June 19 marked 50 years since the last episode of The Twilight Zone aired. With over 150 episodes in five seasons, Rod Sterling’s anthology series was so prominent that it inspired a film and two revivals. In the five decades since it last aired, The Twilight Zone’s influence is still felt today.
With the elements of science fiction, mystery, suspense and fantasy that were present in all five seasons, it is no wonder it ranked No. 26 in TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time in 2002. In 2013, it was ranked as the third best-written series ever by the Writers Guild of America, and the fifth greatest show of all time by TV Guide.
In light of its recent milestone, and in preparation for Syfy’s Independence Day Twilight Zone Marathon, we have compiled a list of the top 10 episodes. May we enjoy them and momentarily find our selves in the fifth dimension that is The Twilight Zone.
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10. I Am The Night – Color Me Black
“I Am the Night – Color Me Black” tells the story of a town where the sun ceased to shine on the very same day a hanging took place. The reason why is revealed in an ending that was both dark and creepy.
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9. The Monsters are Due on Maple Street
When strange things start happening in Maple Street, its residents are awaiting monsters. Little do they realize that the only monsters in their streets are themselves when they start turning on each other.
Rod Sterling’s narration says it best:
“The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, and prejudices — to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill. And suspicion can destroy. And a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all its own – for the children… and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is… that these things cannot be confined… to the Twilight Zone.”
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8. It’s a Good Life
Evil kids are a special kind of creepy in shows and movies. “It’s a Good Life,” is no different with 6-year-old Anthony, who has special abilities and uses them to have the adults around him act the way he wants them to. Or else.
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7. The Four of Us Are Dying
“The Four of Us Are Dying” tells the story of a con man who was caught up in his own cons and it cost him his life. He had the ability to shift into the bodies of other people, but each one he chose landed him in trouble, creating a chain that eventually unraveled at his demise.
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6. The Hitchhiker
In this eerie episode, we see a woman driving past the same man on the road. And no matter where or how fast she drove in her car, he was always there. It wasn’t until she attempted to call for help when she realized who the man truly was.
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5. Nightmare at 20,000 Feet
When a man who is still recovering from a mental breakdown starts to see a creature outside his window in the middle of his flight, he begins to questions his sanity, and so do his wife and the flight crew. Of course, the creature is only visible to him, because whenever someone else took a look out the window, the creature was gone.
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4. Time Enough At Last
The irony of ironies is told in this episode about Henry, whose biggest wish is to be able to read without running out of time and without being told he can’t. When his wish finally comes true, though a little morbidly, and he is left alone in the planet to read every book he wants, his glasses break, and he is no longer able to see and therefore no longer able to read.
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3. The Eye of the Beholder
“The Eye of the Beholder” is full of mystery and suspense throughout the entire episode. It tells the story of a woman who has undergone the maximum amount of attempts allowed to fix her face and is waiting to have her bandages removed to see whether or not the last procedure has worked. Meanwhile, all the doctors and nurses taking care of her have had their faces cleverly covered or obscured at all times, while still taking part in dialogue without any obstacle.
When the bandages are finally removed from the patient’s face, viewers are taken by surprise, as what was under those layers wasn’t what we expect would need procedures.
Twilight Zone – The Eye of the Beholder from Elaine Ou on Vimeo.
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2. The Long Morrow
“The Long Morrow” is one of those episodes that still makes you wish for a different ending every time you watch it, while understanding that the love of the gestures is what makes it so beautiful. Let’s allow Rory to explain what it’s about.
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1. Living Doll
Ending the list with what is possibly the most referenced Twilight Zone episode, this one is about an evil talking doll that has her sight set on her owner’s stepfather. When a young girl and her mother come home with the expensive Talky Tina, the young girl’s stepfather makes his disapproval of the doll very obvious, to which Tina didn’t take too kindly. The doll began talking to him and telling him she hated him and threatening to kill him, which prompted him to try to get rid of it. After his attempts to to destroy it are unsuccessful, the doll gives him an eerie warning, “My name is Talky Tina, and you’ll be sorry.” After causing him to fall down the stairs and die, the doll proceeded to warn the young girl’s mother as well. “My name is Tina, and you’d better be nice to me.”