Thursday, December 31, 2015

Tandava's Guide to the Zone--2015-16--Part III: New Year's Eve 7pm to New Year's Day 7am

The Zone goes on! We continue with Part III of VII of this year's Guide to the Zone (see Part

As mentioned in Part I, and Part II, the SyFy channel is showing the whole series -- all 156 episodes of The Twilight Zone in order. This is twice as many as the usual 80-90 that they show, so I have had my work cut out for me!

Over the past 24 hours, we got through Season One's 36 episodes and twelve episodes of Season Two, which contained many more episodes that have not been aired in the Marathon than in Part I.

As always, at the top is a short list including the current Time Top 10, my personal favorites, other noteworthy episodes, and the episodes which have not been aired recently.

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.

(4) Episodes That Haven't Been Aired Recently – These may or may not be good, but they are worth watching just because they have been off the air for so long – in purple.

Let's stay Zoned for 2016!!

My Favorites  Short List
(Click the time to jump to the episode description.)

7:00 PM  Back There
7:30 PM – The Whole Truth
10:00 PM  The Invaders
10:30 PM  A Penny For Your Thoughts
11:30 PM  The Odyssey Of Flight 33
12:00 AM  Mr. Dingle, The Strong
12:30 AM – Static
1:30 AMLong Distance Call
2:00 AM –  A Hundred Yards Over The Rim
3:00 AM  The Silence
3:30 AM – Shadow Play
4:00 AM – The Mind and the Matter
5:00 AM – The Obsolete Man
5:30 AM – Two

Full List  With Descriptions

7:00 PM  – Back There –  S2.E13 | Poor  Russell Johnson (Gilligan's Island's Professor) can't seem to get enough of TZ-style time travel -- murder, mayhem, and unintended consequences. Just twelve hours before, we watched him lift convicted criminal Albert Salmi out of an Old West hanging, and now he transports himself back to the night of Lincoln's assassination -- and comes up against Doctor Who's Blinovich Limitation Effect: Some events just can't be changed, now an old saw of time trave fiction. Worth watching for Johnson's competent performance.

7:30 PM  – The Whole Truth –  S2.E14 | Enchanted Model A compels whomever owns it to tell the truth -- in this case, a used car salesman and a politician. This one hasn't been in the Marathon, and we haven't lost much from its absence: A hokey plot mixed with political ax-grinding makes this a must-miss.

8:00 PM – 10:00 PM:  WWF Smackdown

8:30 PM  The Invaders – S2.E15 | Agnes Moorehead's virtuoso 25-minute wordless monologue; riveting  with a slick twist at the end. #7 on the Time list.

10:30 PM   S2.E16 | A Penny For Your Thoughts – Not a classic, but one of my favorites, featuring a young Dick York (the first Darren from Bewitched.)

11:00 PM -- Twenty-Two -- S2.E17 | Recovering dancer is troubled by prescient dreams. "Room for one more, honey!" Shrill performances, flat writing. Mediocre tale best suited to Internet urban myth..

11:30 PM – The Odyssey Of Flight 33 – S2.E18 | A 707 picks up a freak tail wind and travels back in time. Run-of-the-mill by modern sci-fi standards, but notable for its realistic cockpit dialogue created by Serling's aviation writer brother, Robert Serling.

12:00 AM  Mr. Dingle, The Strong – S2.E19 | Loud-mouthed salesman pisses away alien gifts on trivial feats. Worth watching for an adorable Burgess Meredith and amusing (and very young) Don Rickles.  [Note: This is incorrectly listed on the SyFy Schedule as S2.E20]

12:30 AM  – Static – S2.E20 | A bitter aging bachelor retrieves his old wireless from the basement, which delivers the charmed and charming programming of his youth. Sweet story about nostalgia for old-time radio, true love, and second chances. [Note: This is incorrectly listed on the SyFy Schedule as S2.E21]

1:00 AM – The Prime Mover – S2.E21 | Compulsive gambler cajoles his telekinetically-enabled pal (an enjoyable Buddy Ebsen) into to helping him cheat Vegas. Doesn't work out too well, but could be worse. Moral: Be happy with what you have; know when to quit. [Note: This is incorrectly listed on the SyFy Schedule as S2.E22]

1:30 AM  Long Distance Call – S2.E22 | 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. [Note: This is incorrectly listed on the SyFy Schedule as S2.E19]

2:00 AM  A Hundred Yards Over The Rim – S2.E23 | Underrated episode featuring a very young Cliff Robertson as a pioneer dad who will go yards, miles, and years to heal his ailing son.

2:30 AM  The Rip Van Winkle Caper – S2.E24 | It's Treasure of the Sierra Madre with suspended animation and blah writing. Good performances and a fun twist at the end make it sort of worth watching.

3:00 AM –  The Silence – S2.E26 | Tense, beautifully acted study in interpersonal dynamics and irony. Based loosely on Chekhov's The Bet, there is no supernatural hocus-pocus in this one. And there is no need for any. (And no Doctor Who jokes please... ☺)

3:30 AM  Shadow Play  S2.E26 | A condemned man believes his trial and execution are all part of his recurring nightmare, and that once he is gone those around him will cease to exist as well. He offers some convincing evidence, but will they believe him? Well written and acted, this episode manages to be suspenseful in spite of its somewhat predictable plot. [Note: the SyFy schedule claims this will be the 80s version, but the original was aired.]

4:00 AM  The Mind and the Matter  S2.E27 | Misanthropic office worker Archibald Beechcroft (comedian Shelley Berman) reads a book on mind power and plays God. Another be-careful-what-you-wish-for morality play served up with some clever twists and fun performances. One of the few episodes done on video where the format doesn't diminish the story.

4:30 AM – Will The Real Martian Please Stand Up – S2.E28 | This was voted 8.5 on the IMDB, but I think it’s dopey and ridiculous. Bus passengers are stranded at a diner – but there is one too many. Oh, and rumor has it that a spacecraft crashed nearby. Give me a break.

5:00 AM – The Obsolete Man – S2.E29 | The superb Burgess Meredith is back to his book-loving ways, this time as a librarian in a dystopic totalitarian future, where both he and his books are declared obsolete.

5:30 AM  Two –  S3.E1 | Apocalypse survivors Charles Bronson and Elizabeth Montgomery approach each other warily in this sparsely written, beautifully acted episode.

6:00 AM – The Arrival –  S3.E2 | Mystery plane lands itself at airport. The flight inspector "with a perfect record of solving cases" brings in a team to investigate. Everyone sees different registration numbers, seat cushion colors, then all but the investigator disappear. Could it all just be the investigator's guilty conscience hallucinating? Ummm... maybe... Sigh.

6:30 AM – The Shelter – S3.E3 | "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.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Tandava's Guide to the Zone--2015-16--Part II: New Year's Eve 7am to 7pm

Aaaaand we're back in the Zone!! You are now entering Part II of VII of this year's Guide to the Zone.

As I mentioned in Part I, the SyFy channel is showing the whole series -- all 156 episodes of The Twilight Zone -- from start to finish, in order. You can check out their schedule here (I'm also using their notation of Season/Episode -- S#.E#), but note that they list the 80s version of Night of the Meek, which features Richard Mulligan in Art Carney's Santa role, but I would bet that this is a mistake and that they will show the original version.

Last night we got through most of Season One's 36 episodes, and continue on with the first portion of Season Two. This portion contains many notable episodes mixed in with a few lemons.

Some of these episodes have not been aired in the Marathon since I've started doing this blog five years ago. And one has not been aired since it was first broadcast in the 60s.

As always, at the top is a short list including the current Time Top 10, my personal favorites, other noteworthy episodes, and the episodes which have not been aired recently.

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.

(4) Episodes That Haven't Been Aired Recently – These may or may not be good, but they are worth watching just because they have been off the air for so long – in purple.

Enjoy – and happy 2016!!

My Favorites  Short List
(Click the time to jump to the episode description.)

7:00 AM  People Are Alike All Over
7:30 AM – Execution
8:00 AM – The Big Tall Wish
10:00 AM – The Chaser
10:30 AM – A Passage for Trumpet
11:00 AM   The After Hours
12:00 PM – The Mighty Casey
12:30 PMA World Of His Own
1:00 PM  King Nine Will Not Return
1:30 PM – The Man in the Bottle
2:00 PM Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room
2:30 PM  A Thing About Machines
3:30 PMEye Of The Beholder
4:00 PM  Nick Of Time
4:30 PM – The Lateness of the Hour
5:00 PM – The Trouble with Templeton
6:00 PM  Night Of The Meek
6:30 PM Dust

Full List  With Descriptions

7:00 AM –  People Are Alike All Over –  S1.E25 | Astronaut Roddy McDowall crashes on populous Mars, and consoles his fears with the thought that martians (who include the radiant Susan Oliver)  and humans must be "alike" ... A strong script with terrific performances by excellent actors.

7:30 AM  – Execution –  S1.E26 | A scientist inadvertantly pulls a Wild West criminal from the noose via his time machine. Confusion, brutality, and a typical TZ twist of fate ensues. Good performances by Russell Johnson (later the Professor of Gilligan's Island) and Albert Salmi can't save this weak and contrived script.

8:00 AM  – The Big Tall Wish –  S1.E27 | A child makes a "big tall wish" that the fighter he idolizes will win in spite of a broken hand. A somewhat cliched tale about the power of belief in magic and miracles that is well written and directed, and features excellent performances by Steven Perry (also known for A Raisin in the Sun) as the child and Hogan's Heroes' Ivan Dixon as the boxer. Also notable is this is one of the few 1960s television shows to feature African American actors in a story that did not involve racial issues.

8:30 AM – A Nice Place To Visit – S1.E28 | Another be-careful-what- you-wish-for morality tale about the true nature of Heaven and Hell. In 1960 it might not have been painfully predictable...

9:00 AM – Nightmare As A Child – S1.E29 | 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" (7:30 AM 1/3).

9:30 AM – A Stop At Willoughby – S1.E30 | Beleaguered exec finds himself in his childhood hometown. Similar to "Walking Distance" (9:00 PM 12/30) but trades insight for sentiment. Some people really like this one; I can do without it.

10:00 AM  – The Chaser –  S1.E31 | Another "be careful what you wish for" morality play, featuring the wonderful George Grizzard as an ardent beau to a cold beauty. Unfortunately, Grizzard's considerable talent can't save this turkey. Sigh. Catch him in the vastly superior "In His Image" (12:00 AM 1/2).

10:30 AM  – A Passage for Trumpet –  S1.E32 | A TZ-style take on It's a Wonderful Life where a down-on-his-luck trumpet player (the always magnificent Jack Klugman) develops a new appreciation for his life. Beautifully written, directed, and acted. And take note of the scene with the ticket girl scene, where Klugman can't see his reflection. How'd they do it? With identical twins! Yes, really!

11:00 AM – Mr. Bevis – S1.E33 | Loser gets all he desires (money, nice apartment, fancy car and chauffer), only to learn he can’t be his true whackadoo self and keep up appearances. Moral: Enjoying who you are is worth more than anything money can buy -- or money itself. A worthy message that deserved stronger delivery.

11:30 AM  The After Hours –  S1.E34 | Stunning Anne Francis finds herself wandering the non-existent floors of a creepy department store. (Wait... is that mannequin watching me??)

12:00 PM  – The Mighty Casey –  S1.E35 | Struggling baseball team gets robot pitcher. One of TZ's (thankfully) few attempts at comedy. A clunky but entertaining exploration of what it means to be human. More adeptly handled in "The Lonely" (10:00 PM 12/30).

12:30 OM  A World Of His Own – S1.E36 | Sweet story about the reality of reality features the only time Serling interacts with his characters.

1:00 PM  King Nine Will Not Return – S2.E1 | WWII B-25 Captain Robert Cummings finds himself stranded in the desert with only the carcass of his King Nine, lost 17 years before. Is it a hallucination? Time travel? Both? The de rigueur twist ending is now a TZ clichĂ©, but still worth watching for a strong script and Cummings' excellent performance.

1:30 PM  – The Man in the Bottle –  S2.E2 | Yet another be-careful-what-you-wish-for morality play, TZ's favorite trope. In this case a kindhearted couple make some well-meaning but poorly considered requests of a dapper genie, with a final twist that is equal parts amusing and ridiculous. Worth watching for Joseph Ruskin's menacingly munificent genie.

2:00 PM  – Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room –  S2.E3 | A well scripted and acted character play about courage and cowardice, about how and why we become who we are, and what happens when we are confronted with the suppressed parts of ourselves. A mono-dialogue tour-de-force by Joe Mantell.

2:30 PM  A Thing About Machines – S2.E4 | One of my all-time faves about a guy who beats up on his machines – which, in 1960, included his typewriter, electric razor, TV and car –  and they gang up to have their revenge. The dawn of Skynet... ? ("Now, why don’t you get out of here, Finchley!!")

3:00 PM – The Howling Man –  S2.E5 | 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.

3:30 PM – Eye Of The Beholder – S2.E6 | 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!

4:00 PM  S2.E7 | Nick Of Time – S2.E7 | A charming script and low-key performance by pre-Kirk William Shatner (yes, I used "low-key" and "Shatner" in the same sentence) grace this cautionary tale about superstition and self-determination.

4:30 PM  – The Lateness of the Hour –  S2.E8 | Will the real robot please stand up? Another exploration what it means to be human featuring the excellent Inger Stevens (The Hitch-Hiker) and John Hoyt. It is one of the few episodes done on video, which gives it a cheesy soap opera feel (thankfully TZ abandoned this format quickly), but the script isn't bad and the direction works well within the medium.

5:00 PM  – The Trouble with Templeton –  S2.E9 | Aging theater actor Booth Templeton, skillfully played by Brian Aherne, gets a tongue lashing from an uppity young director (a young Sidney Pollack, who would later direct classics like The Way We Were) driving him out of the theater – and into a 1927 speakeasy filled with his long lost friends and wife, for whose company he has yearned. But was it all as wonderful as he remembered? A touching, beautifully written treatise on why one shouldn't try to go home again.

5:30 PM – A Most Unusual Camera – S2.E10 | Lame-assed episode about three greedy morons undone by a magic camera. Hokey, ridiculous, predictable ending. Skip it.

6:00 PM  Night Of The Meek – S2.E11 | Down-and-out department store Santa, Art Carney, loses his job but finds a bag of gifts and plays Santa one last time for the neighborhood kiddies. But is it just an act? Beautiful, touching episode. (Note:  SyFy's schedule lists this as the remake with Richard Mulligan, but this is most likely an error. As good as that episode was, it doesn't top the original.)

6:30 PM  – Dust –  S2.E12 | The distraught father of a condemned man falls prey to a peddler's "magic dust." A nicely crafted tale on TZ's favorite theme of magic and the power of belief, with an intriguing comment on the energy required to activate compassion and conscience. Hannah Arendt would have approved.

Tandava's Guide to the Zone--2015-16--Part I: December 30th 7pm to New Year's Eve 7am

Welcome back to the Zone!!

This year, the SyFy channel has outdone itself!! While they usually air between 80 and 90 episodes of that land between shadow and substance, of things and ideas -- this year they are showing the whole series -- yes, all 156 episodes of The Twilight Zone from start to finish, in order!!!

Some of these episodes have not been aired in the Marathon since I've started doing this blog a few years ago. And one, in particular, has not been aired since it was first broadcast over fifty years ago!

Now, to accommodate this double-load of Zoney fun, the SyFy channel is starting a day earlier than usual (tonight, December 30 at 7pm, when it usually starts 7am on December 31) and ending over a day later than usual (January 3 at noon, when it usually ends January 2 at 6am), and while there is no "Paid Programming" this year, SyFy is treating us to two hours of WWE Smackdown on New Year's Eve from 8pm to 10pm.

Now, I usually do the Guide in three parts, but this year I am breaking the list down into seven parts, which will go from 7pm to 7am and vice versa, until we get to the hourlong episodes of Season Four, where I will extend to noon and go to midnight, and vice versa (don't worry, it'll make sense when we get there)

You can view the official SyFy schedule here, where unlike prior years they have included the season/episode designation ("S#.E#), but someone at SyFy had a few copy-paste issues and a few of the numbers are incorrect, And a few other episodes have blurbs that refer to the 80s Twilight Zone remakes -- but I am going to bet this is an error and that the original 60s versions will be aired.

I will point these out as we come to them, but for now let's just concentrate on the First Season, which contains some of the best!

Of course all ten of Time Magazine's Top Twilight Zone Episodes will be featured (as they are every year); they are in red -- and it's interesting to see how they come up through the seasons. While the First Season is quite strong, many of the gems appear in later seasons.

The lesser known favorites will be featured in green, and the ones that are not perfect, but have notable performances, are in blue. I'm also adding a category this year for episodes that have not been aired in the marathon these past few years (possibly not ever). They will be in purple.

Happy Zoning!!

My Favorites  Short List
(Click the time to jump to the episode description.)

7:00 PMWhere Is Everybody?
7:30 PM  One For The Angels
8:00 PM – Mr. Denton On Doomsday
8:30 PM  The Sixteen-millimeter Shrine
9:00 PM –  Walking Distance
9:30 PM – The Lonely
10:00 PMTime Enough At Last
11:30 PMJudgement Night
12:00 AM –  And When The Sky Was Opened
2:30 AM  The Hitch-hiker
3:30 AM – The Last Flight
4:00 AM – Elegy
1:30 AM -- Mirror Image
5:30 AM – The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street
6:00 AM – A World of Difference
6:30 AM  Long Live Walter Jameson

Full List  With Descriptions

7:00 PM  Where Is Everybody? – S1.E1 | 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.

7:30 PM –  One For The Angels – S1.E2 | One of TZ's more successful dark comedies features Ed Wynn as a fast-talking salesman who must use his skills to save a child's life. Features the third of three cameos of Forbidden Planet's Robby the Robot (miniature, in this case) in the TZ; others include "Uncle Simon" (9:30 PM 1/2) and "The Brain Center at Whipple's" (10:00 AM 1/3).

8:00 PM  Mr. Denton On Doomsday – S1.E3 | Touching old west tale about top-gunslinger-turned-town-drunk finding redemption. Fine performances by Dan DuryeaMartin Landau and Doug McClure.

8:30 PM  The Sixteen-millimeter Shrine – S1.E4 | Luminous Ida Lupino stars as a reclusive aging movie star, immersed in the films of her youth. Sunset Boulevard, served up Zone-style with a bittersweet dose of wish- fulfillment. Score is by Sunset Boulevard's composer/conductor Franz Waxman. Catch Lupino's deft direction in "The Masks" at 6:00 AM 1/3.

9:00 PM  Walking Distance – S1.E5 | I LOVE this episode, a classic (#2 on the Time list) about a frustrated exec who, longing for his boyhood days, visits his hometown – only to find himself a grown-up amidst his own childhood. Insightful lesson about valuing the present and not romanticizing the past.

9:30 PM  Escape Clause – S1.E6 | I'll usually watch this one because I like David Wayne, but it’s not a great episode, just a grim morality play about the value of mortality. *Yawn!*

10:00 PM  The Lonely – S1.E7 | Convict Jack Warden spends lonely days on an asteroid until his supply ship pal brings him a realistic robot – in the ethereally beautiful form of a young Jean Marsh (best known as Rose from Upstairs, Downstairs). A touching, romantic story. Features Ted Knight as an obnoxious crew member.

10:30 PM – Time Enough At Last –  S1.E8 | 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.

11:00 PM – Perchance To Dream – S1.E9 | Neat psychodrama with some freaky felinesque dream sequences. Not bad; not great.

11:30 PM  Judgement Night –  S1.E10 | 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.

12:00 AM  And When The Sky Was Opened – S1.E11 | Well played, creepy episode about astronauts returning to earth… or did they? Or were they ever here? Or were you?? TZ makes us question our grasp of reality.

12:30 AM – What You Need – S1.E12 | 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.

1:00 AM – The Four Of Us Are Dying – S1.E13 | Guy who can change his face learns he can’t change his scumbag nature.

1:30 AM – Third From The Sun –  S1.E14 | Trigger-happy world leaders have their finger on the button! Doomsday is near! Time for a select few to secretly gather their families to escape to a nearby planet. Hm... now what planet would that be..?

2:00 AM  S1.E15 | I Shot An Arrow Into The Air –  Three astronauts survive a crash on an asteroid (where the atmosphere and gravity are the same as on Earth, but no one notices this). Limited provisions stir bloodthirsty behavior. One of TZ's oft-repeated morality plays; People in crisis are just no darned good.

2:30 AM   The Hitch-hiker – S1.E16 | A driver keeps seeing the same hitch-hiker thumbing a ride as she heads west…. A deliciously Hitchcockian morality/mortality play about fear and acceptance of the inevitable. #5 on the Time list.

3:00 AM – The Fever – S1.E17 | Well-acted but ultimately hokey morality play about gambling addiction.

3:30 AM – The Last Flight –  S1.E18 | During a hopeless dogfight, a World War I pilot abandons his best friend by flying into a cloud–and 42 years into the future, landing at a modern airfield. A touching, beautifully acted tale of cowardice, duty, and heroism at the last minute. A rarely-aired gem. And check out the vintage 1918 biplane!

4:00 AM – The Purple Testament –  S1.E19 | Mediocre tale of a WWII soldier who sees a portentous "light" on his comrades' faces. Basically an anti-war story which offers only the resigned observation that in war people die and you can't save them (or yourself); title is from Richard III: "He has come to open the purple testament of bleeding war." Notable only for a good performance by a pre-Bewitched Dick York.

4:30 AM – Elegy –  S1.E20 | So-so tale about three astronauts who land on an asteroid which, like an awful lot of TZ asteroids, has an Earth-like atmosphere and gravity (though at least the astronauts recognize this as strange). Even stranger is the idyllic town they find -- populated by motionless folk in unusually cheerful situations -- winning a beauty contest, an election, a game of poker. So what's going on? Ask the town's caretaker, Wickwire, the one animated (and enjoyable) character who delivers a sort-of surprise ending. This one has never been shown in the Marathon, though I recall seeing it in the 80s reruns. Worth watching just to say you saw it.

5:00 AM  –  Mirror Image –  S1.E21 | Frightened bus traveller Vera Miles (best known as Janet Leigh's distraught Psycho sister) is sure an evil doppelgänger is trying to replace her. Top-notch acting and direction. This one hasn't been in the Marathon since 2011!

5:30 AM – The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street – S1.E22 | #4 on the Time list. The story is included in grade-school anthologies. Beautifully written masterpiece about fearing thy neighbor. The brilliant Claude Akins is considered the lead, though it is a true ensemble piece. Don’t miss it.

6:00 AM – A World of Difference –  S1.E23 | A content businessman hears a director call "Cut!" and looks up to discover that his office is really a soundstage (a nice effect achieved by silently sliding the walls away as the camera pans around, similar to the "revelation" scene in the original Manchurian Candidate), and that he is really a beleaguered, alcoholic actor with a shrewish ex-wife. An interesting idea about the nature of identity, reality, and the manner in which one may "exit" one's life, sadly burdened by a medium script and one-note performances.

6:30 AM – Long Live Walter Jameson – S1.E24 | TZ's most successful rendering of the "morality of mortality" theme features fine performances, a strong script and a touch of righteous revenge.