US syndicated tv series (1985-1988). MGM/UA. Pr Harvey Frand. Exec pr Philip DeGuere. Dir Gil Bettman, Bruce Bilson, Noel Black, Ben Bolt, Martha Coolidge, Wes Craven, Joe Dante (> SFE link below), Robert Downey, Bill Duke, Don Carlos Dunaway, J D Feigelson, Ted Flicker, Rick Friedberg, William Friedkin, Kenneth Gilbert, John Hancock, Curtis Harrington, Sheldon Larry, Shelley Levinson, Paul Lynch, Bruce Malmuth, Bradford May, Jim McBride, Peter Medak, Sigmund Neufeld, B W L Norton, Gerd Oswald, Alan Smithee (Gilbert Cates), David Steinberg, Jeannot Szwarc, R L Thomas, Gus Trikonis, Paul Tucker, Tommy Lee Wallace, Claudia Weill. Writers/based on stories by Virginia Aldridge, Lynn Barker, Haskell Barkin, Steven Barnes (> SFE link below), Greg Bear, Charles Beaumont, Steven Bochco, Ray Bradbury, Alan Brennert, Michael Bryant (pseudonym of Alan Brennert), David Bennett Carren, Michael Cassutt, Paul Chitlik, Arthur C Clarke (> SFE link below), Anne Collins, Ron Cobb, Robert Crais, James Crocker, Philip DeGuere, J M DeMatteis, Phyllis Eisenstein, Harlan Ellison, Les Enloe, J D Feigelson, Jeremy Bertrand Finch, Charles E Fritch (1927-2012), Joe Gannon, David Gerrold (> SFE link below), Parke Godwin, Gerrit Graham, Arthur Gray, Robert Hunter, Chris Hubbell, Stephen King, Anthony and Nancy Lawrence, Robin Love, William M Lee, Bryce Maritano, George R R Martin, Terry Matz, Patrice Messina, Robert R McCammon, Gordon Mitchell, Rockne S O'Bannon, Lan O'Kun, Rebecca Parr, Martin Pasko, Steven Rae (pseudonym of Rockne S O'Bannon), Edward Redlich, Michael Reaves, Carter Scholz, J Neil Schulman, Rod Serling, Sidney Sheldon, Robert Silverberg, Henry Slesar (> SFE link below), J Michael Straczynski, Theodore Sturgeon, Logan Swanson (i.e., Richard Matheson), Donald Todd, Cal Willingham, William F Wu, Roger Zelazny. Based on The Twilight Zone (1959-1964). Comics adaptation The New Twilight Zone * (19 issues 1991-1993) from Now Comics. Anthology The New Twilight Zone * (anth 1991) ed Alan Brennert and Martin H Greenberg. 65 episodes, 32 60min (containing two or more stories) and 33 30min. Colour.
Hoping to cash in on the continued interest shown in reruns of The Twilight Zone, the producers launched the series with new stories and several remakes from the original series. Once again, the plots focused on tales with a twist, but unfortunately most were rather predictable (the same charge was levelled at the roughly contemporaneous Amazing Stories [1985-1987]). Part of the blame for this evidently falls to CBS (the original networker), for the producers were vocal about interference; Harlan Ellison, the Creative Consultant, quit the show in frustration. Viewers were treated to episodes such as "Ye Gods", featuring a man struck by Cupid's arrow, "A Message from Charity", about an 18th-century girl accused of witchcraft when she sees the future, and a man playing poker with the Devil for his Soul in "Dealer's Choice".
Despite an impressive line-up of writers, directors and actors, the series got off to a rocky start, perhaps due to the inevitable and justified comparisons with the original series. Critics were unanimous that the 60 min episodes seemed slow and bloated, and on CBS three 30-minute shows were aired in the middle of the second season as an experiment. When all efforts to salvage the series for CBS failed and the network cancelled it, the producers kept it going in first-run syndication until they had enough episodes for future syndication. It was duly syndicated for several years, and continues to be shown on cable. [BC]
Alan Brennert has noted that The New Twilight Zone is misnamed: it was always called The Twilight Zone. By most accounts, the motives of those working on this series were more idealistic, and the results of their labours were generally more meritorious, than this entry suggests; it shall be replaced in its entirety in any future editions.
- The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction: Steven Barnes; Arthur C Clarke; Joe Dante; David Gerrold; Henry Slesar.