News Article

News Article

Is Bryan Singer's 'The Twilight Zone' Reboot A Wise Choice?

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twilight zoneReady for another The Twilight Zone reboot? I'm not, either, but this isn't just another "I hate reboots, leave the original alone" rant. Twilight Zone has been rebooted many, many times in the past - and never with success.

CBS (who produced the original Twilight Zone series) has enlisted Bryan Singer to develop, executive produce, and possibly direct a new Twilight Zone TV series, based on the Rod Serling classic which ran from 1959 to 1964. A writer is still being sought, pending approval from the Serling estate. It is not clear if the series will remake original episodes of the classic anthology suspense show, or if it will create new stories in the same vein.

This seems like a bad idea. The Twilight Zone has endured many reincarnations since the original series, and none have done well. In 1983, a feature film anthology was created with segments directed by Steven Speilberg, Joe Dante, John Landis, and George Miller. A tragic helicopter accident during the filming killed star Vic Morrow and two child actors. While the film broke even at the box office, it was never able to emerge from the shadow of that accident.

The series was brought back to television in 1985. I never saw that run of the show, but from what I understand, it received a warm-ish welcome; some critical acclaim but low ratings and it never really hooked an audience. Perhaps it had to do with the awkward format: season one consisted of hour-long episodes that contained two or three individual stories. Halfway through the second season, they switched to single-story half-hour episodes. The New Twilight Zone lasted two seasons on CBS, with an abbreviated third season created specifically for syndication. 

In 2002, another attempt was made to bring The Twilight Zone back to television. This time it was hosted by Forrest Whitaker and aired two half-hour stories as a single hour-long episode. This version suffered from low ratings, a second-rate network (the now-defunct UPN) and terrible stories and acting. Unsurprisingly, 2002's Twilight Zone lasted a single season.

So why? Why a reboot now? Is it to tie in with Warner Bros.'s upcoming attempt to turn a few classic tales into a big-budget, non-anthology tentpole film? Is it to capitalize on the recent surge of genre television? Does someone actually think that this time they can break "The Twilight Zone curse?"

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