I’m watching Season 4 of the old Twilight Zone series on Hulu. The hour long format had some potential, but they didn’t develop it. They just filled the hour up with crap. I don’t know of one single episode that was enhanced by the longer format. Anyone disagree?
I think Of Late I Think Of Cliffordville would’ve been too rushed in half an hour.
I don’t specifically recall any of the episodes but I tend to agree. Serling was running out of ideas by around this time and the last thing they needed was the expansion to an hour, which only lasted that one season. Season 5 was back to the half-hour format and was the last season.
Oddly enough, Night Gallery five years later which was also hosted by Serling and partially written by him had some good stories, though it was thematically different, more horror than sci-fi. I still think the pilot episode was great classic television.
ETA: Spoiler alert! If you’re interested and have a chance to see it, don’t read the Wiki link, which gives away the plots of all three stories in the pilot.
That is literally the only 1 hour TZ I enjoy. I find every other one I’ve seen( I think all of them )kinda tedious. And I’m a big TZ fan.
Serling was informed that he could either produce one hour episodes or the show would be axed. I believe the scripts were in place and simply padded to last an hour. As a result, the episodes are generally paced very slow. I did like Printer’s Devil with Burgess Meredith and Of Late I think of Cliffordville with Albert Salmi.
I watched that one last night as well. It was a good episode, but I could still see a lot of filler.
Further, if I ever negotiate a deal with a genie or the devil, I am inserting a “no tricks” clause in the contract. The language in this contract means what reasonable people think it means and if I have forgotten something rather obvious, then I want that included as well.
Addendum to that: If I wish for fame and power, I do not want to become Adolf Hitler.
The types of stories that The Twilight Zone tells well, e.g. the single camera short narratives with an often surprise ending a la the ironic vignettes of O’Henry and existential short horror of Ambrose Bierce really work best in the half hour format because they don’t depend on much more than the superficial characterization of two or three characters and the setup and denouement of the central plot complication. Making them longer gets you a M. Night Shyamalan movie with so much filler you can’t help but guess the suprise ending (unless the plot twist is so ridiculous that it makes no sense).
The fourth season episodes of The Twilight Zone are stuffed with filler, but they aren’t nearly as unwatchable as the second season episodes filmed on videotape (done to save money even though the actual savings as paltry). Those are so bad not only because the image quality is horrendous but becase of the liimitations of the camera meant that the characters couldn’t move around very much in and out of the focal plane and the lighting required washed out every shadow. One of the timeless qualities of the original Twilight Zone was that many of the episodes used light and shadow effectively to enhance the tension, and these episodes have none of that. They are also, narratively, some of the least memorable episodes of the entire show.
A half hour version might have cut precious moments of Julie Newmar - and that would be wrong.
I think it was in a John Collier story that a young woman bargained with a demon for ONE wish.
“I wish that you fall hopelessly and unselfishly in love with me.”
Smart girl. Think about it.
Me, if I got one wish, would probably blurt out “1963 JULIE NEWMAR!!!” And probably end up as a twelve-inch pianist.
Miniature and On Thursday We Leave for Home are the best of that season IMO. It latter is probably a little long but Miniature is good.
IIRC, the guy wished for real power over a substantial 20th-century nation. In that regard, the genie broke his agreement by making him into Der Fuhrer at a time when he’d lost his power. If he’d made the guy into Hitler in 1933, that would have lived up to the spirit of the wish. It would also quite possibly be a whole interesting story in itself.
Exactly! Making him Hitler was one thing, but Hitler on April 29, 1945 was just being mean for its own sake. They must have taught that in genie school (of which advanced lawyer training is required), how to rules lawyer all the fun out of wishes. (hmm, that’s an interesting take on the three wishes thing. maybe they were NEVER meant to be good. It’s all an elaborate con by the genie guild.)
And never ask, “What?”
Heh, when I saw the thread title I immediately thought: they weren’t very good.
But I guess a few were per a few of ya.