The Twilight Zone

Re-Entering the Twilight Zone

Speaking of midwinter burrowing and Netflix-ing, I recently started watching “The Twilight Zone” from the beginning. It was a family favorite when I was a kid but from a twenty-more-years-on-this-planet perspective, I officially decree that “The Twilight Zone” rules.

The quality of the acting is consistently impressive—there are 36 episodes in the first season alone; where are all of these sweaty, brink-of-madness male character-actors coming from?—and the writing, especially in Rod Serling’s opening and closing monologues, is near-poetry at best and, at worst, very very funny.

Moreover, the set design, framing and cinematography is fantastic for a weekly network television show broadcast in 1959 and I often find myself admiring the art direction and composition of single shots and scenes. Emotional breaks, the loss of sanity, fear, solitude and subtle idiosyncrasies from the accepted reality are all common themes and they are emphasized with harsh camera angles, slow, lonesome, minimal long shots, chiaroscuro and, the thing I’ve appreciated most often, character isolation through symmetry. Some favorite moments above.