The Twilight Zone still hasn’t fully realized its potential — but it may be heading in the right direction.
Jordan Peele as the executive producer and host of a Twilight Zone revival seemed like a slam dunk idea, but the reboot from CBS All Access stumbled in its first season, failing to live up to the weighty expectations that come with its title. The fundamentals were all there, though, so there was an opportunity for the show to course correct. Did it?
The Twilight Zone’s second season is not quite as dramatic a makeover as needed. But it offers a more successful collection of stories overall and is indeed a noticeable improvement on the first.
With The Twilight Zone’s first season, virtually anyone who watched seemed to identify the same problem: the episodes were simply too long. The brevity of Rod Serling’s original series remains a major part of its appeal, but the reboot took premises so simple that Serling could have tackled them in 25 minutes and proceeded to needlessly stretch them out to the point that viewers inevitably lost interest. After all the complaints about this, surely The Twilight Zone would revert to the half-hour format for season two. Right?
Well, not entirely. The good news is that — hallelujah — four episodes in season two are in the half-hour range. That’s a start. But the bad news is that the other six are all still about 40 minutes or more, and several once again have trouble sustaining the length. Take, for instance “The Who of You,” a fun outing in which an actor begins swapping bodies with those he locks eyes with. It’s an intriguing idea, but once we get to the third or fourth swap and essentially the exact same scenario continuously plays out, it starts growing repetitive. Another episode, “Try, Try,” feels ideal for 25 minutes given its scaled-back approach: it’s a conversation-driven story following just two characters in real time. But instead it’s 42 minutes, and it ends up dragging a bit with a fair amount of unnecessary dialogue.
On the other hand, a story like “Downtime” might not be the series’ strongest in the ideas department, but at 32 minutes, it doesn’t offer much more than is absolutely necessary. The breezy pace is refreshing, so why is this not the series’ new normal?
The first season also ran into some issues with heavy-handed writing. The Twilight Zone should absolutely tackle hot-button issues in keeping with Serling’s legacy of social commentary, but the execution was often far too on the nose; multiple episodes featured a line to the effect of, “Boy, have you seen the news these days?” Season two, thankfully, backs away from such blunt commentary. But that’s not to say it doesn’t still have some occasional writing that spells things out too much. Just look at “A Human Face,” a chilling story and among the strongest episodes of the season, but one that still can’t avoid knocking us over the head with an overload of exposition …read more
Source:: The Week – Entertainment