Jordan Peele’s The Twilight Zone


Aidan Herklotz

The Twilight Zone is quite possibly the most parodied piece of media of all time (mostly thanks to Matt Groening). It’s also the most influential piece of science fiction since Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Rod Serling, and his anthology show in the 60s, practically created science fiction, and nobody seems to know it. But now that anthology series are back on the rise (i.e. Black Mirror, Electric Dreams, Love Death + Robots), the amazing Jordan Peele (Us, Get Out) is giving The Twilight Zone one more try, in the form of a reboot.

The Twilight Zone has actually been rebooted several times before, or at least it was attempted to be. The obvious first was in 1985, when they took three episodes of the show and made them into a four-part film (the first part was actually an original, whereas the other three were remakes). This has been the best reboot of the lot, with chilling performances by John Lithgow, Dan Aykroyd, and Vic Morrow.

The next television reboot was also in 1985, riding off of the popularity of the film, although it didn’t exactly live up to the standards of the film. This series lasted only five weeks, probably because almost all of the episodes were adaptations of various short stories (mostly by Harlan Ellison). One of the best parts of the original series was that almost all of the episodes were written by Rod Serling himself. The fact that the episodes were written by someone other than Serling is most of what makes this version almost universally hated, besides the absolutely terrible “Grateful Dead” theme song, which I’d prefer not to elaborate on.

On a slightly lighter note, the 2003 series was…somewhat better. Mostly because it was hosted by Forest Whitaker. While I’d like to say more good about this version, the Forest thing is basically it.

So now onto the saving grace (hopefully) of The Twilight Zone series: Jordan Peele. Many know Peele either from his comedy series (Key and Peele) or his Oscar winning horror film Get Out. Peele is basically the new Rod Serling, acting as producer and narrator of the series. Looking at the trailer, it looks more like a Black Mirror than a traditional Twilight Zone, although that may just be because it isn’t in black and white. Unlike the previous Twilight Zone reboots, this version is mostly reusing previous episodes of the original series, rather than originals (although there seem to be a few sprinkled throughout). Personally, I’m the most excited for the remake of a “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” with Adam Scott taking on the role played by John Lithgow from the film. All-in-all, the Jordan Peele Twilight Zone seems to be a return to the original Twilight Zone, and a much needed one indeed. I’m just hoping that the new series won’t lean too heavily on Rod Serling’s original.