CBS All Ac­cess en­ters ‘The Twi­light Zone’ anew

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Cover Story -

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.

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