« More Music Musings | Main | Vroom! »

September 16, 2002

Twilight Zone

On the way in to work this morning, I was listening to Morning Edition, and they mentioned the new Twilight Zone. This was used as a segue into their regular feature, Present at the Creation, where they went into the origins of the Rod Serling show. According to Lynn Neary, The Twilight Zone was a vehicle for Rod Serling to perform an end run around network censors and sponsors, using science fiction to examine issues which television executives considered too controversial for mainstream television.

I didn't know much about Serling before this segment. It seems he was a gadfly who had been butting his head against the wall for years trying to make his stories, and been repeatedly cut down. They mention one show he had written just prior to TZ, about a young black man hung in the South. The Man made him change it to a story about an old man hung in the East. In all, they cite some four episodes from the Twilight Zone to illustrate Rod's subversive agenda, showing how he became increasingly bold as the show became more popular.

I don't know if they intended to, but this 'audio essay' was a pretty sharp barb at the current remake. How likely is it, that a production company working for a cable network will want to explore the edges of society? Who is going to be pushing the 'suits' to get a tough story through, or disguising it so it passes under the radar? Probably no one. Instead, this will be rather like the new Outer Limits: polished, modern, but missing the sense of wonder of the original. I'm recording the premiere, but expect nothing special.

Posted by dpwakefield at September 16, 2002 08:26 AM