Thursday, February 1, 2007


"You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension - a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You've just crossed over into the Twilight Zone!"

when i was a boy, i loved the twilight zone. it may be why i have a place in my heart for irony. every so often, if i happened to be lucky enough, i'd catch a marathon. it came on a few times a year, on some random channel. 24 hours straight. my dad made me a fan. he and i would try to take in as many as we could. what we missed, we archived. i learned how to operate the VCR thanks to Rod Serling. the opening music put a smile across my cheeks. my little blue eyes grew enormous. i laid across the carpet on my stomach, ready to be shocked and amazed, always trying to figure out how it would end. even if i came close with my guesses, there was always an extra twist i'd never have foreseen. if my mom happened to stumble upon us, she'd always tell us how she'd loved the show as a kid. that when it came on, my grandma would make a plate of saltine crackers with jelly on top for her as a snack as she did what we were doing. sometimes she'd even be so inspired as to go make us crackers with jelly. i'd take raspberry jam on my saltines.

the show really pushed the limits of television. not just in the science fiction elements, but in its thinly veiled social commentary. censors wouldn't allow much in the late 1950's, but in Serling's writing, the big picture was overlooked because it was deemed "fantasy". subjects like nuclear war, mass hysteria and bigotry touched too many nerves to be allowed in a prime time drama, but in the twilight zone, it could slide through the side door. also, women were often cast as smart, quick-thinking, and independent characters. that wasn't something one saw much of in the boob tube those days.

my point?
i've recently come across a marvelous find. comparable to the archaeological king tut digs. there is a website that has a small library of twilight zone episodes. approximately 50 and growing (nearly a third of the total 156 episodes). they're all free for the streaming. each episode is about 25 minutes (though there are some from the fifth and final season, which were hour long shows). all the gems are there. William Shatner, with his best talk-pause-talk as he warns of a gremlin on the wing of the plane. The Eye of The Beholder. Burgess Meredith happy to have some time to read. "I'm Talky Tina, and I'm going to kill you". To Serve Man.
here's a link:

(type "twilight zone" into the search bar)

Now for my rant on the state of television today.

i was but a glimmer in my mothers eyes when the original twilight zones were being aired, but my generation has seen a steady decline in broadcasting quality since. i think television has been incredibly dumbed down as the years turn over. the technology was still new and exciting in the 50's and 60's. everyone watched it. lots of it. its not as exciting anymore. if you look at programming now, there is very little offered by way of intelligent writing, clever humor or thought provoking ideas. other than PBS, there aren't any non-children's, non-cable shows that provide any real information. its all celebrity worship, fear inducing news, trite sitcoms and "reality" TV.

saturday morning cartoons are painfully bad. its mostly japanese fighting with decks of cards and pokemon. neither of which makes sense to me. actually, there aren't many cartoons left anymore. i happened to catch the saturday morning line-up a few weeks ago. most of the shows were live action sitcoms targeting kids. the worst was they were either about rich kids living in penthouses, vain movie stars' kids or competition. what happened to "and knowing is half the battle"?

game shows ask easy questions. the highest rated game show on TV is currently "deal or no deal". the only beneficial skills for a contestant would be the ability to speak and recognize the numbers 1-30. they may as well roll dice.

MTV doesn't even play music anymore. they don't really have anything to do with music anymore. time for a name change. maybe then a young entrepreneur who actually wants to show videos and music news can turn "music television" into a good thing again.

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