This past New Year’s Eve, as I do every year, I sat back and indulged in SyFy’s super-mega-marathon of The Twilight Zone. In 25+ years, I’m pretty sure that I’ve seen every episode of Rod Serling’s classic series at least once, and dozens of them too many times to count.
I think it’s safe to say that The Twilight Zone is a major part of American pop culture. People who have never seen a single episode are still familiar with basic plots–yes, mostly because of the Halloween episodes of The Simpsons…but, I think that still counts. And, for the most part, I’d argue that all of the episodes are more or less equally awesome.
However, while I was watching this most recent marathon, I realized that there are a handful of episodes that I must watch every year. I guess you could call them my favorites…but there really isn’t such a thing as a bad episode of The Twilight Zone. (Okay, I don’t really care for the ones that were broadcast live, but that’s mostly an aesthetic thing. Oh, and I could do without the ones with evil dolls or dummies because…creepy.)
5. People Are Alike All Over
“When a space exploration crashes on Mars, the surviving passenger is surprised to find that Martians are human-looking, very friendly and apparently just like us…”
4. Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?
“Troopers follow the tracks from a frozen pond, into a diner. Inside they find a soda jerk, a bus driver and his seven passengers. The bus driver is certain only six people boarded his bus…”
3. A Nice Place to Visit
“After being shot to death, Rocky Valentine encounters the amiable white-haired Mr. Pip, who gives Rocky everything he wishes for.”
2. The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street
“Paranoia strikes the residents of Maple Street when they believe human-looking aliens have invaded the neighborhood.”
1. The Howling Man
“A man on a walking trip of post-World War I Europe gets caught in a storm. He comes across a remote monastery with a mysterious prisoner.”