Thursday, January 1, 2015

Tandava's Guide to the Zone--2014-15--Part III: New Year's Day 7pm to Jan 2nd 6am

And we are at the home stretch of the SyFy channel's New Year's Twilight Zone marathon, featuring episodes to be aired on to be aired from 7:00 PM New Year's Day through 6:00 AM January 2nd.

This list continues from Part I (New Year's Eve, 8:00 AM through midnight) and Part II (midnight New Year's Day through 7pm).

First is the short list including the current Time Top 10, my personal favorites, and other noteworthy episodes.

So, the categories are:

(1) Episodes on the Time Top 10 List – These are the acknowledged classics – in red.

(2) My Personal Favorite Episodes – These are underrated gems with strong scripts and beautiful performances – in green.

(3) Episodes Worth Watching – These have flawed scripts or execution, but often have compelling performances and/or ideas – in blue.

Several of my favorites will be aired in this final leg, such as: "The Masks" (7:30 PM) and "In Praise of Pip" (3:00 AM) and one of the hour-gems, "The New Exhibit". Unfortunately, to make room for this, SyFy cut two of my faves "A Quality of Mercy" (featuring Dean Stockwell and a pre-Trek  Leonard Nimoy) and "Nothing in the Dark", where a captivating Gladys Cooper takes on Death himself, in the form of angelically beautiful Robert Redford.

As with last year, beauties like "Mirror Image," "The Changing of the Guard" are still not on the list, but hopefully they have shelved "The Brain Center at Whipple's" forever.

And, as with last year, Part III still has many goodies worth setting time aside for.

Enjoy – and happy 2015!!

My Favorites  Short List

(Click the time to jump to the episode description.)

7:00 PMKick The Can
7:30 PMThe Masks
8:30 PMLiving Doll
9:00 PMTime Enough At Last
9:30 PMWhere Is Everybody?
10:30 PMEye Of The Beholder
12:00 AMLong Distance Call
12:30 AMJudgement Night
1:30 AM The Grave
2:30 AMA World Of His Own
3:00 AMIn Praise Of Pip
5:00 AMThe New Exhibit

Full List  With Descriptions

7:00 PM  Kick The Can – Timeless story about rest home residents learning that you are indeed as young as you feel. "Look! Think! Feel! Doesn't that wake some sleeping part of you?!"

7:30 PM  The Masks – One of the GREAT underrated episodes, and the only TZ episode to be directed by a woman, Ida Lupino (she also stars in “The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine” 1:30 PM 1/1 ... hope you caught it! ). A crusty millionaire geezer tells his greedy family he will die before Mardi Gras is over – but they must wear freaky custom masks through the evening if they want to claim their inheritance. Gives the term "know thyself" new meaning....

8:00 PM – I Sing The Body Electric – Sweet story about a robot nanny lovingly bonding with tots.

8:30 PM  Living Doll – "My name is Talky Tina – and you'd better be nice to me!" Telly Savalas takes on June Foray's creepy voiced doll. This one gave me nightmares. #1 on the Time list.

9:00 PM – Time Enough At Last – Burgess Meredith at his lovable best as a devoted bookworm constantly thwarted by his boss, wife, and everyone else – until a touch of armageddon gives him new lease on life. #10 on the Time list.

9:30 PM  Where Is Everybody?  – Guy finds himself alone in an empty town, with hints of residents recently present (lit cigarette in ashtray, etc.). Eerie and amusing, most worth watching because this is the pilot that sold the series to CBS.

10:00 PM – The Howling Man –  A visitor to a monastery is disturbed to find the monks have a screaming guy locked up. Well, they must have a good reason… A lot of people like this one. I think it’s pretty meh. Features John Carradine as a monk.

10:30 PM – Eye Of The Beholder – A classic (#9 on the Time list) about the relativity of beauty, the   lengths we will go to be beautiful – or to at least conform – and the dangers of conformity. Note: the girl at the end (Donna Douglas, of Beverly Hillbillies) is a different actress than the one under the bandages ( Maxine Stuart), but she speaks in her own voice – doing a very good impression of Stuart!

11:00 PM – The Shelter – "Maple Street" meets the lazy grasshopper. The industrious ant of this tale has built a bomb shelter for his (and ONLY his) family, and his neighbors scoff – until there is an emergency... Bloated prose and one-dimensional characters make this a must-miss.

11:30 PM – I Am the Night–Color Me Black  Murderous bigotry, hatred, and fear are bad things. OK. We get it.

12:00 AM  Long Distance Call – Creepy dead grandma wants her favorite grandson to be with her forever, and conveys her wishes via a toy phone. (Now if only Billy Mumy –  TZ's favorite child actor – could wish her into the cornfield!) Nice performance by Philip Abbott as the kid's dad.

12:30 AM  Judgement Night – Nehemiah Persoff just knows a nearby U-boat will blast his passenger steamer. But no one one board will believe him! (And exactly how does he know anyway...?) Excellent performances, great ending and a sweet cameo by The AvengersPatrick MacNee

1:00 AM – Nightmare As A Child – Freaky, annoying brat spooks schoolteacher. Or does the marm have more to fear? Find out, if you can stay awake through this snoozer. Features TZ's second-favorite child actor Suzanne Cupito (aka Dallas' Morgan Brittany); also featured in "Caesar and Me" (8:30 AM 12/31).

1:30 AM  The Grave – Spooky old west tale of a dare gone bad, featuring a handsome, raw Lee Marvin and a posturing James Best. 

2:00 AM – The Four Of Us Are Dying – Guy who can change his face learns he can’t change his scumbag nature.

2:30 AM  A World Of His Own – Sweet story about the reality of reality features the only time Serling interacts with his characters.

3:00 AM  In Praise Of Pip – I LOVE this episode. I REALLY love this episode (and did I mention I love this episode?). Jack Klugman (RIP to a beloved actor) delivers a top-notch, tragic performance as a dying no-good trying to do right by his serviceman son, Pip (a much less fearsome Billy Mumy). Sweet, sad magical ending.

3:30 AM – The Fever – Well-acted but ultimately hokey morality play about gambling addiction.

4:00 AM – The Last Rights Of Jeff Myrtlebank – Small-town good ol' boy James Best wakes up at his own funeral, and seems much improved by the experience! Cute, folksy tale.

4:30 AM – What You Need – Magical peddler who can give people exactly "what they need" moments before they need it is menaced by a small- time thug. Comeuppance awaits the thug, and the   peddler reveals a refreshing hint of cold- bloodedness, uncharacteristic of the Zone. Mixed feelings about this one mostly due to the script's weak dialogue. Based on a superior short story by Lewis Padgett.

5:00 AM  The New Exhibit – Sweet natured wax museum caretaker Martin Balsam houses the "murderer's row" figures in his super-cooled basement when the museum is torn down – much to the prescient dismay of his wife and friends. A well written script and Balsam's innocently creepy performance make this an excellent finale to the marathon.