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The Twilight Zone: The Best and The Worst

The Twilight Zone exists in the pit of our id.  With the key of imagination it opens a door to a land of shadow and substance.  Within this land exists extraordinary and original stories that stands the test of time.  Also in existence are handful of stories that doesn't work well in the dimension of sound and moving pictures.

15 BEST:
It is tough to choose just 15.  My original best list had about 46 episodes.

1.  Time Enough At Last
Season 1
Episode 8
November 20, 1959

One of many episodes starring Burgess Meredith.
In this episode he is a meek man looking to have time for his reading.

2.  The Monsters are Due on Maple Street
Season 1
Episode 22
March 4, 1960

Will the residents of Maple Street be able to stop the monsters?

3.  Eye of the Beholder (aka Private World of Darkness)
Season 2
Episode 42
November 11, 1960

A young woman's last ditch effort to change her grotesque look.

4.  A Game of Pool
Season 3
Episode 70
October 13, 1961

Jack Klugman in one of his many Twilight Zone appearances.
This time he faces off against Jonathan Winters in a very high staked game of pool.

5.  It's a Good Life
Season 3
Episode 73
November 3, 1961

Starring Billy Mummy (the original "creepy kid") as the monster of the story.
This episodes guest stars a young William Shatner who appears in 2 other Twilight Zones.  Still a nightmarish episode after all these years.

6.  Five Characters in Search of an Exit
Season 3
Episode 79
December 22, 1961

A Clown, an Army Major, a Hobo, a Bagpipe Player and a Ballerina are trapped in a room for what purpose?

7.  Nothing in the Dark
Season 3
Episode 81
January 5, 1962

An old woman locks herself in her home in fear that Death will come get her.
Robert Redford plays the young policeman the the old lady saves.

8.  To Serve Man
Season 3
Episode 89
March 2, 1962

Humanity makes first contact with an alien race whom comes to earth "to serve man."

9.  Little Girl Lost
Season 3
Episode 91
March 23, 1962

This episode takes a look at metaphysics as a little girl gets lost in another dimension.

10.  The Trade Ins
Season 3
Episode 96
April 20, 1962

Would you trade your old body in for a younger and stronger one if you get the chance?

11.  Miniature
Season 4
Episode 110
February 21, 1963

Season 4 of the Twilight Zone is different from the rest as it aired 1hr episodes instead of half hr ones.  In this episode Robert Duvall plays Charley Parkes who is prejudiced as abnormal.  To make matters worse, he is enchanted by a miniature display at his local museum.

12.  Steel
Season 5
Episode 122
October 4, 1963

Lee Marvin stars in this episode as Sam "Steel" Kelly who is a manager of a run down boxing robot.  Written by Richard Matheson (I am Legend) this story is being remade into a movie called Real Steel starring Hugh Jackman and Evangeline Lilly.

13.  Nightmare at 20,000 Feet
Season 5
Episode 123
October 11, 1963

William Shatner returns to the Twilight Zone as a paranoid passenger on a plane.  One of many episodes written by Richard Matheson.  This time he teams up with Rod Serling as a co-writer.  Directed by Richard Donner of Superman and Lethal Weapon.

14.  The Living Doll
Season 5
Episode 126
November 1, 1963

Talking Tina, Chucky's grandmother.  Is Tina really alive or is it just our imagination?

15.  The Old Man in the Cave
Season 5
Episode 127
November 8, 1963

In a post apocalyptic world an old seer in a cave whom no one had ever seen gives advise to a group of survivors.  Can they survive on blind faith?

Bonus Lost episode:
16.  An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

Season 5
Episode 142
February 28, 1964

I can't just pick 15!  This episode was only aired twice.  It's not included in the syndication package.  An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge is included in the Twilight Zone Definitive Collection.  It's a thoughtful story with great direction and editing.  Directed by Robert Enrico 1962 French short film that was port over by Rod Serling as part of Season 6 before CBS canceled the Twilight Zone.  This was the last episode produced.  An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge won awards at the Cannes Film Festival and the Academy Awards.

The execution for these episodes were off the mark.  It's especially awkward watching ethnic groups being portrayed in this time period even when the story had good intentions.

1.  Sixteen Millimeter Shrine
Season 1
Episode 4
October 23, 1959

An actress not able to let go of her glory days.  Boring.

2.  The Lateness of the Hour
Season 2
Episode 44
December 2, 1960

A daughter of a scientist questioning her parent's accommodations.  Plagued by bad acting and I don't care for the characters.

3.  The Jungle
Season 3
Episode 77
December 1, 1961

After a trip to Africa a business man is haunted by superstition.  Weird jungle noises and boring.

4.  A Quality of Mercy
Season 3
Episode 80
December 29, 1961

A young Leonard Nimoy shows up very briefly in this awkward episode full of good intentions.

5.  Four O'Clock
Season 3
Episode 94
April 6, 1962

A self righteous man on a mission to get rid of all the evil people in the world.  Another episode I find boring and the character too annoying for me.

6.  Young Man's Fancy
Season 3
Episode 99
May 18,1962

A newly wed man not able to let go of his old life at his mother's home.  A bad story that unsurprisingly didn't translate well on film.

7.  The Incredible World of Horace Ford
Season 4
Episode 117
April 18, 1963

Horace Ford can not let go of his life as a 10 year old boy.  More like the incredibly annoying world of the super annoying Horace Ford.  I cheered when Horace Ford got the crap kicked out of him near the end of the story.  He's got to be the most annoying character ever on the Twilight Zone.  He makes the episode unbearable to watch.

8.  The Bard
Season 4
Episode 120
May 23, 1963

Julius Moomer, a struggling writer conjures up William Shakespeare with black magic.  A fail attempt at comedy with another annoying character.  This is an episode that makes the 1hr format tough to watch.

9.  The Last Night of a Jockey
Season 5
Episode 125
October 25, 1963

Mickey Rooney guest stars as a washed up jockey wanting to be "big."  A boring story with a sweating Mickey Rooney but with some great visual effects and camera tricks.

10.  The Bewitchin' Pool
Season 5
Episode 156
June 19, 1964

The last episode of the Twilight Zone attempt to be light hearted.  In order to escape their fighting parents, a brother and sister finds a secret passage in their swimming pool to a happier world.  Something about this episode just didn't work.  The direction and the acting seemed to be all over the place.
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