Greatest Twilight Zone Episodes Ever

Submitted for your approval, a television series forty years ago which forever changed the genre; The Twilight Zone. Created by noted writer Rod Serling to express profound social commentary and disguise it as mere science fiction, so that only those intelligent enoughcould pick up on it. Each episode featured a different story which ran the gamut from; scary to funny to thought provoking and each story accomplished more than most television shows do in their entire run. So here are my picks for the best episodes which can only be found…in the Twilight Zone.

1. The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street: A piece of Cold War paranoia, which still resonates with viewers today. A UFO flies overhead of a small suburban town shutting off all the power, and feeding into the citizens’ fear that someone on their street is an extraterrestrial looking threaten them. As chaos ensues the once friendly neighbors turn against each other and violence sets in as they search for the alien menace, which makes the conclusion that much more chilling.

2. It’s a Good Life: Child actor Billy Mumy was in many episodes of the Zone, but this was by far his most memorable and scariest. He plays Anthony, a seemingly happy and carefree child in a small town, except he holds the entire town hostage with his ability to control everything around him. He successfully keeps the people around him scared enough of being labelled “bad” that they do not resist and the monster Serling warned us about in the episode’s intro is allowed to continue.

3. Death’s Head Revisited: An old Nazi officer comes out of hiding to return to the camp where he reigned with an iron fist,Dachau, though he is terrified to learn that the spirits of those he murdered remain and are looking for justice. What really hammers this episode home is Serling’s warning at the end; when the authorities collect the old Nazi who has been tortured to the point of insanity they wonder why such a horrible place is left standing, Serling informs the readers that places such as the concentration camps must be left up as a reminder of the horrible things people are capable of because if we ever forget we are doomed to repeat the same atrocities.

4. Nightmare at 20,000 Feet: Even if you have never seen an episode of The Twilight Zone you probably know the premise of this episode. William Shatner plays a mentally unstable man on a flight who keeps seeing a gremlin on the wing of his flight tearing apart the plane, yet no one else believes him. Legendary writer Richard Matthesson wrote this episode, and acclaimed filmmaker Richard Donner, takes full advantage of the claustrophobic setting of a plane.

5. The Invaders:  Not a word of dialogue is said in this episode as an innocent woman is attacked by a flying saucer and the small men inside of it. She spends the terrifying night fighting off the tiny invaders until she defeats them, and we see one of the best plot twists in the show’s history.

6. In Praise of Pip: Easily the biggest tearjerker of The Twilight Zone; legendary actor Jack Klugman plays a small time crook who discovers his son has been mortally injured in Vietnam, the first television show to mention the war. Klugman finds himself mortally injured but before he passes on he is rewarded with night at the amusement park with his son, Pip who has been turned back into a kid. At the end Klugman pleads with a higher power to take his life in exchange for his son and his request is granted.

7. The Night of the Meek: Art Carney plays a drunken and unemployed mall Santa, who like many of us, is fed up with the commercial focus of the holiday while people are suffering. Though he is granted with a gift; for the night of Christmas Eve he discovers a sack full of gifts and he goes around the city spreading holiday cheer to those who need it most. The musical score of the episode creates the bleak but hopeful atmosphere, with it’s hauntingly beautiful bell based sound. Easily the most underrated Christmas special of all time, it embodies everything that is good about the holiday while decrying what is wrong with it.

8. To Serve Man: Say it with me now: “To serve man! It’s a cookbook!”. This beloved episode is about an alien race who comes to earth and unifies our nation and dismantles the planet’s military institutions, because their is no need for fighting in this new peaceful age. The time comes when they offer to take humans to visit their world and that’s where the hilariously stunning plot is revealed.

9. Steel:An inspirational episode featuring Lee Marvin, which has inspired many others including Hugh Jackman’s film, Real Steel. In a world where metal robots do all the boxing, a down on his luck trainer, who used to fight, must step into the ring disguised as his robot to battle a machine.

10. Nothing in the Dark: An old widow, fighting change in an old house is terrified of a man who keeps knocking on her door. She eventually is forced to open the door to an injured cop played by a young Robert Redford, only for him to reveal his secret in a way that is both chilling and heartwarming.