Lately I’ve been watching the original Twilight Zone episodes. They were created by Rod Serling from 1959-1962, in black and white. I don’t think that I’ve seen any of them before. It’s possible that I saw some rerun episodes when I was very young and don’t remember them. The crazy part is that I know these stories very well. Almost all of the episodes that I’ve seen, and I’ve seen over 40 in the last couple weeks, are familiar to me, and I can even quote from some of them the first time that I see them.
One could say it’s rather ironic that this strangeness would be happening with a show like the Twilight Zone, but I have an alternative explanation. The Twilight Zone is a set of great stories that have been told and retold in television and cinema for decades. You almost can’t see a horror film that doesn’t have some element of a Twilight Zone episode in it. Almost every Simpsons Halloween Treehouse of Horror episode has a spoof of a Twilight Zone episode. These stories are pervasive in our culture and our media. In the future they will be as revered as Aesop’s fables, Shakespeare’s plays, and Greek and Roman mythology.
So it is a good thing that I am watching all these episodes. While watching I am frequently reminded of movies and television shows that draw on that episode. It’s like a whole network of relationships is materializing, and it’s helping me appreciate video and get jokes that I didn’t get before.