Fans of my work (hi, mom!) and people who know me well (hi again, mom!) know that I am a big, big fan of The Twilight Zone. I consider it the finest product ever to grace a television screen, and a major reason why I write about the kinds of things that I do. The original series was best, but I also liked the 80s incarnation and the version of the show from 2002, which everyone else pretty much hated. Of course, I own all of them (including pre-pilot ‘The Time Element’ from Westinghouse Playhouse) and when I finally watched them all, I was kind of sad.
So then I started sniffing around for shows LIKE The Twilight Zone. The first was Rod Serling’s Night Gallery. Great stuff. More straight ahead horror in the vein of Tales from the Darkside, which is another awesome show, but still very good. Then I found a neat little gem of a show called Tales of Tomorrow. It was televised live in the EARLY 1950s and recorded on kinescope for west coast broadcasts, so its very grainy and not all of the episodes survive, but those that do are very, very cool and star the likes of Leslie Nielsen, Paul Newman, and James Dean, of all people.
But what really got me excited was the discovery of X Minus One and it’s predecessor, Dimension X–radio science fiction anthologies from the 1950s that predated The Twilight Zone by several years. You’ve got stories from Kurt Vonnegut, Ray Bradbury, Frederick Pohl, Isaac Asimov, Murray Leinster, Fritz Leiber, Robert Heinlein, Theodore Sturgeon and lots more, a veritable who’s who from the golden age of science fiction. If you like old time radio and theater of the mind, these two shows are for you, and you can find out more about them, as well as Tales of Tomorrow, Night Gallery, and The Twilight Zone at this cool new site: The Twilight Zone Network, which acts as a hub for all things Serling–and its about time.
So, go there now and check it out. (There’s also information there about a show Serling wrote for called ‘Suspense’ that I haven’t had the time to take in yet, but I will…) Its a site I wish I had the time and skill to have done first, but didn’t…
(Full disclosure: The Twilight Zone Network also has an original fiction section, and a story I had published at Aphelion in November called “A Factor of ‘X’” is now the very first entry in TZN Fiction.)