18 February 2007 | DeanNYC
Very Good, But A Tough Act To Follow...
The 1985 version of "The Twilight Zone" begins with a major disadvantage: it trailed the original Rod Serling vintage 1960s version! That original series was, and continues to be, the Gold Standard for programs of this type and for better or worse it's unlikely that any show in its wake could achieve that level of greatness.
However, this second attempt did have some positives going for it: First, it featured stories from a host of brilliant s/f writers, including such iconic names as Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen King, just to name three. And it had the advantage of better special effects, and color photography.
Unfortunately, the parallels to the original series meant this one was doomed to be considered an also ran, which is a shame, because there were some incredible episodes that I would rank among the best of any science fiction program from any era.
Examples: The astonishing "Profile In Silver" tells the story of a time traveling distant relation to John F. Kennedy, who goes to Dallas in 1963, intending to document, but then preventing the assassination of the President, which creates some surprising results. A remarkable story that is most certainly worthy of the "TZ" moniker.
The amusing "I Of Newton" tells of a professor who offhandedly says he would sell his soul to calculate an equation, but then has to try to back out of the deal when the devil shows up in his classroom to claim it. This is reminiscent of many of the humorous episodes from the original series.
They even did a "remake" of a few eps, like "Button Button," where an impoverished couple was offered the chance to receive a large cash amount if they simply pressed a button. The catch: someone they didn't know would die.
There were some hits and misses in this series, and to a degree, it did often reflect the mentality of the 1980s, rather than tell stories that had a "timeless" quality, which is another disadvantage it has to the original series, but it is most certainly worthy of bearing the name, and is worth seeking out, either on reruns or DVD.