The Twilight Zone (2019 TV series)
|The Twilight Zone|
|Created by||Rod Serling|
|Narrated by||Jordan Peele|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||20 (list of episodes)|
|Production location(s)||Vancouver, British Columbia|
|Running time||31–56 minutes|
|Original network||CBS All Access|
|Original release||April 1, 2019 –|
|Preceded by||The Twilight Zone (2002–03)|
The Twilight Zone is an American anthology web television series developed by Simon Kinberg, Jordan Peele, and Marco Ramirez, based on the original 1959 television series created by Rod Serling. Peele serves as narrator, in addition to executive producing through Monkeypaw Productions. The weekly series premiered on April 1, 2019, on CBS All Access, and was renewed for a second season halfway through its first set of 10 episodes. The second season was released in its entirety on June 25, 2020.
In this incarnation of The Twilight Zone that is hosted by Jordan Peele, each episode details with different topics such like bizarre incidents, supernatural occurrences, racism, social issues, fake news, alien invasions, and immigration with an unusual and unexpected twist in each one.
Notable episodes include Sanaa Lathan as a woman who discovers that her camcorder can turn back time, Chris O'Dowd as an anthropologist who studies a strange gun, Morena Baccarin as a hotel manager who finds everyone around her standing still, and Damon Wayans Jr. as church handyman who finds that he can change his town using a smaller model of it.
While "Nightmare at 30,000 Feet" goes by a path that is different from that of "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet," the episode "You Might Also Like" is connected with the classic episode "To Serve Man."
In December 2012, it was announced that Bryan Singer had finalized a deal to develop, executive produce, and potentially direct a third revival of The Twilight Zone for CBS Television Studios. At the time of the announcement, the production had yet to hire a writer, begun being shopped to networks and was still finalizing a deal with the Serling estate. On March 7, 2013, it was reported that a writer was in negotiations to join the series. By 2016, Simon Kinberg and Craig Sweeny had joined the production and CBS was weighing whether to shop the project to other networks or streaming services or to place it on their own CBS All Access. Kinberg eventually left the project to write and direct the film Dark Phoenix and Singer and Sweeny soon dropped out as well.
On November 2, 2017, it was announced that CBS was redeveloping the revival for their streaming service CBS All Access. Additionally, it was reported that Jordan Peele was in talks to executive produce the series through his production company Monkeypaw Productions and that Marco Ramirez was in talks to serve as showrunner. On December 6, 2017, it was announced that CBS had given the production a series order. Peele and Ramirez were confirmed to executive produce alongside Simon Kinberg, Win Rosenfeld, Audrey Chon, Carolyn Serling, and Rick Berg. Peele, Ramirez, and Kinberg were also set to collaborate on the series' premiere episode. Production companies involved with the series were slated to consist of CBS Television Studios, Monkeypaw Productions, and Genre Films.
On August 6, 2018, it was confirmed that the first season would consist of ten episodes. Additionally, it was reported that the production had established a writers' room and completed concepts, outlines, and scripts for the first season in various stages of development. The series was not planned to have a formal showrunner but director Greg Yaitanes was set to be in charge of overseeing continuity among episodes. On September 20, 2018, it was announced that, in addition to executive producing, Peele would serve as the series' narrator and host. On October 2, 2018, it was announced via a promotional video for the series that Gerard McMurray was directing an episode with Mathias Herndl serving as his director of photography. On November 15, 2018, it was reported that Alex Rubens would write an episode of the series.
On April 29, 2019, the series was renewed for a second season. In January 2020, CBS All Access revealed episode information on six of the ten episodes of the second season. In May 2020, information on the final four episodes of the season were revealed.
In October 2018, the production company announced that Sanaa Lathan and Adam Scott had been cast in episode-starring roles; Lathan would appear in an episode titled "Rewind" and Scott in an episode titled "Nightmare at 30,000 Feet", a remake of the original series episode "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet". In November, Kumail Nanjiani was announced in an episode-starring role. In December, John Cho, Allison Tolman, Jacob Tremblay, Erica Tremblay, Steven Yeun, and Greg Kinnear were announced: Cho, Tolman, and the Tremblays for roles in an episode titled "The Wunderkind", and Yeun and Kinnear in "The Traveler" (broadcast as "A Traveler"). In January 2019, DeWanda Wise, Jessica Williams, Lucinda Dryzek, Jefferson White, Jonathan Whitesell, Taissa Farmiga, Rhea Seehorn, Luke Kirby, Ike Barinholtz, and Percy Hynes White were announced: Wise, Williams, Dryzek, White, and Whitesell would appear in one episode, while Farmiga, Seehorn, Kirby, Barinholtz, and Hynes-White would be featured in another. In February, Ginnifer Goodwin, James Frain, and Zabryna Guevara were announced as cast for "Point of Origin". The full trailer revealed that Tracy Morgan, Glenn Fleshler and Chris Diamantopoulos would make guest appearances. It was revealed through the official Twitter page that Seth Rogen would appear in an episode. In March, the casting of Zazie Beetz and Betty Gabriel for one episode was announced, while Chris O'Dowd and Amy Landecker would appear in "The Blue Scorpion". Damson Idris was then announced to appear in "Replay", the episode previously titled "Rewind".
In January 2020, several cast members for the second season were announced, which included: Morena Baccarin, Tony Hale, Billy Porter, Christopher Meloni, Joel McHale, Jimmi Simpson and Gillian Jacobs. In May 2020, another round of castings were revealed, which included: Topher Grace, Jurnee Smollett and Damon Wayans Jr.
The producers chose to make the series in color instead of black and white. Executive producer Simon Kinberg stated that the team "wanted to do something to honor the essence and sensibility and style of the original without going so overboard that we were doing a karaoke version of the original." However, the series was also made available to watch in black and white. For the opening sequence, executive producer Simon Kinberg stated that imagery was chosen that reflected the original television series, something used in place of a black-and-white color scheme.
Filming for the second season was scheduled to commence from October 6, 2019, to March 16, 2020, in Vancouver.
|First released||Last released|
|1||10||April 1, 2019||May 30, 2019|
|2||10||June 25, 2020|
Season 1 (2019)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|1||1||"The Comedian"||Owen Harris||Alex Rubens||April 1, 2019|
Struggling stand-up comedian Samir Wassan meets legendary comic J.C. Wheeler, who advises him to include personal material in his routines. After doing a successful routine centered around his dog, Samir returns home and discovers that not only did his dog vanish, but no one seems to remember that it ever existed. He then learns that jokes about the people in his life get laughs, but cause them to disappear from existence. After accidentally erasing his nephew, Samir starts erasing people he thinks the world would be better off without, such as a brash comedian who killed two people in a drunk driving incident. He erases his girlfriend Rena's mentor (a relationship he is jealous of), causing her to change from a successful lawyer to a struggling waitress. After another encounter with Wheeler, Samir continues abusing his power, going so far as erasing Didi, a friendly rival comedian. Rena confronts him during a set with a journal containing names of those he's erased. Realizing what he has done, Samir erases himself from existence, causing everyone previously erased to exist again. Didi, now a rising star, meets Wheeler following a set and asks for his advice. The episode ends revealing Samir in a photo mural amongst all the other comedians who had been tempted by Wheeler and erased. |
Cast : Kumail Nanjiani, Amara Karan, Diarra Kilpatrick, Ryan Robbins, Tracy Morgan
|2||2||"Nightmare at 30,000 Feet"||Greg Yaitanes||Story by : Simon Kinberg, Jordan Peele and Marco Ramirez|
Teleplay by : Marco Ramirez
Based on "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" by : Richard Matheson
|April 1, 2019|
PTSD-afflicted journalist Justin Sanderson boards Northern Goldstar Airlines Flight 1015 after accepting a job offer. He discovers an MP3 player in his seat pocket and finds it contains a podcast about "the mystery of Northern Goldstar Flight 1015", which disappeared an hour into the flight. As the podcast accurately describes the progressing flight, Justin juggles control of his nerves and confiding in Joe Beaumont, a former pilot who lost his job for crashing a previous airplane, and seems to be the only person who takes him seriously. He tries using clues from the podcast to avert the disaster, but every attempt results in increasing irritation and suspicion toward him. Joe offers to take control of the plane, but doesn't know the access code; Justin guesses that it is "1015", coincidentally also the time the flight took off. But after Joe overpowers the pilots and takes control of the plane, Justin realizes from the podcast that Joe is the one responsible for the crash. Joe then proceeds to finish his conversation with air traffic control before letting go of the control. The following day, waking up on an atoll. Justin learns via the next episode of the podcast that everyone survived the crash and they were rescued months later, except for him. The other survivors appear, surround him, and beat him to death as he protests that he was trying to save them. The MP3 player is picked up by Jordan Peele. |
Cast : Adam Scott, Chris Diamantopoulos, Dan Carlin, Katie Findlay, Nicholas Lea
|3||3||"Replay"||Gerard McMurray||Selwyn Seyfu Hinds||April 11, 2019|
While at a roadside diner with her college-bound son Dorian, Nina Harrison discovers that her old family camcorder has the power to turn back time when she presses the rewind button, and that she is the only one aware of it. A racist state trooper notices them at the diner, and later pulls them over for speeding and becoming violent with them. Nina rewinds time and convinces Dorian to pull over before they are stopped, but Lasky instead menaces them for not pulling over properly. Nina attempts repeatedly to change events. They taking a different route and stopping at a motel, where Dorian muses about fate, before Lasky shows up to menace them. She goes back and tries to befriend Lasky at the diner, but this ends with Lasky shooting Dorian. Setting aside her fierce independence, Nina detours to enlist the help of her estranged brother Neil, who helps her get Dorian safely to his HBCU campus. Lasky arrives with a group of state troopers, but Nina, Neil, and the students stand their ground and record them; prompting Lasky to reluctantly leave. Ten years later, Dorian has become a father, and Nina holds onto the camcorder for security. Dorian's daughter Trinity accidentally breaks the camcorder, and Dorian persuades Nina to let go of it. He leaves to run an errand as Nina and Trinity look on. When the screen blacks out, a police siren is briefly heard. |
Cast : Sanaa Lathan, Damson Idris, Glenn Fleshler, Steve Harris
|4||4||"A Traveler"||Ana Lily Amirpour||Glen Morgan||April 18, 2019|
Alaska police sergeant Yuka Mongoyak has arrested her brother Jack, to be the annual recipient of a ceremonial "pardon" from captain Lane Pendleton at his Christmas party, which she as an Alaskan native hates. At the height of the festivities, Yuka discovers another inmate has mysteriously appeared in the station's holding cells. His name is "legally" A. Traveler, and he claims he is an extreme tourist who has heard of Pendleton's YouTube-famous Christmas parties. As Traveler becomes friendly with the guests, Yuka grows increasingly suspicious of him. Pendleton grows suspicious when Traveler reveals information he would have no way of knowing about to the townspeople at the party. When Yuka, Jack, and Pendleton glimpse antennas on Traveler's head, Traveler deflects their suspicions by claiming Pendleton is in league with the Russians. Pendleton then leaves to check on the shed that links the town's power with the nearby Air Force base, while Traveler promises Yuka that she will be in charge when "my people" take over. Yuka stops Pendleton and holds him at gunpoint at the power shed, as they witness UFOs descend from the sky. At the station, Jack shares a piece of pie with Traveler, now in his true alien form, and states things would be better with them in charge.|
Cast : Steven Yeun, Marika Sila, Patrick Gallagher, Eric Keenleyside, Andrew Kavadas, Gail Maurice, Greg Kinnear
|5||5||"The Wunderkind"||Richard Shepard||Andrew Guest||April 25, 2019|
Campaign manager Raff Hanks finds himself in a hospital and recounts the events leading up to his hospitalization to an orderly. Years earlier, Raff considered himself a wunderkind and had been a successful campaign manager. After he and his partner Maura fail to get then-sitting and unpopular President of the United States James Stevens reelected, Raff's career is ruined. While at the bar years later, Raff spots a news item about eleven-year-old YouTube star Oliver Foley announcing his candidacy for President. Seizing the opportunity to redeem himself, Raff convinces Oliver's parents about having him run. While the public supports Oliver, he struggles to answer questions about current issues and humiliates himself during a debate. Raff then bases Oliver's campaign around family after learning his dog is dying of cancer; resulting in Oliver winning the Iowa caucus and subsequently becoming President while his mother becomes the Vice President. Oliver takes control of the White House, prompting Raff to regret his actions. When Oliver catches wind of Raff's "treason", he reveals he lied about his dog dying to get votes before convincing the Secret Service to shoot Raff. In the present, Raff learns from the orderly that the surgeon operating on him is an apathetic child due to Oliver's having passed a law forbidding old doctors.|
Cast : John Cho, Jacob Tremblay, Allison Tolman, Kimberley Sustad, Lane Edwards, Erica Tremblay, John Larroquette
|6||6||"Six Degrees of Freedom"||Jakob Verbruggen||Heather Anne Campbell and Glen Morgan||May 2, 2019|
The crew of the Bradbury spacecraft, led by Alexa Brandt, decide to head for the planet Mars after a nuclear war breaks out on earth. The crew members soon begin to turn on one another, in spite of Brandt's attempts to convince them to come together under times of stress. However, she too begins to break, devastating fellow crew member Katherine Langford. One crewman, Jerry Pierson, goes crazy and starts rambling that they are being watched, to which the other crewmen don't believe him. Later on, he is seemingly killed after going out the airlock. The crew successfully lands on Mars. It is later revealed that Jerry had been taken away by aliens and that he was correct: aliens have been monitoring the crew trying to determine if they are worth saving and pass through the Great Filter.|
Cast : DeWanda Wise, Jessica Williams, Jefferson White, Lucinda Dryzek, Jonathan Whitesell
|7||7||"Not All Men"||Christina Choe||Heather Anne Campbell||May 9, 2019|
Reporter Annie Miller is invited by her co-worker Dylan to watch a meteor shower. During the event, Dylan picks up one of the rocks, causing his attitude to change. Annie leaves early after witnessing Dylan destroy his record player. The next day, Annie visits her sister Martha who is celebrating her birthday with her husband Mike, nephew Cole, and Phil. While having cake, they hear a neighbor scream about contaminated water before witnessing most of the town's men, including Mike, partake in violent acts; with Phil being killed in the process. Dylan appears and tries to strangle Annie before she gets free and knocks him back. Annie, Martha, and Cole are later rescued and taken to a quarantine center, where they learn that a virus infected the town's water supply and affected almost all of the men. Even though he had one of the meteors in his pocket, Cole is deemed healthy, as he was able to control his rage, and revealing that the meteorites were just a placebo for the men's violent behaviors. The three are eventually allowed to leave as the news blames the incident on road rage and late night crime sprees.|
Cast : Taissa Farmiga, Rhea Seehorn, Percy Hynes White, Luke Kirby, Peter Kelamis, Ike Barinholtz
|8||8||"Point of Origin"||Mathias Herndl||John Griffin||May 16, 2019|
Wealthy socialite Eve Martin is approached by her housekeeper and nanny Anna Fuentas who asks if her grandson can use her address as she's an illegal immigrant from Guatemala. Eve agrees while she prepares for a party for new parents. However, Anna is taken by ICE. While out grocery shopping with her daughters, Eve finds that her credit cards have been declined. In the parking lot, they are picked up by HSI. She and her husband William are interrogated by Agent Allandale. While her family is released, Eve remains in HSI custody so Allandale can figure out where she came from. The machine she is subjected to gives her the fake illusion that HSI later released her as well as visions of a ruined world. Eve is shocked to find out that Anna is an illegal alien from another dimension and that she is too. Eve and Anna manage to formulate an escape plan as they dodge HSI agents. While Anna goes in a different direction, Eve heads home where William says she can't be here. Agent Allandale arrives with the HSI agents. When Eve tells him to get out of her house, Allandale tells her to get out of "his house." Eve is taken away by the HSI to be reimprisoned as William sheds a tear.|
Cast : Ginnifer Goodwin, James Frain, Toby Levins, Zabryna Guevara, Karin Konoval, Michael Eklund, Robert Mann
|9||9||"The Blue Scorpion"||Craig William Macneill||Glen Morgan||May 23, 2019|
Depressed anthropology professor Jeff Storck is about to divorce from his wife despite his pleas for counseling. On top of that, he finds that his father has apparently committed suicide. While in his dad’s house, he finds a gun called the Blue Scorpion with a bullet with his name on it. At the funeral, Jeff questions why his father would kill himself. With all that's going on in his life, Jeff contemplates killing himself with the gun after testing it at a gun range. Meanwhile, Jeff’s estranged wife has begun seeing another man, also named Jeff, which gets Jeff to thinking about killing the man due to his feelings for his wife. Jeff goes to her house and shoots at his wife’s boyfriend. The bullet misses him, but hits and kills a burglar in the house, also named Jeff. In the aftermath of this after being praised for stopping the burglar, Jeff decides to rid himself of the gun that has caused him his misfortune. He throws it into the harbor and leaves. Later, the gun is found by two kids with the bullet now reading the name “Kyle” after the kid who picked it up.|
Cast : Chris O'Dowd, Amy Landecker, Alex Diakun, James Morrison, Adam Korson, Luisa D'Oliveira
|10||10||"Blurryman"||Simon Kinberg||Alex Rubens||May 30, 2019|
After rewriting the opening narration for an episode of The Twilight Zone starring Seth Rogen and Betty Gabriel for Jordan Peele, screenwriter and Twilight Zone fan Sophie Gelson discovers someone changed it to be about her. She later notices a mysterious blurry figure appearing in the background of several scenes as well as scenes from previous episodes. While searching for Jordan, Sophie encounters the Blurryman, who chases her through the studio and triggers a flashback to her childhood. After a brief encounter with Jason Priestley, she hands a new version of the narration to Jordan before finding herself in the world of the iconic episode "Time Enough at Last." When she finally encounters the Blurryman and agrees to hear it out, the Blurryman reveals himself as original series host Rod Serling. Claiming that they have "a lot of work to do," Serling escorts Sophie through a door into the Twilight Zone.|
Cast : Zazie Beetz, Betty Gabriel, Zibby Allen, Caitlin Stryker, Seth Rogen, Jason Priestley
Season 2 (2020)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|11||1||"Meet in the Middle"||Mathias Herndl||Emily C. Chang & Sara Amini||June 25, 2020|
|Cast : Jimmi Simpson, Kristin Lehman, Mike Dopud, Gillian Jacobs|
|12||2||"Downtime"||JD Dillard||Jordan Peele||June 25, 2020|
|Cast : Morena Baccarin, Colman Domingo, Serinda Swan, Tony Hale|
|13||3||"The Who of You"||Peter Atencio||Win Rosenfeld||June 25, 2020|
|Cast : Ethan Embry, Daniel Sunjata, Mel Rodriguez, Billy Porter|
|14||4||"Ovation"||Ana Lily Amirpour||Story by : David Weil|
Teleplay by : Emily C. Chang & Sara Amini
|June 25, 2020|
Fiji, a disgruntled pop star, commits suicide after giving Jasmine, a street performer, a medallion. Upset, Jasmine begins to write and perform music at the scene of Fiji's suicide and is later told to appear in a singing competition series called Ovation. She manages to win the show and tells her sister to throw away the medallion. Because of this, Jasmine's new popularity declines, and she stumbles upon a new artist named Mynx. Upset at her lost fame, Jasmine kills Mynx who turns out to be her sister, while a passing crowd erupts in applause. The medallion is claimed by Jordan Peele who just claps and walks off.|
Cast : Jurnee Smollett, Tawny Newsome, Sky Ferreira, Dan Martin, Paul F. Tompkins, Thomas Lennon
|15||5||"Among the Untrodden"||Tayarisha Poe||Heather Anne Campbell||June 25, 2020|
An awkward teenage girl named Irene transfers to Saint Mary's Boarding School in the middle of the school year. A clique of popular girls at the school led by a girl named Madison immediately conspire to harass and bully Irene. While working on her school science fair project, Irene becomes convinced that Madison has psychic abilities and sets out to convince her. As Madison becomes more confident in her psychic powers, she distances herself from her former friends even as Irene seems to become closer to them. Events escalate at the school science fair where Madison's old friends have set up a project called "Anatomy of a Loser" with several displays looping video and glitching, distorted images of Irene. Irene shocks in horror and lets out a primal scream, the displays break, and Madison's old friends all drop dead on the spot. Madison confronts Irene, accusing her of having psychic powers, and of using them to control her and kill the other girls, all of which Irene denies. Madison embraces Irene, recognizing her as a friend, causing Irene's body to disintegrate into ashes now that her duty is fulfilled. Sometime later, a new girl enrolls at Saint Mary's Boarding School as Madison plans to befriend her. Jordan Peele reveals that Madison actually did have psychic powers and she used them to construct Irene as a projection based on her desire for a real friend. |
Cast : Sophia Macy, Abbie Hern
|16||6||"8"||Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead||Glen Morgan||June 25, 2020|
At the outer reaches of the world, a team of scientists discover a new highly intelligent species, but its existence may endanger more than their research.Cast : Joel McHale, Nadia Hilker, Michelle Ang, Tim Armstrong, Brandon Jay McLaren
|17||7||"A Human Face"||Christina Choe||Alex Rubens||June 25, 2020|
|Cast : Jenna Elfman, Christopher Meloni, Tavi Gevinson|
|18||8||"A Small Town"||Alonso Alvarez-Barreda||Steven Barnes & Tananarive Due||June 25, 2020|
|Cast : Damon Wayans Jr., David Krumholtz, Natalie Martinez, Paula Newsome, Keegan Connor Tracy, Andrew Alvarez|
|19||9||"Try, Try"||Jennifer McGowan||Alex Rubens||June 25, 2020|
|Cast : Topher Grace, Kylie Bunbury|
|20||10||"You Might Also Like"||Osgood Perkins||Osgood Perkins||June 25, 2020|
|Cast : Gretchen Mol, Greta Lee, Gil Bellows, Colleen Camp, Donna Dixon, George Takei|
On January 30, 2019, it was announced during the Television Critics Association's annual winter press tour that the series would premiere on April 1, 2019. A black-and-white version of the first season was released on May 30, 2019. The second season was released in its entirety on June 25, 2020.
On February 3, 2019, a teaser trailer for the series aired during the telecast of Super Bowl LIII. The commercial played as though it was interrupting CBS' feed of the game and it featured host Jordan Peele standing in an empty Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Another trailer was released on February 21.
On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the first season holds an approval rating of 70% based on 87 reviews, with an average rating of 7.39/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "The Twilight Zone explores the strangeness of the modern world through Rod Serling's winning formula, creating a thought-provoking—if not always spine-tingling—showcase for Jordan Peele and his exceptional crop of collaborators." Metacritic assigned the first season a weighted average score of 60 out of 100 based on 37 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews."
The BBC gave it a positive review and said: "It's possible that ... Rod Serling and Jordan Peele switched places. As co-creator and on-screen host of the new version, he [Peele] updates the series while capturing the original's essence." The Week was more mixed in its review, calling the first episodes "unforgivably long", but also saying that the series stays "true to the ethos of The Twilight Zone" and that "the episodes are free-standing and timeless". The Verge also gave it a mixed review, praising Jordan Peele as the narrator, but saying the series should try to step away from the original. The Atlantic was more critical, comparing it to the original series, stating, "[w]ith the exception of one superior episode, 'Replay', it's hard to conceive that an artist as prodigiously talented and thoughtful as Peele is creatively involved at all."
The second season—based on three episodes sent to critics ("Meet in the Middle", "The Who of You" and "You Might Also Like")—has received mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the second season holds an approval rating of 67% based on 21 reviews, with an average rating of 6.29/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "The Twilight Zone sophomore season shines when it dares to be bold, but long runtimes and predictable plotting hold it back from reaching its full potential." Metacritic assigned the second season a weighted average score of 57 out of 100 based on 8 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews."
Kristen Lopez of IndieWire gave the three episodes a collective grade of "B-" and wrote, "These episodes certainly feel more strongly written than Season 1, and if the editing tightens up like it did before, these new entries could be amazing. It'll be hard for any other episode to be better than 'You Might Also Like', though, which is a pure masterpiece." Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com wrote that "every episode in this trio disappoints to varying degrees".
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