CBS All Access enters ‘The Twilight Zone’ anew
Over the history of television, few brands have been as iconic and enduring as “The Twilight Zone.”
Consider that the supernatural, Rod Serling-created suspense anthology now has its fourth series incarnation. The show enters the streaming dimension by premiering with two episodes Monday, April 1, on CBS All Access – with “Get Out” Oscar winner Jordan Peele as host and narrator, and also as an executive producer. Among others sharing the latter job are Serling’s widow Carol, “The X-Files” alum Glen Morgan, filmmaker Simon Kinberg (“X-Men: Apocalypse”) and TV veteran Greg Yaitanes (“Banshee”).
Normally to debut new episodes on Thursdays starting April 11, the latest “Twilight Zone” largely tells fresh stories. However, one of the franchise’s most celebrated tales, the monster-on-thewing-of-an-airplane thriller “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” gets a “reimagining” (as “Nightmare at 30,000 Feet”) with Adam Scott starring. Seth Rogen, Sanaa Lathan, Greg Kinnear, John Cho, Jacob Tremblay (“Room”), Allison Tolman (“Fargo”) and Rhea Seehorn (“Better Call Saul”) also will be in the “Zone.”
The original “Twilight Zone” – which CBS aired from 1959 to 1964, and also is on CBS All Access – remains a weekday staple on both Me-TV and Syfy, the latter of which also offers holiday marathons of the series. Though she was a producer of a 1994 “Twilight Zone: Rod Serling’s Lost Classics” TV-movie, the new show marks Carol Serling’s most sustained creative involvement thus far.
“I am very happy” about the new version, she confirms. “It’s the fourth time around, and it’s an exciting venture for me. (The concept) has kept popping up, but I’m involved in a different way this time.” Indeed, 1983’s “Twilight Zone: The Movie” adapted four stories from the original show ... and featured Carol Serling as one of the passengers in “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.”
She says she’s pleased to oversee the “Twilight Zone” brand now, “to the extent I can, of course. I give a general consultation and I’ve read all the scripts, and I’m very much in favor of what I’ve seen so far.” She’s also in favor of Peele’s involvement, “absolutely. There couldn’t have been a better (choice). Though he hesitated for a while, I’m so glad he decided to narrate this. I really feel the narration of these stories is very important.”
Rod Serling always deemed himself a writer first and foremost – borne out not only by his authoring of 92 “Twilight Zone” episodes, two of which earned Emmy Awards, but also by such scripts as his Emmy-winning “Patterns” and “Requiem for a Heavyweight.” Carol Serling believes that for “The Twilight Zone” still to be ongoing, “Rod would be the most surprised. But after all these years, the subject matter is still timely.”
Adam Scott is among the stars of the fourth series version of “The Twilight Zone,” premiering Monday on CBS All Access.