a season of good ideas presented badly and bad ideas presented badly, we were given a finale of good ideas and bad ideas and non ideas presented badly-- but, like most of the previous episodes, stylishly and entertainingly, and with a coda that tells us that the Powers That Be were at least well intentioned. But, ultimately, this iteration of Twilight Zone turned out to be land of just shadow and no substance.
     
  2. Kelso

    Kelso Vice Admiral Admiral

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    "Point of Origin" works exceptionally well in b&w.
     
  3. Supergirl

    Supergirl Not Awesome Possum Moderator

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    I really hope that next season we can get at least one episode written by Peele, he's such a talented writer than we could get something special.
     
  4. Dr. San Guinary

    Dr. San Guinary Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I must say that "The Blue Scorpion" was my favorite episode of this season. Chris O'Dowd really sold it. And the best thing of all: no politics! :beer:

    One question:

    I didn't understand the note that was left with Otis' body (Otis was Jeff's dad, who shot himself). The note said "I LOVED HIM MORE THAN YOU". Does anyone know what that meant? Was the note 'written' by the gun, or Otis? I wonder who the note was referring to...i.e. who "him" and "you" were supposed to be.

    But no matter. Still an entertaining episode. (Plus the fact that Jeff keeps running into other people named Jeff, so he doesn't know which one of them the bullet is "for", was pretty hilarious.) If Season 2 rises to this level, I'm all for it.
     
  5. kitik

    kitik Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I watched it in good old fashioned color, and you may be interested to hear that while most of the episode was normal, it faded to black and white for the final few minutes.
     
  6. RJDemonicus

    RJDemonicus Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    ^^ Thanks for telling me. That was a nice touch. I thought about watching it in color and then black and white, but I just didn't have time.
     
  7. Romulan_spy

    Romulan_spy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I found this short scifi film on you tube that is very similar to Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits. It's pretty well done.

     
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  8. SiddFinch1

    SiddFinch1 Captain Captain

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    Overall an enjoyable watch. Not sure I would call anybody them classic but a mostly solid effort