National Twilight Zone Day
annually on May 11th
Today we celebrate the anthology television series The Twilight Zone. It is unclear why the show is celebrated on May 11, as there is no apparent connection between the date and the show. During its 5-season run, the series was both popular with fans and became critically acclaimed.
The Twilight Zone premiered on October 2, 1959, on CBS. It was created by Rod Serling, who not only came up with its concept and wrote or co-wrote 92 of its 156 episodes but also hosted and narrated it. It was one of the first science fiction series, and also had elements of suspense, horror, psychological fiction, drama, and fantasy. Serling combined his love of pulp fiction novels with topics that weren't often addressed on television at the time: social issues such as war (including nuclear), McCarthyism, and racism. In the opening of each episode, characters were transported to another dimension—the fifth dimension—which was called "the Twilight Zone." There they dealt with many unusual events, and the show often had a surprise ending with a moral lesson.
TV Guide ranked the series as #5 on their 2013 list of 60 greatest shows, and as #4 on their 2013 list of greatest dramas. In 2016, Rolling Stone put it at #7 on their list of greatest television shows of all time. Following its initial run from 1959 to 1964, there have been various iterations of it. The first revival of the series took place from 1985 through 1989, when 110 episodes were produced. A second reboot took place from 2002 through 2003, when 44 episodes were made. A third take on the series started in 2019. A radio series was produced from 2002 through 2012, where episodes from the original series were adapted. Twilight Zone: The Movie—starring Dan Aykroyd and Albert Brooks and directed by John Landis—was released in 1983. A television film, Twilight Zone: Rod Serling's Lost Classics, was released in 1994.
How to Observe
Celebrate the day by watching the original series or one of its later iterations:
- The original series
- 1980s remake
- 2002-2003 season
- 2019 remake
- Twilight Zone: The Movie
- Twilight Zone: Rod Serling's Lost Classics