The Twilight Zone
Our No. 1 choice for the best Christmas episode ever may not be a surprise -- any episode that involves the creation of a new, Christmas spin-off holiday has to rate a top spot! -- but countdown is designed to bring some ho-ho-ho holiday cheer to your celebration this season.
So, jump down off the aluminum pole, postpone that Airing of Grievances and recall these classic Christmas TV installments.
However, every once in awhile, a series will create a monster believable enough to actually scare us. We may not jump or cry while watching the show, but the memory of it sticks with us. It's unsettling when you're alone at night or lost in the woods. In honor of Halloween, here are the scariest TV monsters of all time.
So, it's no surprise that the networks, both broadcast and cable, keep digging up TV's graveyard to reanimate undead shows and turn them into unholy creations that will eventually turn on their masters. One or two might break through the pack and become a menial hit, but the rest are doomed to become worm food once again.
All you have to do is look back at TV's extremely checkered past of "re-imagined" classics to know that trying to cash in on kitschy nostalgia can stick you with a whole lotta nothing.
These six attempts to bring back the dead, however, are below the bottom of the barrel, the lower of the lowest of the low, the best of the worst. That means they will never have a chance of being remade EVER AGAIN. (We can only hope.)
So I'm contemplating my favorite Twilight Zone episodes, and it's really hard to choose. But if I had to narrow it down to three, I'd probably go with these:
"Time Alone At Last": This is the one where a book lover finds himself joyously alone with books after a nuclear blast. Until ... I keep thinking he'd be able to remedy that situation by trolling through optometry shops -- if he could see well enough to find one, that is.
As Alicia Florrick, the wife of a Chicago prosecutor who was caught sucking the toes of prostitutes and forced to resign, Julianna Margulies masters the shell-shocked, distant gaze. Her eyes, in fact, fixate on a stray thread on his suit. But the fog lifts quickly and away from the podium, reality comes in the form of a smack in the face. She delivers the smack, and from that moment, you're on her side. Maybe it was a cheap trick, but it worked.
Supertremendous.com has their list of the 100 most iconic TV show intros. You can read the first 90, but I wanted to concentrate on the top ten. That list includes The Brady Bunch, The Simpsons, M*A*S*H, Knight Rider (???), and The Twilight Zone, along with the number one pick after the jump. Can you guess it before you click?
Viewers were also into grittier fare like realistic cop dramas ('Ironside,' 'Adam-12') and war action series ('12 O'Clock High,' 'Combat!'), though there was plenty of classic sitcom fun on the airwaves, too, from 'The Andy Griffith Show' and 'The Dick Van Dyke Show' to 'Get Smart' and 'My Three Sons.'
Take a look at our picks of the decade's best and let us know if we got it right. -- By Kimberly Potts
Is television taking up too much of your time? Do you find yourself spending night after night on the couch, spending hours of quality time clutching your remote in the hopes it will lead you down the primrose path of perfect entertainment? Have you wasted entire days of your life decreasing the firmness of the coils in your couch with your ever increasing ass planted firmly in front of the idiot box?
If so, maybe a more physical activity would perk up your droll and dull life. Why not put down that remote, throw that TV Guide in the trash compactor and pick up that video game controller for a few hours of TV-related interactive entertainment? Because exercise is for people with no creative thought for self-entertainment.
Here is just a sample of some TV show game spinoffs headed to an XBox, Playstation or coffee table near you.
I'm not sure what DiCaprio could do with the franchise that hasn't been done before. It's basically science fiction, fantasy and horror stories with a twist ending (M. Night Shyamalan owes his entire career to The Twilight Zone). Rumor has it that the new movie will be a set of interwoven stories based on classics from the original run of the show that were written by Rod Serling himself, albeit with more pretty computer-generated special effects. For some reason, I find that unoriginal and possibly downright scary.
Still, The Twilight Zone was groundbreaking for its time and a very flexible concept. If Star Trek could be successfully reinvented for the movies, why not this franchise?
It took audiences on an out of control thrill ride that zigged and zagged in directions that no one saw coming. The stories would lead viewers one way and just when they thought they had the ending figured out, it took them down an emotional corkscrew that could melt their brains. It was and still is digital acid, minus the waking up in a dumpster with a head of hair that smells like raw chicken.
But picture if you will, an even bigger twist lying inside this twisted wasteland of shock and discovery. A twist that smashes the fourth wall of television with the brute force of a charging rhino strapped to the front of a nuclear warhead and reveals the true identity of the man who pulls all the strings....in The Twilight Zone.
Being that we eat, breathe, drink, sleep, pee, poop and vomit television here at TV Squad, we like to gauge the pulse of the community once in awhile. It gives us a chance to see what others are thinking and doing as well as see what the new and continuing trends are. Plus, it fills up some white space on the site. So, the question I am tabling is this: What are you going to be watching this New Year's Eve and Day?
It's a strange time of year for television as viewing selections are all over the map. If you are a lover of college football this is your Christmas as the tube is filled with the antiquated Bowl games that constitute "playoffs." For science fiction fans there's the annual Twilight Zone marathon on Sci Fi Channel. Those who can barely move from the couch for fear of talking on the porcelain phone once again, there's plenty of inane marathons to provide ambiance while you try to sleep it off.
Publishing company Walker & Co. is getting together with the estate of Rod Serling and the Savannah College of Art & Design to produce several graphic novels that will be based on the scripts of the original Twilight Zone series. The books (there will be eight in all, and perhaps more to come if these are received well) are to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Twilight Zone episode, which will be next year. The first two episodes they're doing are "Walking Distance" and "The After Hours."
I'm sorry, but while I think that everyone is entitled to their opinion about "best this" and "best that" (not to be confused with "favorite this" and "favorite that"), sometimes such a list has some entries that just make you scratch your head so much that you have to throw the whole list away and start over. Case in point, this list of the 10 Best TV Pilots from the new issue of TV Guide.
While I'm not going to sit here and argue about shows on the list like Lost, The Sopranos, and Alias, I am going to take issue with the inclusion of Desperate Housewives, The Shield, and Football Wives. Honestly, are these true representatives of the best first episodes of TV shows? Forget about what the shows became (great shows can often have so-so early episodes), just the first episodes themselves. Was there truly anything special about Desperate Housewives that would place it ahead of...oh, I don't know, 400 other shows in the history of television?
Of all the television shows he mentioned, though, there was one that was the most influential. "You can't have the '60s without The Twilight Zone. It is a mind opening experience for a generation," said Matt. "It was not just science fiction, it dealt with social issues. It's filled with the texture of real life. Just the idea of having a show every week where you don't know who is going to be in it and what it's going to be about, to have this acceptance of the fact that we don't know everything about the world. That in itself was something."
Going through The Twilight Zone episode guide, there are quite a few shows in which you can see where Mad Men could find inspiration. Here's four that reminded me of Don and Betty and Pete and Sterling Cooper:
Recently, for TV Week, I interviewed Matt about the Emmy nominations. Here are some other thoughts he shared with me about Mad Men:
TVS: What's the show all about to you?
Matt Weiner: A lot of the episodes are about "who am I." A lot of the shows are about what's embarrassing. A lot of it's about denial, about how we juggle our work and our private lives. A lot of the issues that came up in the early 1960s are really hitting us right now.
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