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The new Twilight Zone is a calamity: EW review

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I’ve seen four episodes of the new Twilight Zone, coming to CBS All-Access on Monday, April 1. Statistically, at least one episode should be good. The anthology was scattershot from its 1959 debut onwards, parading brilliant-kooky-crazy-lame ideas through very long seasons of broadcast television.

The best episodes of Rod Serling’s original series represent the apex of TV storytelling: Terrifying and funny, safe for kids yet utterly unsentimental about humanity’s inhumanity, their very cheapness a tangible special effect undercutting any normative Hollywood ideals about glossy moral decency. But there have been mediocre Twilight Zones since the Eisenhower administration — and the worst chapter in 1983’s Twilight Zone movie was directed by Golden Age Steven Spielberg.

Temper your expectations, is what I’m saying. Then throw them out the window. The first four episodes are all bad, a mess of sleepy conceits grasping toward topicality with on-the-nose dialogue spoken by boring characters. A couple sharp performances can’t triumph against nonstop plot contrivance. This is one of 2019’s first great disappointments.

The headline name in the credits is Jordan Peele, writer-director of the phenomenal Get Out and the new doppelganger thriller Us, which is a very entertaining movie until people start going up and down the escalator. Both films are theme-chomping science-fiction freakouts, horrific Americana set in a Twilight-adjacent zone.

Peele appears onscreen as the Serling-ish narrator. But nothing comes close to the vitality of his big screen work, or the scathing satire of Key & Peele, the sketch series he co-created with Keegan-Michael Key. Notably, every executive producer listed after Peele is worrisome. There’s Simon Kinberg, one of those mega-franchise hacks who has written expensive popular movies without ever developing a notable style or tangible substance. There’s Marco Ramirez, showrunner of Daredevil season 2 and The Defenders, so that’s probably why every story feels twice as long as it should be.

As for the actors: Never has such an exciting and diverse cast been wasted so much. The first two episodes both arrive on April 1, and they are just awful. “Nightmare at 30,000 Feet” threemakes the paranoid tale of a man going in-flight crazy. William Shatner and John Lithgow starred in the previous versions, and I hope they’ll forgive Adam Scott for his part in this abomination. Instead of a nightmarish gremlin, Scott’s tormented by (sigh) a podcast predicting his own deadly future. That’s an example of the warmed-over “modernization” you find in the new Zone: Black Mirror rewritten by your uncle who just got on Facebook.

The new “Nightmare” exemplifies the series’ problems. Aspects of the story are immediately unbelievable. Scott’s traveler is on a flight from D.C. to Tel Aviv. On the plane’s screens, travelers can see footage of the pilots flying the plane. “The cockpit of this particular aircraft,” explains the unseen podcaster (Dan Carlin), “Was equipped with cameras that allowed the passengers to watch the flight crew from multiple monitors.” A commercial plane that lets passengers watch the pilots? In what world?? And that’s not part of some surveillance-state twist, to be clear. It’s a cheap narrative trick, assuring that the passengers will freak out later when Something Happens in the Cockpit.

“The Comedian” is even worse. Kumail Nanjiani plays a stand-up comic, Samir. When we meet him, he’s a striving Important Comedian ranting about the Second Amendment. After meeting a mysterious funnyman (Tracy Morgan), things take a Faustian turn. Samir starts to tell new jokes, and strange things start to happen.

Now, the melodramatic sociopolitical seriousness of stand-up comedy has become a done-to-death cliché this decade. And this particular depiction of stand-up is biopic-level bad: “You don’t choose comedy because you want a fine life,” says Samir, “You choose comedy because you want it all.” Any comedian who would say that out loud must be terrible at his job. Nanjiani — a comedian himself, yeesh, an Oscar-nominated writer! — looks lost in the ludicrous melodrama.

The third episode, “Replay,” is the most pointed political statement, and comes closest to developing a captivating story. Sanaa Lathan plays a proud mom driving her son (Damson Idris) to college. She’s holding an old camcorder, and when she hits “rewind” the whole world rewinds; yeesh, did someone pull these scripts out of cold storage? But beyond the goofy techno-contrivance lies legitimate fear. Their drive is haunted by a racist policeman, played by Glenn Fleshler with monolithic quiet. Lathan’s performance is great, powerful even when she’s fully unglued. You see profound strength and emotional frailty: Here’s a woman living with perpetual paranoia, fearful of what America will do to her African American son.

“Replay” turns painfully speechy, though, as if worried you’re missing the point. There’s something just a little too nice about this version of Twilight Zone, a sentimentality that feels less retro than archaic. Maybe this ground has just been covered too much? The fourth episode, “A Traveler,” casts Steven Yeun as a mysterious stranger who arrives at an Alaskan police station during the annual Christmas party. Yuen radiates the same vampiric glee that powered his magnificent performance in 2018’s Burning. But he’s styled like every other omniscient sci-fi mystery man, old-timey hat-and-suit combo borrowed from Dark City and Fringe and whatever The Adjustment Bureau was.

“A Traveler” is probably the best episode I’ve seen, insofar as it’s precisely as entertaining as a middling episode of American Horror Story. Will the episodes get better? I have my doubts. The pacing so far is painfully slow, and sometimes Peele doesn’t start his narratorial introduction until the 10-minute mark.

Should we blame Peele for this Twilight Zone‘s failure? A couple of twists recall the Escalator Problem from Us, a gaping hole drilled into the plot to make room for blessed Themes. But the new Twilight Zone feels like a collective failure. Sadly, it’s just another bloated TV property: a famous franchise rebooted with zero inspiration, a bold creator bestowing indifferent attention to a side project that could only exist in a churn of infinite content, a failed attempt at relevance with all the depth of a Saturday Night Live sketch.

Related content:

  • Jordan Peele recommends watching these three classic Twilight Zone episodes
  • Watch the creepy new trailer for Jordan Peele’s Twilight Zone reboot
  • Jordan Peele’s Us scares up biggest opening weekend for original horror movie

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Is ‘The Twilight Zone’ Canceled Or Will There Be a Season 2?

2019 has been a year of reboots, and everything from 90s film favorites to popular TV shows from yesteryear are getting a fresh new look and feel. One of the most popular remakes this year has been the brand-new series The Twilight Zone, based on the iconic series that first aired in 1959.

Hosted and helmed by ultra-popular comedian and filmmaker Jordan Peele, The Twilight Zone was an immediate hit, with thousands of fans streaming the episodes as soon as they became available.

Even though the show was just released in April of this year, fans are already raising their voices and clamoring for a second season.

Jordan Peele arrives at the CBS All Access New Series The Twilight Zone Premiere |

What was the original ‘The Twilight Zone’ about?

In 1959, The Twilight Zone premiered on the CBS network, and television has never been the same.

The anthology series spanned multiple different genres, from horror to science fiction. The show featured a wide variety of guest stars and was shot entirely in black and white, even though color television had become the norm by 1959.

The Twilight Zone tackled everything from nuclear war to possessed dolls and the afterlife, and could at once be terrifying and humorous. Rod Serling was the creator credited with the success of The Twilight Zone, and he was heavily involved in every aspect of its creation.

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The Invaders Season 2 || Episode 51 Original Air Date: January 27, 1961 Starring: Agnes Moorehead

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The show ran until 1964 and even though the original series has been off the air for over fifty years, fans continue to watch the groundbreaking show. All 156 episodes are still available through various streaming methods.

The fact that it is still so popular stands as a testament to the quality of the storytelling and filmmaking involved in the show.

How do people like ‘The Twilight Zone’ remake?

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What dimension are you even in? All episodes of #TheTwilightZone, hosted by @jordanpeele, are now streaming on @CBSAllAccess.

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The show was so vastly popular after it went off the air that there was bound to be an attempt to recapture the magic. The first series revival of The Twilight Zone ran from 1985 – 1989, and while that series never achieved the staggering popularity of the original series, it received good reviews.

Ultimately, it led to a second revival that ran from 2002 to 2003. Hosted by acclaimed actor Forest Whitaker, this series revival featured hour-long shows, many of which were direct remakes from the original series.

The latest, and by far the most popular revival, launched in April 2019, after many years of the project being in creative limbo. It came with high expectations from the start, considering the iconic nature of the series, but Jordan Peele proved to be the perfect man for the job.

His experience with satirical horror (including his massive hit Get Out) and his comedic chops lent him the ability to perfectly translate complex ideas and capture the appropriate tone in every single episode. Fans loved the show and critics praised how Peele had managed to honor the original series while creating something completely new and interesting.

Will the show be back for a second season?

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#TheTwilightZone is iconic. @sethrogen, back us up.

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Producers of The Twilight Zone heard viewers loud and clear, and shortly after the release of the reboot series, a second season was announced.

While it’s not certain when the second season will be available to stream from CBS All Access, some reports indicate that it will likely drop in the spring of 2020. CBS also hasn’t confirmed exactly how many episodes will be released with the second season – while the first season had eight total episodes, the second season could feature even more.

Stay tuned to Showbiz Cheat Sheet for all the latest on the new series The Twilight Zone, including up-to-the-minute news on the second season release date.

I want to like the new Twilight Zone revival. The Jordan Peele-led show gets so much right: solid production value and a diverse cast of top-shelf talent. But all of that can’t save the show if the writers can’t solve their major problem: the plots just aren’t very good.

A huge fan of the original, I was thrilled to hear Twilight Zone was coming back. I’ve tried all the prior revivals; indeed, one of my favourite episodes of The Twilight Zone is from the 1985-1989 series. In “A Little Peace and Quiet,” the fantastic Melinda Dillon plays a harried suburban housewife who can freeze time. In a tragic twist, she freezes it just as the Cold War erupts into a nuclear war. Bombs are falling from the sky. If she restarts time, she and her family will have but moments to live.

I’ve spent a long time mulling over that episode. What would I do? Is it better to leave everyone alive but frozen, or die together? It is a terrific episode, that accomplishes what Twilight Zone does best: pairing a pressing societal issue (the danger of the Cold War nuclear stand-off) with a fascinating sci-fi story (the ability to freeze time) alongside great performances.

Adam Scott in “Nightmare at 30,000 Feet.” Robert Falconer/CBS

There is so much in the zeitgeist today calling out for a similar treatment. But the new Twilight Zone has yet to have an episode that approaches this level of contemporary sophistication. Nor does it seem to be heading in the right direction.

CBS, which produces the show for its All Access digital app (it airs in Canada on CityTV), is obviously willing to spend big money on it. The show has put diversity at the forefront and the episodes I’ve seen so far have had some element of social commentary. But what the show hasn’t been able to do yet is get the stories figured out. A show like The Twilight Zone can’t get by on nifty concepts alone. The plots need to work from start to finish.

This hasn’t happened, though they’ve come close. The first episode, about a comedian who’s cursed to pay a high price for his sudden success, is a perfectly fun little story that runs on for five or 10 minutes too long. Editing could have saved what is ultimately a disappointing start. The second episode, a reboot of the classic “Nightmare at 30,000 Feet,” is a delightful surprise — I had doubted there was much new they could bring to the story, but they gave it a very fresh take that mostly worked. But as with the first episode, they stretch the concept just a bit too far. After a really engaging hour of slowly building tension, the ending simply fizzles out.

It’s the third episode that represents the real disappointment, however. It is, hands down, the best of the bunch — for the first 45 minutes. The plot revolves around a likeable, law-abiding black mother and son, on a road trip to his first day of college. An encounter with a bigoted cop ends tragically for the son, but the mother finds herself locked in a time loop. She is capable of restarting the encounter from the beginning, over and over. She tries everything she can think of, but can’t break the deadly pattern.

It works as engaging sci-fi and powerful social commentary at the same time. But then it all falls apart.

Sanaa Lathan and Damson Idris in “Replay.” Robert Falconer/CBS

In the final minutes of the episode, the mother and son take the only path they hadn’t taken before (a direction that had been too thoroughly telegraphed earlier in the hour) — they ask an estranged relative for help. This time, when confronted by the bigoted cop, they record him. Other passersby, all black, join them, phones out. The cop, angry but intimidated, holsters his gun and leaves. The day is saved!

There’s a brief coda to the episode, that implies that perhaps the tragedy was only deferred, not avoided. That’s unclear. What is clear is that after almost an hour of truly compelling television, the writers had no idea how to deliver a satisfying ending. It was a major let down.

The next two episodes suffer from this same problem. They have interesting premises and great casting, and seemingly topical social commentary. (Although the fifth episode, in which a spoiled child is elected president by a fed-up America, is too over-the-top to work.) But in the end, the episodes lack a consistency from start to finish. The second and third episodes come close. The fourth and fifth miss by a mile (with the former somehow finding a way to make the alien invaders from 2002’s Signs look smart by comparison).

In fairness, there’s a lot more water under the sci-fi bridge than when Rod Serling first began the original Twilight Zone. And it’s not as if every episode from the original series is a home run. Ideas that were mind-blowing then would be clichéd and warmed over by now. And as a man with hopes to write a little sci-fi himself some day, I totally understand that it’s a lot easier to come up with a new idea than flesh it out into an entire episode.

But that’s the job Peele and his colleagues have taken on. The Twilight Zone has to function as both social commentary and science-fiction in order to thrive. CBS has already committed to a second season of the show, so they’re willing to bet on its future. The network has given Peele time to get this right. But audiences — even those of us rooting for him — might not prove so patient.

File this under “yet another sentence that wouldn’t have made any sense in the year 2000”: Tonight, the third episode of Jordan Peele’s The Twilight Zone reboot will become available to stream on CBS All Access. On the bright side, it’s by far the best of the series’ first episodes, four of which were made available to press. On the not-as-bright side, it falls apart in the last act and is still by far the best of the series’ first four episodes. The Twilight Zone may lie between science and superstition, but it lands squarely in the most densely populated territory in television, Prettygoodistan.

The question is whether pretty good is enough. With the first phase of streaming TV drawing to a close, viewers have a much different set of choices to make than they did back when House of Cards first hit Netflix—and increasingly, a platform will live or die by whether its marquee shows become seen as indispensable.

While CBS All Access launched in 2014, it didn’t introduce its first original show until 2017, and The Twilight Zone is its eighth since then. Yes, eighth. While Star Trek: Discovery and Good Wife spinoff The Good Fight are the platform’s best-known shows, there’s also urban fantasy Tell Me a Story, 1930s occult drama Strange Angel, Funny or Die comedy No Activity, a collection of Star Trek shorts called Short Treks, and the one-and-done Rust Belt mystery One Dollar.

Didn’t know there were that many? You’re not alone. But even if those other shows may not have driven conversation, they didn’t necessarily need to: The early goals for CBS were striking for their modesty. First the company wanted to reach 8 million streaming subscribers by 2020—something it managed by the end of 2018, though that number includes both CBS All Access and Showtime—and its goal is now 25 million by 2022, which is close to what Hulu has.

Yet while the streaming platform grows, an oligarchy solidifies around it. CBS has reached 8 million digital subscribers? Netflix added more than that many in one quarter alone. Hulu and Amazon are by now well entrenched, both critically and commercially. Add in forthcoming streaming services from Disney, WarnerMedia, and Apple—not to mention whatever over-the-top service you get your live TV from—and figuring out your monthly television offerings becomes a matter of some tough choices and possibly an Excel spreadsheet.


Increasingly, those tough choices look like something out of the gaming world. New videogame consoles traditionally depended on a “system seller,” that one game that was compelling enough to make it worth the price of the console itself. Think Wii Sports for the Nintendo Wii, Grand Theft Auto III for the PlayStation 2, Gears of War for the Xbox 360. Just like the hoary “killer app” discussion around any new technology, it was a way to identify and anoint the best-in-class experience on a platform.

That didn’t happen on TV. With the exception of premium channels like HBO, television has always been a land of monolithic accessibility. If you had cable, you had cable, and access to all the shows and cultural conversations contained therein. Now, though, each service brings with it its own decision to add yet another $6 or $10 to your aggregate TV bill—and so the “system seller” gave way to the “service seller.”

Now each streaming service brings with it its own decision to add yet another $6 or $10 to your aggregate TV bill—and so the “system seller” has given way to the “service seller.”

HBO Now had Game of Thrones. Hulu had Handmaid’s Tale. Netflix originally had House of Cards, but by this point is churning out so many shows and movies with so many viewpoints and sensibilities that it’s essentially become a cable provider of its own. Disney+ will offer Star Wars shows and a home for Marvel, Pixar, and other Disney-owned properties; WarnerMedia famously wants to pull Friends away from Netflix for its own streaming library.

  • Jordan Peele’s 2019 reboot of The Twilight Zone premiered on April 1.
  • The new Twilight Zone airs exclusively on CBS All Access.
  • Here’s a full rundown of what CBS All Access is and how you can use it to watch The Twilight Zone for free.

Sixty years after the original show’s premiere, Jordan Peele has graced the world with a brand-new version of The Twilight Zone, complete with new bone-chilling stories and a star-studded cast that includes such big names as Greg Kinnear, Seth Rogen, Ginnifer Goodwin, and more. If you’re as curious about the rebooted sci-fi series as we are, here’s everything you need to know about how to watch.

How can I watch the new Twilight Zone?

The 2019 reboot is available exclusively on CBS’s original streaming service, CBS All Access. Similar to other popular streaming services, CBS All Access gives subscribers the ability to watch any number of TV shows and movies on-demand — but, as you might suspect, all the content available on this particular platform was either created by or aired on CBS.

Any chance CBS All Access is free with a cable subscription?

Unfortunately, it’s not. Even if you have a cable plan that includes the network’s live broadcast, you’ll still need to purchase a separate subscription to CBS All Access. This is because it’s much more than just a cable app: On top of the current CBS shows and live TV that cable subscribers are used to, CBS All Access offers complete backlogs of the network’s oldies-but-goodies (think: Cheers and Frasier) and exclusive, original releases such as The Good Fight, Star Trek: Discovery, and now, The Twilight Zone. It also includes access to a handful of on-demand movies.

CBS All Access

Is CBS All Access free with an Amazon Prime account?

Nope. You can add your CBS All Access subscription to your Amazon Prime account (which means you can watch CBS All Access content through Amazon Prime Video and on Prime Video-supported devices), but you won’t receive any sort of discount for doing so.

Okay, but how much does CBS All Access cost?

It all depends on the plan you choose. If you don’t mind being interrupted by an ad every now and then, you should opt for the more affordable Limited Commercials Plan, which will cost you $5.99 a month or $59.99 for the year. If you want to avoid commercials altogether, however, you’ll need to shell out $9.99 a month or $99.99 for the year.

The good news: No matter which plan you choose, you get access to the same content, and there is a free trial available to those who want to test the service out before committing to a subscription. The not-so-good news: You do need to create an account and enter a credit card number to redeem your free trial, so you’ll need to remember to shut off auto-renewal payments if you opt not to continue with the service.

Can I watch any of the new Twilight Zone online for free?

Believe it or not, you can. On Monday, CBS All Access premiered two episodes of the highly anticipated Twilight Zone reboot. As promised, both episodes are available on CBS All Access — but one is also available for free viewing, in its entirety, on YouTube.

The free 55-minute episode is titled “The Comedian” and stars IRL comedian Kumail Nanjiani. Check it out below:

If you want to catch the rest of the show when it comes back for regular Thursday episodes starting April 11, you will have to join CBS All Access. Sign up for your free trial here.

More for Streaming Service Fans Heather Finn Content Strategy Editor Heather Finn is the content strategy editor at Good Housekeeping, where she heads up the brand’s social media strategy and covers entertainment news on everything from ABC’s ‘The Good Doctor’ to Netflix’s latest true crime documentaries.

It is unfortunate that I became a fan of this series 8 years after it was created. I look at TV these days with disappointment and boredom most of the time since most television drama series/movies deal with one of three genres: law, medicine, or science fiction. At first glance, The X-Files would seem to fit into this trend. However, its uniqueness is that it fits into all three of these categories plus a fourth and most important one: human imagination. This is what makes The X-Files one of the most intelligent and most important shows on television today. After all of these years, it is still one-of-a-kind. It forces us to think, to imagine, and to hope. I can’t say that about too many other shows at the present time.
I have heard several complaints from many people about the past few years of this show: The writing seems to have deteriorated, the loss of David Duchovny hurt the show, one never seems to find out anything from the show (and on the opposite end, we’ve found out too much from the show), and it has worn out its welcome. I disagree with all of these. The writing is as good as ever (This year had excellent shows; check out Redrum, This Is Not Happening, and the two-part season finale for a peek.). David Duchovny leaving the show may be a blow to fans, but I think Robert Patrick has done a terrific job in stepping in so late in a series. The acting is as good on that show as it has ever been. As for what we have learned from the show, I think that if one expects to be content with knowing why things that happened on the show happened, he is missing one of the major points of the show. The show is half the story; your imagination is the rest. Chris Carter has found that happy medium ground of saying enough but not too much. And I for one should be proof that the show has not been on too long. It is still finding fans (old and new). Those of you who have shied away from the show are missing out on truly great television.
My favorite show is the third episode from the sixth season: Triangle. The show was wonderfully written and brilliantly acted. Any new fan should check this show in particular out.
The truth is out there. The X-Files is still a terrific show after 8 years, and I am anxiously awaiting what is to come.

‘The Twilight Zone’ has bumpy takeoff in Jordan Peele’s CBS All Access reboot

It isn’t easy reimagining a classic.

“Be careful what you wish for” is an enduring message of “The Twilight Zone” and also a bit of a curse for the CBS All Access reboot and fans eager for an updated take on the Rod Serling original.

The 10-episode “Zone” (two episodes streaming Monday, followed by one each Thursday starting April 11) can’t help but fall short in comparison to the 1960s anthology, which delivered trenchant commentary on hot-button contemporary issues camouflaged in masterful tales of fantasy, horror and science fiction.

Two forgettable TV remakes, a 1983 film memorable for production tragedy and Serling’s own pale imitation, “Night Gallery,” offer cautionary tales.

In the hands of auteur Jordan Peele, however, the updated “Zone” (★★ out of four) shows promise and ambition, tackling divisive cultural topics while featuring a talented cast with a level of representation absent from the original. But it needs to smooth a bumpy start.

Related:Jordan Peele’s ‘Twilight Zone’ revival tackles changing ‘moral compass’ of Trumpian times

Fans of Serling’s classic (still seen on CBS All Access, Netflix and Syfy), which holds up 60 years after its premiere, will be delighted that “Zone” pays homage in ways large and small.

Opening credits feature the unforgettable theme music, the familiar logo and images (a door, an eyeball) featured in the black-and-white predecessor.

Most prominently, Peele takes on Serling’s role as the show’s onscreen narrator, introducing each episode and underlining the moral at its conclusion. Serling is irreplaceable, but Peele ably channels the master’s clipped style (while thankfully passing on his penchant for smoking).

A close viewing reveals delightful Easter eggs, as the four episodes made available for review feature fleeting references to memorable props, including a ventriloquist’s dummy; a toy devil’s head; a doll; and the monster more than imagined by William Shatner’s unhinged airline passenger in “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.”

Production values are top-notch, as disjointed camera angles and shadowy lighting deliver genuine tension.

At the same time, the new series can’t match the original’s trademark shocking twist, as when humans learn that a book titled “To Serve Man” is a cookbook, not a philanthropic goal. The new twists are underdone by comparison: not surprising, revealed too early or simply unfathomable.

Another difference is length, as the commercial-free episodes run about double the length of the mostly half-hour TV originals, which aired on CBS from 1959-64. Tautness added tension; the new ones just seem too long.

Four episodes made available for preview offer an uneven sampling – no surprise for a new series, especially an anthology with changing casts, writers and directors – with a wide gap separating the best, the tense, culturally resonant “Replay” from the worst, a free-falling “Nightmare at 30,000 Feet,” the only one adapted from an original episode.

“Replay,” a harrowing take on a mother (Sanaa Lathan) taking her son (Damson Idris) to college, illustrates what the new “Zone” can be, creating horror by mixing the fantastic – a camcorder that erases events with a touch of the rewind button – with the all too real, black fears of police mistreatment. Lathan convincingly embodies a range of strong feelings, from terror to rage, while Glenn Fleshler’s racist trooper conveys menace in the mundane.

“Replay,” which echoes the racism powering the horror in Peele’s brilliant “Get Out,” illustrates how the new version deals more openly with divisive issues than the more allegorical original, which disguised how it addressed controversial matters such as the Cold War fear of Communist infiltrators. The more straightforward approach is less artful but reflects our more direct times.

“Nightmare” provides a strong argument against direct episodic remakes. (But it would be fun to see 1961’s “It’s a Good Life” redone with Iain Armitage as the all-powerful boy wishing adults into the cornfield, although he does that metaphorically on “Young Sheldon.”)

Adam Scott can skillfully play unease, but his portrayal of an airline passenger haunted by crash fears born of supernatural terror pales compared to the 1963 tour de force by Shatner, whose knack for chewing scenery served him well as a crazed man who’s disbelieved by passengers and flight crew.

Too many incredible details prevent the episode from being grounded, and a laughable ending appears to channel the “Lost” pilot and “Lord of the Flies.”

Kumail Nanjiani delivers a strong performance as a stand-up comic losing himself as the price of success in “The Comedian,” which provides a good twist, if one that’s apparent too early.

Finally, “A Traveler,” which features Steven Yeun (“The Walking Dead”) as a mysterious prisoner who appears out of nowhere in a small-town Alaska jail, hits on timely topics of ethnic identity, shared cultural beliefs and antagonism barely contained by a veneer of civility.

Although the episode isn’t a remake, it deftly underlines a theme of one of the original’s best, “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street”: Our worst enemies are ourselves.

If Peele’s new “Zone” can cultivate the best elements of “Replay,” “Comedian” and “Traveler,” it may yet take viewers soaring on “a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination.” But even if it does reduce turbulence, don’t pass up a better side trip to Serling’s original fifth dimension.

The latest version of “The Twilight Zone,” from executive producer Jordan Peele, starts Monday, April 1 on CBS All Access.

You can’t hear its unmistakable theme music without flashing back to “The Twilight Zone,” which ran on CBS from 1959 to 1964. It was an anthology show of science fiction, horror and fantasy, graced by such future stars as Robert Redford, Robert Duvall, Carol Burnett and William Shatner. And you can’t think of “The Twilight Zone” without thinking of Rod Serling, the man who created and hosted it.

What you may not remember is that “The Twilight Zone” wasn’t exactly a hit. In a 1970 interview, Serling described the early reaction to the show: “You have to gauge that in the strange arithmetic of television, which is very close to insanity. I think in its best run, ‘Twilight Zone’ got roughly a 31-32 share, which in television terms, says that it is a mild success. It is not a runaway hit, it’s not ‘Gunsmoke,’ and it’s a very questionable item as to whether we’ll renew it,” he said.

James Poniewozik, the chief television critic for The New York Times, noted that Serling’s entire career was a story of run-ins with sponsors, networks, and corporate censors.

“There was a concept in television, of the old sort of three-network age, that was called the Least Objectionable Program,” said Poniewozik. “The best kind of programming was something that was inoffensive, that didn’t make people want turn the TV off.”

Serling’s screenplays wound up addressing controversial social issues, by disguising them. “He would use terror of aliens to stand in for McCarthyism, for conformity in American society, for fear of ‘The Other,'” said Poniewozik. “And the network people didn’t understand what he was doing, but he was able to get a point across in a lot of the ‘Twilight Zones’ by using UFOs and aliens.”

Correspondent David Pogue asked Jodi Serling, Rod’s daughter, about the man most people knew as the guy in the suit with the cigarette introducing each episode.

“My dad was the funniest person in the world,” she said. “He would dress the animals up in human clothes, and talk for the animals, and put lamps on his head.”

“By the end of the ’50s, early ’60s, he was sort of a superstar, wasn’t he?” Pogue asked.

“He was.”

“Did that reflect at all in his parenting? I mean, was he around?”

“When he was in his study and the door was shut, we knew that that was off-limits. But most of the time he was open to talk to us when we wanted to talk to him or play with him. I never felt he was ever absent in my life at all.”

Serling enlisted in the Army immediately after high school, when World War II was in full swing. He was a paratrooper in the Pacific, a shattering experience that, his family says, haunted him for the rest of his life.

“My mom said that lots of times he’d wake up sweating, thinking he was back in the fields and everything,” said Jodi.

Pogue asked, “Is it too simple to say that some of the episodes that we know were your dad trying to work out ?”

In the episode “Walking Distance,” Gig Young travels back in time to his hometown, and meets himself as a child. CBS

“Oh, yeah, it was cathartic, definitely, for him.”

“Walking Distance,” starring Gig Young, is one of the most personal episodes Serling wrote. It’s about a man who returns to the idyllic town of his boyhood (inspired by Serling’s hometown of Binghamton, N.Y.), and finds it frozen in time as it was back then.

It features a carousel, which still runs today in Binghamton, now with commemorative portraits.

“He loved Binghamton; this is where his childhood was,” said Jodi. “And when he came back after the war, his dad had passed. He wished he could turn time back and see his dad again. And that’s what prompted him to write ‘Walking Distance.'”

David Pogue and Jodi Serling on the carousel in Rod Serling’s hometown, Binghamton, N.Y. CBS News

As a TV series, “Twilight Zone” has been resurrected three times. Once in the 1980s, once in the 2000s, and once starting tomorrow. Its executive producer is Jordan Peele, who wrote and directed the Oscar-winning movie “Get Out” in 2017, and the new horror movie “Us,” which is in theaters now.

“We were tasked with this sort of near-impossible feat of following in the footsteps of the greatest show of all time,” Peele said.

Jordan Peele CBS News

“People have said that you are a natural choice for this project because Serling also served up helpings of social justice,” said Pogue.

“Yeah, we deal with issues like the price of fame, and racial violence. We deal with issues of profiling, and guns in the country.”

What elements of the original have been kept? “Serling and the other writers, they built in reveals, and obviously they built in twists,” Peele said. “There’s always this, we call it the Serling wink, this sense that something sort of mischievous is at play.

“And then lastly, the power of parable, this notion that when an audience is brought into an engaging story and sets their imagination going, that they’ll be left afterward to think about what it’s about.”

Peele introduces each episode on camera, just as Serling always did, minus the cigarettes. Serling’s four-pack-a-day habit, 14-hour work days, and an inherited cardiac weakness eventually took their toll, in the form of three successive heart attacks. He underwent open-heart surgery, but died in the hospital, at age 50.

“He had a fear of his own mortality,” said Jodi. “I think he knew that he was gonna not make it.”

The days of heavy network censorship are gone now. So, is there any need today for “Twilight Zone’s” trick of delivering social commentary through storytelling?

“I think there’s always a need for good allegorical storytelling that kind of gets at the demons that, you know, maybe you’re allowed to talk about but people don’t necessarily like to talk about,” said TV critic James Poniewozik.

In the meantime, the Serling family is happy to hand over the reins to Jordan Peele. Jodi Serling said, “One of the things that my mom and I are really happy about is that he has the same social and feelings, and he’s also got a lot of humor in him. So, in a lot of ways he’s a lot like my dad. And we are honored to have him step in and continue the legacy, we really are.”

Peele said, If people hate me if I fail, then at least I will know I did it with the right purpose, and that’s trying to continue Serling’s mission.”

To watch a trailer for the new “Twilight Zone,” click on the video player below.

The Twilight Zone – Extended Trailer | CBS All Access by CBS All Access on YouTube

For more info:

  • “The Twilight Zone,” hosted by Jordan Peele, premieres April 1 on CBS All Access
  • Watch the classic “The Twilight Zone” on, Hulu and Netflix
  • “The Twilight Zone Companion” (Third Edition) by Marc Scott Zicree (Silman James Press)
  • “The Best of Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone Scripts” – Edited by Tony Albarella (Gauntlet Press)
  • James Poniewozik, The New York Times
  • The Rod Serling Archive, The Bundy Museum of History & Art, Binghamton, N.Y.

Story produced by Gabriel Falcon.

‘The Twilight Zone’ Renewed for Season 2 at CBS All Access

CBS All Access and Jordan Peele will spend some more time in another dimension.

The streamer has renewed Peele and Simon Kinberg’s Twilight Zone revival for a second season. The pickup comes five episodes into the anthology’s run; new installments are released each Thursday.

“Jordan Peele and Simon Kinberg’s reimagining of The Twilight Zone is off to an amazing start on CBS All Access, driving the most viewers on its premiere day for an original series to date,” Julie McNamara, executive vp original content for the streaming service, said Monday in a statement. “Jordan, Simon, the creative team and cast have done a phenomenal job translating the series’ legacy of socially conscious storytelling for modern-day audiences. They are master storytellers, and we look forward to bringing fans further into The Twilight Zone with a second season.”

Just how many viewers the premiere day of The Twilight Zone delivered isn’t known; like other streaming services, CBS All Access doesn’t release average viewership numbers for its series. The streamer also hasn’t set a premiere date or episode count for season two.

In addition to executive producing, Peele also appears onscreen as each episode’s narrator, a la Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling in the original series. Kinberg, Win Rosenfeld, Audrey Chon, Glen Morgan, Carol Serling and Rick Berg also executive produce.

The revival boasts an impressive roster of actors, with Adam Scott, Sanaa Lathan, Steven Yeun, Kumail Nanjiani, Greg Kinnear, Allison Tolman, John Cho and Tracy Morgan having already made appearances. Coming episodes feature Ginnifer Goodwin, Zazie Beetz, Taissa Farmiga, Chris O’Dowd, Seth Rogen, Rhea Seehorn, Jessica Williams and DeWanda Wise, among others.

The Twilight Zone is part of a CBS All Access roster of originals that includes The Good Fight (recently renewed for a fourth season); Star Trek: Discovery and spinoff Short Treks; Strange Angel; Tell Me a Story; and No Activity. The service also has the animated series Star Trek: Lower Decks; a Trek series starring Patrick Stewart; the true-crime drama Interrogation; the dark comedy Why Women Kill; and an adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand on tap.

​How And When To Watch The Twilight Zone On CBS All Access

That’s the signpost up ahead… your next stop, The Twilight Zone.
Available exclusively on CBS All Access starting Monday, Apr. 1, an all-new The Twilight Zone series from Executive Producers Jordan Peele (Get Out, Us) and Simon Kinberg (The X-Men franchise) will take viewers beyond the borders of imagination.
Here’s everything you need to know about watching this momentous new TV mind-trip.
STREAM: The Twilight Zone, Star Trek: Discovery, The Good Fight, And More On CBS All Access
What you need to know
The Twilight Zone premieres on Monday, Apr. 1 with the release of its first two episodes. Then, beginning on Apr. 11, new installments of the series will be available every Thursday exclusively on CBS All Access.
Not only does Jordan Peele lend his creativity to the show behind-the-scenes, but he’ll be stepping into the role of narrator and host through The Twilight Zone, following in the footsteps of legendary creator Rod Serling from the classic series.
And, just like the classic show, the new series will feature a standalone story each week that explores different characters and a wide variety of scenarios—all of them within the horrifying boundaries of The Twilight Zone.
READ: Everything We Know So Far About The Twilight Zone On CBS All Access
An A-list cast
With a show shepherded by Peele and Kinberg, could you expect anything less than a stunning who’s who of performers?
Like the original series that preceded it, The Twilight Zone will showcase a wide array of talent including:
– Ike Barinholtz
– Zazie Beetz
– John Cho
– Taissa Farmiga
– Ginnifer Goodwin
– Greg Kinnear
– Luke Kirby
– Sanaa Lathan
– Kumail Nanjiani
– Chris O’Dowd
– Seth Rogan
– Adam Scott
– Rhea Seehorn
– Allison Tolman
– Jacob Tremblay
– Jessica Williams
– DeWanda Wise
– Steven Yeun
Stream in black and white
In an awesome throwback to the classic series, the entire first season of The Twilight Zone will be available to stream in black and white beginning May 30—in addition to the original full-color version.
Variety is the spice of life, after all!
STREAM: Full Episodes Of The Twilight Zone In Black And White Exclusively On CBS All Access
Watch on CBS All Access or
The Twilight Zone will be available to stream exclusively to CBS All Accesssubscribers, which is available on your desktop, smartphone, and a variety of other electronic devices, including Apple TV, Android, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, iPad, iPhone, PS4, Roku, Windows 10, and Xbox.
Or, simply visit
READ: Jordan Peele And Simon Kinberg List Their Top 10 Classic Twilight Zone Episodes
More about CBS All Access
Not only will CBS All Access let you stream every episode of The Twilight Zone, but a subscription also includes access to every other CBS All Access original series, like Star Trek: Discovery, The Good Fight, Tell Me A Story, Strange Angel, and No Activity, with many more to come.
In addition, you’ll be able to stream full episodes from current and earlier seasons of your favorite CBS network shows like Criminal Minds, NCIS, Big Brother, Survivor, and live specials like the Academy of Country Music Awards and the Tony Awards.
Plus, you’ll have access to a vast library of classics—including every single episode of the classic The Twilight Zone.
Subscribe now
If you want to take advantage of everything CBS All Access has to offer, you can try it absolutely free for a week!
After that, it’s only $5.99/month with limited commercials or $9.99/month commercial-free!
Stream The Twilight Zone, available exclusively on CBS All Access.
And now, stream every episode in black and white.

If you’re a fan of Black Mirror, you’ll definitely want to check out Jordan Peele’s revival of Rod Serling’s classic anthology series The Twilight Zone.

The renowned multi-hyphenate’s reimagining of the original series will feature various tales of science fiction, horror, and mystery as Peele himself serves as host and narrator. Episode 1, “Nightmare at 30,000 Feet,” centers on a journalist listening to a podcast that details how the plane on which he’s a passenger will disappear. The premiere episode stars Adam Scott and Chris Diamantopoulos, while future episodes will include actors Seth Rogen, Kumail Nanjiani, John Cho, Tracy Morgan, and Jacob Tremblay.

When does Jordan Peele’s Twilight Zone revival premiere? How can you watch the new Twilight Zone online? Here’s everything you need to know!


The new Twilight Zone will air exclusively on CBS All Access.


The first two episodes of The Twilight Zone premiere Monday, April 1 on CBS All Access.


*** UPDATE: Episode 1 of The Twilight Zone is currently streaming for free on YouTube! ***

The only way to stream the new Twilight Zone is with a subscription to CBS All Access. CBS’ streaming platform is available for as little as $5.99 (or a $9.99 commercial free option), but fans looking for a free Twilight Zone live stream can sign up for a free trial of the service.


Nope. Jordan Peele’s revival of the classic series won’t be available for next day streaming on Hulu.


Yes, the original Twilight Zone is on Hulu. You can catch up on classic episodes of The Twilight Zone on Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video.

RELATED: The One Episode of ‘The Twilight Zone’ You Should Watch Before Seeing Jordan Peele’s New Movie, ‘Us’

Where to stream The Twilight Zone

Jordan Peele’s reboot of the seminal sci-fi series arrives on CBS All Access. And Iggy Pop’s four-part documentary series wraps up on Epix.

What’s Streaming

THE TWILIGHT ZONE Stream on CBS All Access. March was a big month for Jordan Peele, the Academy Award-winning writer and director behind “Get Out.” It began with the opening of his second feature, the widely praised horror film “Us.” And on Monday Peele makes his debut as the narrator and host of his reimagining of “The Twilight Zone.” Peele has long idolized that groundbreaking Rod Serling sci-fi anthology series. (The premise of “Us” — about a family besieged by bloodthirsty doppelgängers — was inspired by the episode “Mirror Image.”) The show premieres with two episodes; the first stars Kumail Nanjiani as a fame-seeking comedian, and the second features Adam Scott as a paranoid airline passenger.

ULTRAMAN Stream on Netflix. The original live-action Japanese show “Ultraman” has led to several sequels and spinoffs in multiple mediums since its debut in the 1960s. At the heart of the franchise is the story of a gigantic superbeing who defends Earth from monsters and alien invasions. This iteration, an animated series based on a currently running manga sequel, shifts focus to the original superhero’s son, who, whether he likes it or not, has inherited his father’s powers.