I’ve been watching episodes of both The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. They’re both similar in many aspects, they use different actors in self contained stories for each episode. Both series rely on unusual plot turns and often an ambiguous ending.
Which of these two series do you prefer? In the limited episodes I’ve seen of both, I’d have to give Alfred Hitchcock Presents a slight nod over the Twilight Zone although I’ve been enjoying watching both shows.
Both series, and similar ones like Thriller and The Outer Limits, move fairly slowly by current storytelling standards. Most of the Twilight Zone episodes are only a half hour long, so they move fairly well, but the hour long ones, which excellent, are a bit tough to sit through.
I think Twilight Zone was more creepy/scary when I watched as a small child. Only Hitchcok show I remember is the one playing the night my brother died in a car wreck.
Both raise too much emotion in me for me to judge them as an adult.
Really? I would argue the opposite: Alfred Hitchcock Presents was much better at consistently putting out O’Henry-type twist endings, but The Twilight Zone generally had better acting, cinemotography and set design (save for the six Season Two episodes that were filmed on videotape which have both horrible video quality and were significantly impared by the limitations of working with then unwieldy video cameras and editing facitilites) but less consistent writing.
If plot twists in The Twilight Zone are obvious today, it is in no small part because the show basically introduced the notion of such twists in a science fiction/fantasy setting, and many of those types of twists have become genre tropes, e.g. if you see a man and a woman being stranded together on a foriegn planet, odds are their names are going to turn out to be Adam and Eve (or some variation thereof). However, even knowning the ending of episodes like “Time Enough at Last”, “One for the Angels”, “A Game ofPool”, “I Sing The Body Electric”, “The Long Morrow” doesn’t change the impact of the twist.
I believe that there are more pop culture references in The Simpsons to episodes of The Twilight Zone than to any other show or film, and in general, cultural references to several tropes either initiated or popularized by The Twilight Zone are widely known even to people who haven’t actually seen the episodes. (It would be a rare person who does not understand the implication of the words “To serve man”.)
But as good as good Twilight Zone episodes were, bad ones are nearly unwatchable, and I would count that as at least a quarter of the episodes, especially those from the disasterous fourth series, only three or four of which are really worth watching. Hitchcock, on the other hand, rarely had a truly unwatchable episode.
TZ, but mostly for the sf/fantasy themes which I prefer. It also did a good job of introducing the general public to some good stories, like “To Serve Man” and “It’s a Good Life” already mentioned. If I were more a fan of mystery and suspense I could see myself preferring Hitchcock. However Hitchcock was more fun of a host than Serling.
Also, Hitchcock himself usually directed a couple of episodes per season. In fact, the ones he directed (e.g., “The Man from the South” and “Lamb to the Slaughter”) were among the more memorable episodes from the series.