This is the most exciting TV development news we’ve heard in awhile.
CBS TV Studios in the very early stages of a new version of the classic series The Twilight Zone.
Bryan Singer (X-Men) is attached as executive producer. There is no writer and or network attached at this time. So this project could fade away. But the development wheels are turning.
Creator-host Rod Serling’s original 1959-64 edition of The Twilight Zone is considered one of the best shows of all time. Attempts to revive the series have largely struggled – there was a 1985 edition that ran for three seasons (two on CBS, one in syndication), and another in 2002 on UPN that lasted only one season. There’s been a second Twilight Zone movie mired in development for several years, too, with Leonardo DiCaprio attached as executive producer. The film is reportedly about a test pilot who returns to Earth after an experimental flight to discover it’s 96 years in the future.
Yet a potential revival of this ground-breaking anthology show for television now makes sense. Sci-fi and horror series are delivering big ratings (AMC’s The Walking Dead, NBC’s Revolution) and there’s several other genre projects coming to the small screen (NBC’s Hannibal and Dracula; CBS’ Under the Dome). Networks have become less squeamish about edgy content, too, which has helped producers more realistically depict dark subject matter. Plus, FX already took a step toward successfully reviving the anthology format by launching American Horror Story, a drama with close-ended seasons.
What’s tough to replicate is Serling’s genius and the freshness of the concept. Twilight Zone episodes were famous for their twist endings. But the show was so skilled at mining the tropes of the genre, any writer tackling horror/sci-fi and attempting a twist can find a famous TZ episode that did it first (The Twilight Zone is to genre programming what The Simpsons is to animated family stories – “Twilight Zone did it!”).
In a way, the best and most popular revival of the spirit of the original Twilight Zone wasn’t an anthology show at all, but ABC’s Lost, whose writers cited the classic series as a strong influence.
Here’s two versions of the original Twilight Zone opening credits. This first is probably the best known:
Here’s another take. This lacks the famous theme music, but is more elegant and creepy.