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Sunday, December 18, 2005

An introduction...of sorts

Many moons ago, back at the place I lived, we used to have this thing called "night programme". Now, "night programme" was just a batch of newest, freshest TV-series and sitcoms packaged for the enthousiastic audience, which was growing tired of the same ol', same ol' lineup during daytime television (we're talking 80s here, and back then we had only two channels on regular telly). Younger folks like me, who couldn't exactly appreciate all the finer points of Dynasty, Dallas, Santa Barbara and such were thus staying up late in order to catch the night programme shows, which would usually start around midnight and last until 2-3AM.

The night programme introduced many a fine show to the younger generation. There was the intrepid, trigger happy detective Sledge Hammer, furry alien Gordon Shumway aka Alf, and many more. I remember that, at the turn of the decade, night programme brought us the first glimpse of those yellow cartoon characters called The Simpsons - who would disappear after a smattering of episodes, only to reappear about nine years later on daytime television. Oh, and how could I forget Star Trek : The Next Generation, still one of my favourite TV shows ever.

The show which, however, completely piqued my interest was The Twilight Zone - the 1980's colour one, mind you. Ever since I was a little boy, I was fascinated by ghost stories, and any tales involving supernatural occurences, so therefore Zone immediately caught my eye. I don't remember which episode was the first one I saw, but I do remember I was hooked right off the bat, and soon I started sneaking out of the bed to watch TZ religiously. Later on, the old, 60s episodes of the classic Twilight Zone reappeared on daytime TV, and my joy was neverending.

Then it all went into thin air. Television networks scrapped the Zone, both old and new, and last time I saw it on television was probably in '94. somewhere. Six years after that, I moved to Belgium, but folks here barely even heard of it. Thanks to the wonder of internet, and Marc Scott Zicree's wonderful Twilight Zone Companion, I was able to catch up on some old memories and read about original episodes I missed during television run. But still, there was still something missing - the 80s episodes. Wherever I looked to on the net, 80s Zone was merely a footnote. Some sites offered a brief recap or summary of all episodes - others just had episode names on it. One site went as far to detailedly recap some of the shows, but it was still inconclusive.

Now I know many Zone fans value the original over the revival show. I can understand that, and, in retrospect, the original probably had better writing most of the time. But there is something to the 80s version of it, some strange appeal. Those stories were most of the time as sound as the ones from the 60s, and they featured many young breakthrough talents, both behind and in front of the camera lens. And most importantly for me - it was a part of my childhood. A distant, clouded, foggy memory which I clinged to through the years.

So imagine my happiness when after all these years, I finally acquired all the episodes from the 80s revival. Almost immediately, I sat myself down and refreshed my memory with some episodes, and they were still as good as I remembered them - still fresh and witty, and at times scary and creepy.

Since I've pretty much determined that the rest of the world is missing out big time by ignoring the 80s Zone, I decided to start a blog in which I'll document my TZ experiences - or experiences watching TZ, rather. Since mr. Zicree probably won't update his Companion to include the new shows, I guess someone will have to do the job. Not that I'm half as good of a writer than he is, mind you, but it's worth a shot. And hey, it'll be free to read.

So, buckle up, all five of you potential readers, and let me take you to the fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge; This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call...the Twilight Zone.

Comments on "An introduction...of sorts"


Anonymous chogokinman said ... (3:25 AM) : 

Excellente idée ce blog sur les épisodes de "la 5ème dimension" (the 80's Twilight zone).
En effet, le sujet est très peu exploré sur le net.
J'ai découvert la série en 86 lors de son passage en France et beaucoup d'épisodes m'avaient alors marqué.
Fan depuis longtemps de la Twilight zone, je désirais ardemment revoir cette série.
C'est chose faite depuis Noël avec l'achat des 2 coffrets en zone 1 (Pas de sortie prévue en Z2 française pour l'instant).
Quel bonheur de retrouver ce générique mythique et très angoissant.
Je regarde les épisodes en VO et c'est parfois difficile de comprendre toutes les petites subtilités, d'ou l'interêt de ce blog.
A + et merci encore


Anonymous ThetaSigma47 said ... (1:29 PM) : 

Wow, now this is a site I could get used to! Thanks very much for providing this excellent resource for an excellent, underrated, much-criticised, yet always memorable show. I grew up catching this show every so often in re-runs, and what little I was able to see has kept me intriguied ever since, and my sparse yet fond memories of it are what spurred me to find out all I could about Rod Serling's creation and its spin-offs. With the long-delayed release of the DVD sets, I can finally appreciate the unique brilliance of one of my favorite 80s shows in its entirety. Now, I can also share my memories and thoughts with fellow fans in places like this site, and feel a little less of a geek (or at least a less lonely geek!)

I love how you've structured your episode guide after Zicree's [i]Companion[/i], and was wondering if you might consider including the opening and/or closing narrations from those episodes which feature them. Ever since I've begun watching my DVD copy of the show, it occured to me that no-one appears to have transcribed those narrations like Zicree did for the original show in his book. I'd be happpy to provide such transcripts if you'd like them, as I've already typed the narrations out as I heard them for a few episodes. In lieu of a better source of the material, I might as well continue...


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:59 PM) : 

The Chiller channel also does re-runs of this show, if you have that channel. I've direct TV and it comes on channel 257.


Blogger Zoe Brillantes said ... (11:47 AM) : 

Thank you for an excellent blog. It kept me entertained for a whole Saturday afternoon. You know how it is on the internet - you are reading about one thing and then you've gone off hopping from one different theme to another. And that is how I ended up reading about Twilight Zone episodes. Thanks for the entertainment!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:07 PM) : 

What about "Cat and Mouse" from Season 3?


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