"Over the hills and far away,
Teletubbies come out to play..."
Anybody who knows Netflix rental service knows that, at some point in time, no matter how well placed you rental choices are on your queue, you are going to get slammed with a whole bunch of stuff to pass the time with while waiting impatiently for the stuff at the top that you REALLY can't wait to see. I got hit with about five Twilight Zone discs, good thing it was a nifty, well crafted series with some great writing or I would have been grumbling.
A Passage from Trumpet - I said it before and I will say it again - The Zone, along with having a roster of truly brilliant writing talent, had producers that were able to cast actors in parts they seemed born to play. Here it is Jack Klugman as a depressed and alcoholic jazz trumpet player making that final fall to skid row. He attempts suicide and, of course, lands in The Twilight Zone instead. This is The Zone at its most sentimental, it may make you smile, or it might make you cranky and want to go out and hurt somebody. It made me smile. Three slimes.
Mr. Dingle, The Strong - Komedy! And quite funny at that. Mr. Dingle (aka Burgess Meredith) is a suttering simp of a man that seems destined to get punched by cantankerous goons (here played by the Godfather of Cantankerous Goons Mr. Don Rickles) for the rest of his sorry life. That is until some Martians decide to use him in an experiment and increase his strength to that of three hundred men. What might seem a one note joke is handled beautifully by Rod Serling, who concentrates on character instead of slapstick. Cute stuff, four slimes.
Two - CHARLES BRONSON (yee-ha!!! whoo-hoo!!!! awlright!!! uh, excuse me) and Elizabeth Montgomery are the apparent survivors of a population erasing war. Mmmm, I wonder what their names are? A good episode, not a great one, but that fact that it is not too heavy handed about its subject elevates it to four slimes. And its got Bronson!
The Four of Us Are Dying - A slimey con man who can change his appearance at will tries to swindle his way into a better life. Does he? This episode is helped greatly by an inventive set design and another innovative Jerry Goldsmith score. Four slimes.
side bar: Zone loved playing with story concepts, seeing how they would play if the elements were slightly altered. Such is the case with The Four of Us Are Dying, which switched the chameleon face to a soul that could take another person's characteristics in The Self Improvement of Salvadore Ross. Incidentally both episodes starred Don (The Final Conflict) Gordon. Some other episodes to look for are The Invaders and The Fear or Two and Probe 7, Over and Out (which I will discuss momentarily). If I remember any others I mention them, but I know they are there.
I Sing the Body Electric - The only episode written by Ray Bradbury (based on his short story of the same name) feels cut down from an hour in length, I just seemed that important character development was missing. The sentimental Zone magic is there, but it just didn't make me feel warm and fuzzy. It made me feel disturbed, which was not what the story was meant to do. Three slimes.
Long Distance Call - Grandma is a clinging vine when it comes to her grandson Billy. Shortly before her death she gives Billy a toy telephone that she promises will always be able to contact her. After her death Billy begins talking on the phone constantly and then attempts suicide. Is it grief, or something far darker? 5 slimes.
The Lonely - Rod Serling had hoped that The Twilight Zone would be an hour long show instead of half an hour and this episode about a solitary man and his robot seems to fit the bill of an elaborte tale clipped a bit to fit a half hour time slot. I wanted more time devoted to the growing love between Cory and Alicia and it ended too soon, I wanted more! Nonetheless this a truly great episode. 5 slimes.
Probe 7, Over and Out - Richard Baseheart's space probe crashes on a planet just as The Final War breaks out back home. He is alone, no rescue team will ever come for him because no one is left alive back home. What's that rustling out there in the bushes? It's a WOMAN! Decent enough story, but with an ending that will make you go PUH-leeeeezzzzze! 3 slimes.
So it goes
On the pike
Gappa, The Triphibiean Monster
Jason and the Argonauts
and where oh where is
Amazing Nurse Nanako #3