I’m in the process of adding another classic television program to my Plex library, even though this one is currently available on Netflix.
“Why?” I hear you ask. Well, in the case of the Blu-ray edition of The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series, there are tons of extra features that make it worthwhile, not to mention that TV shows have a habit of disappearing from Netflix without warning. The extra features include things like un-aired pilots and lots of audio commentaries to individual episodes, as well as isolated music tracks to some of the episodes.
The Blu-ray, alas, is out of print, but happily I managed to snag a copy at a reasonable price.
I can still recall my first viewing of some of the famous episodes. For example, Agnes Moorehead, in what may be her greatest performance, in The Invaders (Season 2 Episode 15), is alone in an isolated cabin when her tranquil life is disturbed by tiny invaders from some unknown world. The episode is entirely devoid of dialog and is unforgettable. At least I never forgot it after seeing it when it first aired. And like so many of the best Twilight Zone episodes, I learned a valuable lesson from it.
Another episode that taught me a useful lesson while scaring the bejesus out of me was Eye of the Beholder, which aired on 11 November, 1960 (Episode 6 of Season 2), when I was 11. I remember watching it with my uncle Reed. It was about a horribly disfigured woman who had undergone several rounds of plastic surgery in a desperate attempt to correct the problem so that she could live a normal life. Her face was completely bandaged during the course of the episode which was clearly building up to a climax where the bandages would be removed. It got so intense that my 11-year-old self covered my eyes at the big reveal because I was sure that the surgery had failed once again, but then Reed said something that surprised me, and I uncovered my eyes just in time for the actual big reveal. Boy, I didn’t see that one coming. Donna Douglas, shortly before she became famous as Ellie May Clampett, starred. Strangely, Rod Serling, in his closing commentary, seemed to completely miss the point of the piece.
And then there was Nightmare at 20,000 Feet (Season 5 Episode 3), where William Shatner played a man who might or might not be seeing a gremlin on the wing of the plane. Was he really seeing it? Nobody else did. Or was he having a recurrence of his nervous breakdown? In this one the big shock actually comes about halfway through. I’m not sure I learned a valuable lesson from this one, but it sure was memorable.