Jordan Peele's 'The Twilight Zone' in Comparison With the Nostalgia-Inducing 1950s Classic

So, The Twilight Zone is getting face-lift, huh? I, along with millions of others, found out about this revival from a Super Bowl commercial. I will admit, I was intrigued. The teaser looked pretty cool, and I was happy to hear that Jordan Peele was at the helm of the project. I was a little skeptical too. I later brought it up to my dad and fellow Twilight Zone lover. He had also seen the preview, but his only comment was: "It won't be any good." And I, someone who is very nostalgic for the classic show, just like my dad is, nodded in agreement. So, I've watched the first episode (which is free on YouTube), and here are my thoughts.

 

The Original 1950s Series

There are countless episodes from the original series featuring Rod Serling, which ran from 1958 to 1964, that hold a special place in my heart. I have great memories of staying up on New Year's Eve, watching Twilight Zone reruns with my dad until my small head was too heavy to hold up. Some favorites include “The Masks,” “The Invaders,” and “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.” My favorite episode of all time, titled “People Are Alike All Over,” depicts an astronaut who crash-lands on Mars and is taken in by the very human-like aliens who live there. The astronaut feels very at home among the aliens’ generous hospitality as they build a dwelling for him, one that looks identical to houses on Earth. This episode ends with the reveal that the astronaut has been imprisoned in the house, which ends up being a zoo-like exhibit labeling him as an “Earth Creature in his native habitat” for the aliens to gawk at.

Pros of the Classic Series:

I love the science fiction concepts and extremely thought-provoking nature of the episodes.

Very family friendly!

It has good acting and direction.

While there are aspects of it that may seem a little cheesy and outdated, I feel that it still holds up as a good-looking, well-produced and interesting series—even sixty years later!

Awesome narration by Rod Serling! (The “in The Twilight Zone” punchline never gets old.)

Cons:

The pacing can be a little slow. I could see where it may become boring at times to some viewers.

Given that it's from the 50s and 60s, it does have an outdated look, although, as I pointed out above, I think it still looks very good for its age.

If you hate black and white film (for some weird reason), you are in for a bad time. 

 

The Jordan Peele Remake

The first episode, released at the end of March, is titled “The Comedian.” It depicts a struggling stand-up comedian, played by Kumail Nanjiani, who receives sage advice from a well-off and respected fellow comedian. After their discussion, Nanjiani’s character seems to be doing very well, getting his feet under him and quickly becoming much more sucessful in his career. He turns his unfortunate life events into material for his shows, taking aim at the people who have wronged him even the slightest bit. As you can probably guess, this ends up having devastatingly unexpected results.

Pros: 

Talented, likable and very diverse cast. The show is brought to us by Jordan Peele....Where you expecting anything else? 

It didn’t diverge too crazily far from the original, but was still its own thing.

I'll admit I don't know a lot about cinematography, but I thought the episode was very nice-looking and well-shot.

Good pacing for its 55-minute run time (something the old show, at a 25-minute run time, can struggle with in a few episodes).

The awesome narration is still a feature! (Acted by Peele this time around.)

Cons: 

It's not in black and white! Again, the show is aimed at a modern audience, so this is no surprise. I knew going into it that it was not going to be black and white, but this makes it lack the charm of the original, in my opinion.

It's aimed at mature audiences only. While there is nothing wrong with this, and I totally understand the decision to produce it this way, I would've loved to have seen an off-the-wall science fiction show that parents can share with their children, the way my dad did with me when I was young.