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Focus on the Frightful: Twilight Zone – Season One

This week Lilyn and I finished up season one of Twilight Zone (2019). This time around it was a mixed bag of good, bad, wonderful, and confusing. I think it’s still trying to find its feet a bit and I can’t help but think that for some episodes a tighter time limit might help distill the episode down to what they really want to say.

I can get behind a reboot that at least tries to keep the spirit of the original and pay respect to it rather than a reboot that wants a ready, built-in fanbase but doesn’t care about the property involved. I am very interested to see what they do in season two (releasing June 25th, 2020).

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The Wunderkind

Lilyn:

Okay, so you knew right away that this episode was going to go horribly wrong, and not just because it’s a Twilight Zone episode. Well, maybe because it is. But anyways, a kid getting elected president? Kids are – god love them, but I don’t – brats for the most part. Even my Monster makes me want to tear my hair out and she is genuinely the most sweet, loving child I’ve ever encountered. John Cho and Allison Tolman both did a great job on their roles, but Cho especially shined. Tremblay was pretty good. The sense of surreal really built up quickly toward the end, but I still wasn’t expecting a line dropped about halfway through (maybe?) to come back and bite us in the butt at the end. It was weird and interesting and I didn’t like it, but it sucked me and held my attention until the end.

Gracie:

I could feel the ‘It’s a Good Life‘ beats in this episode. And this year has been crazy enough to where I was watching and genuinely considering if a kid could get elected president or not. My only issue with it was that the complete submission of everyone came a little too quickly. A little of the campaign could have been cut short to show a slower progression to absolute control.
There was also a bit of The Shining flair added to it which I enjoyed.


Six Degrees of Freedom

Lilyn:

This episode started off by immediately making it clear that things were very, very fucked. Naturally, this made me gleeful and I was all a-wiggle as the show got going. It was pretty much one of those everything goes as you’d expect it to go episodes, but I didn’t mind. Everyone did a great job acting, but there were no particular standouts. Well, maybe the guy who played Piersen because by the time his role was over, I was ready to boot him out a damned airlock. I called the end with Grace about 10 or 15 minutes prior to it, but it was still a solid watch. I have to whoop about the fact that this was their sixth episode, and there’s only been one white lead. This is what people deserve – seeing their own selves represented on the screen. Very happy for this reboot of the Twilight Zone for that reason alone. The rest, the fact that it’s actually good, is the icing on the cake.

Gracie:

I am totally with Lilyn on being thrilled to the bone that the representation on this has been amazing. I can only hope
This episode did remind me of the pilot episode of the Twilight Zone – “Where is Everybody?
Besides that, though, it is an interesting sci-fi that maybe wasn’t the most original idea but it was competently done and had some amazing cinematography to it.


Not All Men

Gracie:

This…was not a subtle episode (mild spoilers). It started out fairly well, pointing out legitimate issues that women deal with and slowly ramping them up until they suddenly decided to crank it up to eleven, tear the knob off and throw it away. There were a few unbelievable moments (yes, even in the Twilight Zone) such as the women running through insane hordes of men and no one noticing them and the main character’s personal antagonist seemingly able to teleport to anywhere the main character happened to be. It also hammers home the “it’s just the men” over and over again. thanks. We got it. With the twist it also implies that the meteorite is just an “excuse” for the men to go absolutely bonkers. But. A lot of the aggression starts before the meteorite connection is even made. So the twist feels like a half-assed “all men want an excuse to act like animals” explanation.
They could have made a very good point about how some things that seem harmless can also be seen as aggressive bt they shot their own credibility in the foot.


Point of Origin

Lilyn:

Episode 8 was the first fail of the series for me. The beating me over the head with social commentary was a bit much in this episode, and even though all the actors did a great job, it was just boring. I have to confess I’m not even entirely sure what they were getting at. Was it that ‘aliens’ will always get found? That you’ll be rejected if someone finds out you aren’t like them? What? Whereas each of the other episodes had a pretty clear arc, this one felt too long and incomplete at the same time.

Gracie:

I have to agree with Lilyn on this one. It lacked any form of subtlety and quite honestly it could have been ten minutes shorter and still been the same exact episode. And I’m still not sure what that would be. There are the obvious parallels being drawn but it lacked any kind of explanation. I was just as confused at the end as I was at the beginning and by then I should be going “a-ha!” Or at least, “Ohhh, I get it now“. This episode lacked that.
I did love the fifties aesthetic they had going on. It felt slightly bizarre and Stepford-y.


The Blue Scorpion

Lilyn:

I still don’t know what I think about this episode. It really surprised me that it ended the way it did because that is completely not how I expected it to end. So, the writers definitely get a point in their favor. At the same time, this show has taught me to expect being beat over the head with social commentary, and I didn’t see/feel that in this episode? I really don’t know what to make of it. The main actor was good, though, and I loved his voice.

Gracie:

I think there was some commentary on gun culture and how we as a society tend to ‘personalize’ our possessions but it was much more subtle than the previous episodes. It let the story take the forefront and let the viewer come to those conclusions on their own. Which is a great way to do it. Sometimes the original Twilight Zone wasn’t very subtle but the message always served the story rather than the other way around.
I also loved the trippy, hippie vibe to it (and always appreciate White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane).


Blurryman

Gracie:

This was by far my favorite episode. And I can’t tell you why. You’ll just have to watch it. Just know that my geeky little heart exploded with happiness. All that I will say is that it did make me feel like they actually get what the heart of the show really is.
Zazie Beetz does an extraordinary job in this episode. She carries the whole episode almost singlehandedly and looks beautiful doing so. Lilyn loves her acting.
I’d also like to mention that even though the cinematography and sets are generally great in this series, this episode is amazing. The sets are fantastic and beautiful. The transitions are really well done.


I really can’t wait for season two, which will be starting soon. I will be very interested to see where it goes. And if anyone knows the significance of the 1015 number, do let me know. I’m about ready to watch the whole original series again to figure it out.

Published inFocus on the Frightful

4 Comments

  1. I haven’t seen any of these episodes. Now I want to see the whole season. Thanks for posting your thoughts.

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