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We are a collection of nerds, geeks, bloggers, podcasters and everything in between who are passionate about….well…..pretty much anything! We come together every so often to chat about a single topic (of which you can read the previous articles HERE) but we are a lively community, always talking, sharing ideas and generally having a laugh! If you want to be the next Geekstalker let us know! The only thing we ask in return is that you have fun!
For 2019 we are going to be doing something a little different. The Geekstalkers Community has been steadily growing over the last couple of years so we thought it was about time that you got to know our members a little better. Each month we will have at least one Geekstalker talk about…..anything they want to! We have a wide variety of interests which is one of the reasons we work so well!
This month’s featured Geekstalker is Matthew Fisher aka @CouchPotato_MVP.
My Trip Through ‘The Twilight Zone’
By Matthew Fisher
Do you remember the first time you saw “The Twilight Zone?” For me, it was the episode “Eye of the Beholder” where a woman gets plastic surgery to look more like everyone else. (SPOILER ALERT) After her bandages are removed, she’s horrified the procedure didn’t work despite looking fine. It’s then revealed her “beauty” is considered ugly because in this world normal and beautiful mean looking like a monster (END OF SPOILER). Unnerved by the story’s twist, I freaked out and quickly changed the channel. Thankfully, this initial reaction didn’t scare me too much and only piqued my curiosity about “The Twilight Zone.”
Since then, I’ve watched and re-watched “The Twilight Zone” numerous times. Sometimes, I luck out and discover an episode I’ve never seen, which is cool since it feels like I’ve viewed every single episode. From creatures on airplane wings and talking dolls to ghosts in the past and apocalyptic wastelands, series creator Rod Serling created a universe where any and all stories could be told. So, what is it about this show that makes me and many others return to this “fifth dimension” time and time again? Let’s find out by discussing “The Twilight Zone.”
One timeless aspect of “The Twilight Zone” is how the same stories told from 1959 to 1964 are still being told today. For example, we constantly contemplate the possibility of aliens coming to Earth. What would happen if aliens came to our planet? How would the human race react? Would we trust these extraterrestrials with their promises “to serve man” or would skepticism prevail? Alternatively, the fear of space aliens hiding among us (as seen in “Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up” and “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street”) raises questions about our state of paranoia and our ability to trust others. Overall, these episodes act as strong cautionary tales by picturing various ways an alien arrival would affect society and how people might change because of it.
However, a shift in the status quo and mass panic ensuing isn’t limited to visitors from
beyond. Sometimes, a major event can deal with the world around us. Tales like “The Midnight Sun,” where humanity struggles to live on a boiling Earth as the planet moves closer to the sun, show how quickly society can change. The hotter the Earth gets, the more tempers rise as people struggle with extreme heat, strive to find food, hold onto limited resources, and seek relief in the face of impending doom. It’s strange how true this episode feels today.
Another way “The Twilight Zone” still connects with viewers is by highlighting feelings we all share. For instance, we all want more out of life but things constantly get in the way. However, in this other dimension, people are thrown into a world where they achieve their deepest desires but it comes at a price. It makes us wonder if getting what we want is worth the cost. “Time Enough at Last,” which has one of the best twist endings of the series, illustrates this brilliantly. When a bookworm who never gets time to read becomes the sole survivor of a nuclear war, he discovers he has plenty of time to enjoy his books… until one minor mistake changes everything. Learning we can’t control the world around us even when we feel in charge is a hallmark theme of “The Twilight Zone.”
Meanwhile, other episodes find interesting ways to explore our everyday struggles and wishes for a better life like “The Man in the Bottle.” Here, a husband and wife who run a struggling antique store encounter a genie that grants them three wishes. However, they soon discover these wishes don’t go according to plan. This story nicely demonstrates how we can all rush into something without thinking it through, especially if it means a chance to make our lives better.
Furthermore, “The Twilight Zone” tends to look inward, too, and ask if we can always trust ourselves. Is that shadow in the corner of your eye nothing or is it something else? The classic episode “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” handles this notion wonderfully as Robert Wilson (a terrific William Shatner) constantly sees a strange beast on an airplane wing but any time he tells someone, it disappears. In the end, we’re left wondering if he was right, crazy, or both.
Lastly, “The Twilight Zone” never shies away from imagining the future. Even today, certain questions about the world of tomorrow remain similar to those in the past. One persistent query regards space travel and what humanity could encounter among the cosmos. Pondering over this grand concept allowed the series to showcase exciting and thought-provoking episodes like “People Are Alike All Over,” which depicts how other planets may look different but their inhabitants could act just like us. However, another space-based episode titled “Probe 7, Over and Out” presents a more optimistic outlook as a stranded astronaut on a desolate world encounters and eventually befriends an alien stranger. In the end, “The Twilight Zone” balances these future stories by showing how space travel has the potential to be unexpectedly worthwhile and quite perilous.
Yet, not all future stories involve space travel and aliens. Sometimes they’re grounded by
imagining the world itself in the years to come. Ideas like technology replacing humans (as seen in “Steel”) or individual beliefs being challenged by society (like in “The Obsolete Man”) are worries we deal with today. We’ll never know what the future holds but at least these episodes help us envision what’s possible and whether it might be good or bad.
While the stories and themes of “The Twilight Zone” continue to connect with viewers, the brand itself also remains iconic. Just mentioning the words “Twilight Zone” or hearing the theme music is enough to get one talking about their favorite episodes. Additionally, others have kept the show’s brand alive with TV marathons, a film adaptation, comic books, and TV revivals (“The Twilight Zone” was rebooted in 1985, 2002, and now in 2019).
The most recent revival was developed by Simon Kinberg, Jordan Peele (who also stars as the narrator), and Marco Ramirez for CBS All Access. It’ll be interesting to see what themes and ideas they explore in our contemporary world as well as how they can be applied to familiar tales like “Nightmare at 30,000 Feet.” The 2019 series has big shoes to fill, but if the premiere episode (“The Comedian”) is any indication, the show is ready to captivate and capture viewers’ minds once more.
With the door to “the dimension of imagination” reopened, writers and directors can yet again use this otherworldly realm to express their feelings about our world through a horror or sci-fi lens. Times may change, but we’ll always have a place to reflect on our dreams and nightmares thanks to “The Twilight Zone.”
We hope you’ve enjoyed hearing the latest utterings from the Geekstalkers as we love talking about anything and everything. It isn’t much of a Community if people don’t get involved and put their thoughts, feelings and opinions across. All our welcome and we would love for you to join the conversation! All our social media links, websites etc can be found below and I promise, you will not be disappointed if you start chatting to some or all of the Geekstalkers. They are a brilliant bunch of people who just love stuff! It just so happens that a lot of that stuff is liked by a lot of other people too!
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