Dr. Udru’s YouTube video entitled “The Origins of the Twilight Zone” will tell you all you need to know about this classic American show.
You’ve probably seen all the happy pictures of 1950s Americans in your history textbooks. Scholars often classify the 50s as an age of conformity in contrast to the “hippie revolution” of the 60s. However, there were deep psychoses brewing in the minds of conformist housewives and businessmen during this time period. One of the functions of “The Twilight Zone” was to probe the murky depths of the subconscious post-WWII American mind.
Rod Sterling, the genius creator and narrator of “The Twilight Zone,” was traumatized by his own experience in the U.S. Army during WWII. He had only one major theme he wished to analyze in all his work: prejudice.
Although Sterling built up a great reputation for himself tackling hot-button social issues in teleplays like “Requiem for a Heavyweight” and “The Comedian,” he faced heavy censorship from the film industry and lost numerous ad endorsements. These hardships led Sterling to use the still nascent sci-fi/horror genre to express his ideas on a mainstream TV platform.
After you’re done watching “The Twilight Zone,” be sure to check out today’s equivalent sci-fi/horror series in Charlie Brooker’s “Black Mirror.” Brooker’s work is highly indebted to Sterling’s innovations in the sci-fi genre, but, of course, Brooker’s show deals with issues in contemporary society.