Wish to contact me ? Go ahead - tzblog_at_gmail_com

Location:Belgrade, Serbia

My site was nominated for Best Entertainment Blog!

Template by Thur Broeders. Bedankt, Thur !

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tell you what...

Well, it's been quite a while since my last update - almost, eh, wow, five years ? Five years is a century in internet time...anyway, let's just put it this way. Plenty something happened in my life since that last posting - I switched residence around four times (including switching countries of residence), I started getting serious work done, I got married, I got a 9-month (as of today) old daughter, I learned how to drive (yes, I'm a Johnny come lately regarding this), I bought a house...and it all left precious little time to bother with the Twilight Zone. So, I figured, I'd let this one rot a while and be forgotten.

But forgotten it was not.

Despite the fact I'm not updating for an internet century, I still get mails. I get mails from people asking me to help them ID a particular episode, be it TZ, or something from Outer Limits, or Tales from the Darkside, or Amazing Stories (a Canadian lady asked for a Amazing Stories ep and left her phone number - I was courteous enough to give her a ring and let her know which ep it was). I get mails from people from all walks of life - a guy who teaches international politics at some US college also let me know he reads my entries. I got honoured by Wikipedia which uses screen caps I foraged for their new TZ article entries. I, of course, get mails by people asking about those blue people. And I even got in touch with a few writers - J. Neil Schulman, known for his prophetic Alongside Night, actually found time to contribute to Profile in Silver article, and I still keep in touch with Alan Brennert (who has a new book coming out soon).

But most of all, I get mails asking me to continue and finish this project. And, let me tell you - the voices are starting to get angry. And annoying. And...I caved in at the end.

You might now think I get swarmed by mails - I don't, this is a dramatic exaggeration. But, I did get a fair amount, and people were mostly courteous about it. Now, you could also say I'm pandering to my bloated feeling of self-importance (hey, find me a writer who doesn't like audience ?) - you're right, I plead guilty. But, what is most touching here is that my little pet project, my own thoughts about a TV show, struck a chord with other people. People cared about it, and read it, and contributed. Yes - I do come off like a total jackass at times (boy, I'm still puzzled about being a colossal blockhead in the Monsters ! review - kind readers have chimed in with their explanations and for that I'm thankful...and let's not even mention the whole I of Newton fiasco in the comments), but most reviews seem to hold up.

So let's finish this. I'm gonna head out to my old apartment and dig out those discs which contain the last few eps. And, while at it, maybe I start watching the UPN Zone and writing about it. Maybe. Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaybe...

Yours truly,

-- M

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

TZ Event in Brooklyn, NY

A reader of mine has asked me to pass the info about a TZ-related event which will occur in July in NYC, and I'm happy to oblige. Quoth him...

"It's happening in Park Slope (Brooklyn, NY) - if any of your readers are in the area on July 27th we're producing an event called Noisy Film Night, and the theme for this installation (#4) is the Twilight Zone original series. For each installation we screen (and this time it's 2 yet undecided upon episodes of TZ) we shut the sound off and improvise a new soundtrack in the context of the film (there are lots of interesting effects and dramatizing in the music, so expect a very versatile sound but wholly sensitive to the story line) - there are also 2 microphones available for ANYONE to get up and add their 2 cents - Karaoke (YES THEY CAN AD LIB!!) or poetry or even choreography (dance, improv, whatever comes to mind in the context of the story). It's absolutely free, and open to creative minds of all ages."

The interested parties can check out further info at : www.myspace.com/noisyfilmnight

Friday, June 08, 2007

Greetings from the US of A...

Well, even bloggers take holidays. Right now, I'm somewhere in the middle of a three-week trip visit to the United States, place which I kinda always wanted to visit. Hope y'all are enjoying yourselves while I'm gone and checking out the great unknown that this country is (for me, at least).

Btw, there is a fellow who reads this blog frequently, and his IP always resolves to Germantown, MD. Well guess what - I passed right by it the other day on my way to Poolesville, MD. :D

Sunday, May 20, 2007

3.23 --- The Mind of Simon Foster

Directed by : Doug Jackson
Written by : J. Michael Straczynski
Starring : Bruce Weitz, Geza Kovacs
First aired : 18th of February, 1989.

Somewhere in the future, the world (well, North America at least) is enduring a large-scale economical crisis. As a result, men are being forced to pawn off their goods to get by, and scrape for every nickel to survive. Simon Foster (Bruce Weitz, Hill Street Blues) is one of such individuals. After the unemployment office informs him that there are no openings for him, he packs up his last belongings and heads off to the pawn shop.

He is greeted there by a mysterious looking mr. Quint (Geza Kovacs, Dead Zone), who offers him $50 for his goods. After a bit of haggling, the price gets to $65, and Quint, realizing his client is in rather dire straits, offers Foster an opportunity to earn something extra. He takes him to a secluded chamber behind the store, where he shows him a room designed for a new technology commonly known as "memory dipping". In essence, it works like a memory transplant - Quint describes it by saying you could transplant yourself a professional skier's best ever race and feel the thrill and jubilation he experienced. But, such transplants are flawed, and a new underground market has developed for "the real deal" - a one-time transfer in which a person is fully stripped of a particular part of his memory, so the thrill of it is much more vivid. The downside is that that piece of your mind is gone forever, but the financial compensation should make up for it.

Foster is initially reluctant, but another notice from his landlord makes him change his mind quickly. He "pawns off" the memory of his graduation and vows never to come back, a promise he fails to keep once the cash starts draining. Soon, he's a regular customer at Quint's, selling off his memories one by one.

Problems start to arise once Foster's job applications start to come through, and he begins taking interviews. All of a sudden, he is simply unable to recall any of his collegiate training, and is thus unable to get a job. He storms back to Quint, who convinces him to sell his last valuable memory - his first sexual experience. He agrees, but quickly changes his mind - he wants his memories back. In an ensuing tussle, Foster manages to grab Quint's gun and forces him to bring him back his memories. Quint explains that there is a way, although imperfect.

A little while later, Simon is back at his apartment, taking another interview. When the interviewer from the unemployment office compliments his typing skills, he proudly exclaims that he did three years of typing at a certain college, which turns out to be a women's school only ! As Foster keeps on talking about his virtues, the bittersweet truth is revealed - he is now a man sharing memories of thousands of strangers, and is doomed (or blessed ?) to go on like that in life.


Way to go, J. Michael ! After criticizing mr. Straczynski for a bunch of season 3 scripts which were obviously living on borrowed ideas, it is a refreshing thing to see him come up with something original - and succesful to boot. The Mind of Simon Foster is another late S3 entry which works, mainly thanks to a good, solid, original concept and the dystopian setting (which seems to be a common trait for strong S3 entries).

Acting performances are solid - Bruce Weitz does look like a shell of a man, and Geza Kovacs' smug grin is very unsettling. David Cronenberg afficionados (such as, er, myself) will recognize Kovacs from the early works of the Canadian director - he appears in bit parts in Dead Zone and Scanners, but is best remembered as the junky manservant in little-seen The Italian Machine, a episode of a Canadian TV show called Teleplay. The director at hand is Doug Jackson, who previously helmed the above-average Extra Innings.

By the way, have you noticed that almost every 70s-80s "futuristic" depiction includes vidphones ? We're in 2007. now and those things are still to become a standard...hell, they're nowhere near that point as of now even.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Blogger's Choice Awards

I've registered this blog at Blogger's Choice, and it's up with the nominations under "best entertainment". Now, my dear readers, I know this is a lot to ask, but could some of you perhaps maybe go there, register and vote for this little piece of work ? You've got the banner on the right hand side of the screen, right under "my profile" and above Adsense ads. Click, vote, etc. :D

Thanks everyone.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Postcards from the Zone on MySpace

Call it caving in to peer pressure...I created a MySpace page for this episode guide. So go ahead, add me, friend me, blog me, pimp me - right over at http://www.myspace.com/newtwilightzone .

3.22 --- Room 2426

Directed by : Richard Bugajski
Written by : J. Bertrand Finch & Paul Chitlik
Starring : Dean Stockwell, Brent Carver
First aired : 11th of February, 1989.

In a totalitarian state somewhere in the future, scientist Martin Decker (Dean Stockwell, Dune, Married to the Mob) is held captive in the state's most dreaded facility, the room 2426. The charge is that he accidentaly created a biological weapon capable of mass destruction, and now the he must reveal the formula for it. As he's rather unwilling to do so, he is subjected to various torture methods by the vicious dr. Ostroff.

One day, he is joined in his cell by a frail-looking fellow named Joseph (Brent Carver), who claims that the resistance sends him to help him get out of here. Martin is sceptical when he hears this, and his disbelief deepens even more when Joseph explains him that he plans to do it by "mind teleportation" - projecting them somewhere safe by sheer willpower. Martin, a scientist, refuses to believe Joseph's claims, but his mistrust is somewhat shaken when, during one of Ostroff's "sessions", he briefly dreams away that he's having a dinner somewhere on the outside, his cellmate next to him smiling.

Eventually, the torture becomes too much for Martin, and he agrees to have a go at Joseph's method. Joseph begins the procedure, Martin falls asleep hearing the words he'll be safe soon, closes his eyes...and wakes up in a safehouse, somewhere in the city ! After intentionally burning himself to find out if he's dreaming, Martin is somewhat reassured, and reveals the location of his notebooks to Joseph. But as Joseph leaves, Martin begins to suspect foul play. He opens the curtains on the windows, and finds out a prison wall with speakers wired in to provide "street noise".

Joseph, of course, is a goverment agent, and is confidently smiling along with Ostroff on the other side. Martin is now completely desperate, and all seems to be lost - until he remembers that he does believe, and suddenly, with a flash of lightning, disappears from the room ! He materializes somewhere out of town with his notebooks, only too content to burn them. His formula might be lost, but his belief and strength are regained, because, for once, he thought out of the box...


A strong episode appearing on the tail end of Season 3, Room 2426 is essentialy one big hot stew with all previos dystopian-themed influences melted into one. The scripting pair Chitlik - Finch throws everything into the cauldron here, and creates a script which plays greatly to the strength of director Richard Bugajski, previously of Memories, another dystopia-themed episode with interrogation thrown in it. This time, though, Bugajski, who garnered international acclaim with his controversial Polish film The Interrogation, creates a much more uneasy setting, accomplishing that by using a lot of close-ups, and intersecting the character dialogues with random shots of rats and cockroaches.

Dean Stockwell does a good job as the world-weary scientist, but the real show stealer here is Brent Carver, who excels as the double agent hell-bent on extracting information from Decker. Just observe his slightly-lunatic gaze when he explains his teleportation theory to Stockwell's character, and you'll see what I mean.

Also, it's very satisfactory that this episode was realized without any major political nods to left or right, as those stories of torture tend to be. The "state" which Decker lives is most certainly a totalitarian enterprise, but we're given no hints if it's the left or the right which runs it. The only clue is the girl reading a Polish-language newspaper during the restaurant dream sequence, as well as the Slavic-sounding name of the chief interrogator, though we can just attribute this to the fact that Bugajski is Polish and this is just his "imprint".

Worth noting that the "mental teleportation" was previously explored in season 2's Song of the Younger World, if in a slightly more different manner. I'm sure there are classic TZ eps which deal with this, as well.

TZ Trivia : Dean Stockwell is a returning TZoner, as he previosly appeared in a classic episode A Quality of Mercy, which first aired on 29th of December, back in 1961.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

3.21 --- The Wall

Directed by : Atom Egoyan
Written by : J. Michael Straczynski
Starring : John Beck, Eugene Clark
First aired : 18th of February, 1989.

After a military scientific experiment goes horribly wrong, the Army calls in major Alexander McAndrews (John Beck, Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid, Dallas) to investigate. The scientists were doing research in field of particle physics and wormholes, and after an accident, all that is left is a wall which hides a portal of blinding light. McAndrews is offered to go in and explore it, a mission which he accepts even after hearing that several men went in before him and never returned.

McAndrews enters the "gate", and after losing radio network within 10 seconds, stumbles and faints. He wakes up in an earth-like environment, as is amazed to meet captain Henry Kincaid (Eugene Clark, Land of the Dead), one of the soldiers who preceded him. Kincaid is accompanied by a plain-clothed woman, who informs the major that this is a relatively tech-free society, but that there is no hate, wars and such. After surveying the area and discovering that there is no way back, McAndrews realizes he'll be here for a while.

Three days after, just as he begins to relax and get accustomed to the new surroundings, McAndrews accidentaly uncovers Kincaid's radio. By listening to the taped recordings, he discovers that there is a gate back, but is only visible at night. Kincaid explains him that they were all aware of that, but they passed a vote and decided not to go back, fearing that the military would exploit this area and its people for their own benefit. McAndrews, a soldier all his life, does not abide with this, so he storms past Kincaid and enters the gate, despite the pleas from the village leader not to do so.

On the other side, McAndrews files his report to the brass, informing them that the civilization past the gate poses no threat whatsoever. After overhearing them talk about turning that place into a nuclear arms stockyard and whatnot, his conscience gets the better of him and he decides, for the first time, to defy his orders. Dropping his major star, McAndrews rushes to the gate, destroys the mechanisms which control it and flees through the portal, his life ready for a new begin.


An interesting piece scripted by J. Michael Straczynski (who else) and directed by the accomplished Canadian director Atom Egoyan, The Wall is an OK episode, returning the Zone to the realm of left leanings. The military is, typically for this era, portrayed as the power-hungry, arms-mad institution, more bent on possession than peacekeeping. Beck does okay as the major who's tired of army life, though there isn't much for him to do to excel here.

In a way, The Wall majorly resembles season 1's Quarantine - the hook is a bit different, but the sets of "another world" are eerily alike, and the solution (the outsider preventing the intrusion of "his kind") almost carbon copied, although this time the outsider acts of his own volition and guilt. As far as second half of season 3 goes, this one is definitely better than average.