Zach’s Zany TV Binge Watchin’ Reviews: THE TWILIGHT ZONE SEASON 2 (CBS ALL ACCESS)

This is a review as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the written middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of my opinions and the summit of my zaniness. This is a review of imagination. It is a review of…the Twilight Zone. Season 2 to be exact. And instead of one episode being released a week over the course of two months, like last season, all 10 episodes of this new go around were dropped on June 25th…and I have a feeling we can thank the Twilight Zone we are living in currently, that of the nightmare of COVID-19. Anyway, instead of doing a two episode, five part review like I did last year, I’m just dropping what I think of all ten episodes after I binged them this weekend. My reviews will start with the title of each episode, then an description, then a couple of sentences of what I thought, and then a letter grade. And at the end of the review, I will write a final paragraph of my overall thoughts and then an overall letter grade (also my overall grade of last season). So let’s begin:


Per IMDB, “A lonely bachelor makes a telepathic connection with a stranger, but not everything is as it seems in his new romance.”

Jimmi Simpson (the younger Ed Harris on Westworld) and a largely absent, physically wise (mostly voice over) Gillian Jacobs (Britta on Community) star in this overlong, but ultimately satisfying tale of two strangers that get to know each other by conversing with their minds. In part because of my ultimate disappointment of Season 1, there was several ways that I thought it would conclude, and if it had been one of those ways, I would’ve known that we were going to be on another very bumpy ride and ultimately ho-hum ride like we got in 2019. It even started out by one of those ways, but a very last minute twist, the ones that the old Twilight Zones with Rod Sterling were known for, puts everything into a different perspective, and the episode really sticks the landing. Jimmi Simpson, who is incredible in most of the supporting roles he does in other programs, is no different here, acting with his face and body movement, adding significant layers to his character where if it had been only dialogue, it would’ve completely failed his character. Gillian Jacobs at first sounds too much like Britta from Community, but that is just my minor stupid complaint, as I eventually got used to her voice and enjoyed her overall performance. The episode is well shot and looked stunning. But that wasn’t a surprise, considering one of the only saving grace’s from last season was all the episodes’ cinematography. To change it now would’ve been an unforgiving crime.

Grade: B+

S2, Episode 2: DOWNTIME

Per IMDB, “After a woman is promoted to hotel manager, the nature of her reality is called into question.”

The most important thing to note about this episode is it is the one that Jordan Peele actually had a giant hand in this season. He wrote it and he wrote it alone. The mastermind behind Get Out and Us wrote an episode of The Twilight Zone, and needless to say that when I heard he was writing just one episode this season, I knew that it would be my most anticipated new episode to watch. He didn’t write any of the episodes last season. My verdict? The best episode of the bunch, which makes me wish that Jordan Peele had more up his sleeve with this series than just being “The Narrator” and a co-creator/executive producer. Don’t get me wrong, he is absolutely fantastic as the narrator and sometimes gives Rod Serling a run for his money, but his writing skills are more what I look forward to these days. Now to reiterate, he only wrote this, did not direct, but he must’ve knew his script had been in good hands, as the imagery is perfect for the budget the show has, and it flowed well with Peele’s written word. Firefly & Deadpool’s Morena Beccarin stars in this, and she’s absolutely fantastic, one of her best roles. I am not going to reveal anything about the episode as I believe it is the shortest of the bunch (just a hair over 30 minutes) and that the surprises are too good to give out any sort of appetizer. Just bon a petite on this one.

Grade: A+

S2, Episode 3: THE WHO OF YOU

per IMDB, “A struggling actor risks everything to catch his big break, but an impulsive scheme takes a few unexpected turns.”

Actor Ethan Embry (Can’t Hardly Wait) made this episode what it is. Just to get the concept out of the way, because it is revealed early what exactly is going on, it is a twisted take on a Freaky Friday like situation. This episode has multiple instances of an individual switching between bodies, which allowed Ethan Embry to have to play multiple different characters, and he is absolutely perfect with each and everyone. So do some of the other actors. I don’t want to reveal the scheme or plot of this twisted Freaky Friday adventure, but needless to say, it is a episode that earned it’s tad above 40 minute run time. The ending is a tad predictable with you having to suspend belief on a small little twist revealed in the very last minutes of the whole thing, but the episode was entertaining, looked great, and was better than most of the episodes in season one, so my minor complaints are ultimately unwarranted.

Grade: A-

S2, Episode 4: OVATION

per IMDB, “A struggling singer’s music career takes off when she witnesses a tragic incident, but she soon realizes that her recognition comes at a steep cost.”

And we have our first meh episode of the season. Meh because it didn’t really bring anything interesting to the table when talking about fame and how it can be overwhelming, corrupt, and meaningless. The concept is that this street singer finds a magic coin that gets her fame and fortune. But she soon realizes that the fame coming from it is too manufactured, as common folk aren’t really listening to her music, just keep clapping and giving her standing ovations for no reason. It is an interesting concept and yet not fully realized or executed correctly. Jurnee Smollet-Bell (Black Canary in Birds of Prey) is a fantastic actress, and she is really the only thing that keeps this episode from being total garbage. A last minute Twilight Zone twist also degrades the episode, as it makes no sense to a supporting character’s motivations. At all. The episode is gorgeously shot though.

Grade: C


per IMDB, “A transfer student’s unusual interests make her an easy target at her new all-girls boarding school before she discovers her popular classmate’s special talent.”

But if you watch the series in episode order like I did, it does do a slight uptick with Episode 5 before we again get a couple of stinkers. And the funny thing about this episode is that it stars only unknown actresses, not a single recognizable face in the bunch. This episode is Carrie like, as it is revealed early on that the special talent might or might not involve mind reading, telekinetic like powers, etc.. It’s a nice little story that comes with a last minute twist that I should’ve seen coming but glad I didn’t. The young women in this could actually act and their characters were more than just one dimensional robots. It was kind of refreshing. The episode, of course, was also gorgeously shot. I only give it a little less than an A- because they could’ve done so much more with the concept. But if they did, would it have been bloated and convoluted? Who’s to say?

Grade: B+

S2, Episode 6: “8”

per IMDB, “A team of scientists discover a new highly intelligent species that may endanger more than their research.”

Alien/Life/Deep Blue Sea rip off but instead of an alien or shark it is a small octopus. I liked the visuals but the end twist is telegraphed from far away and nothing was unique about it at all. Also, Joel McHale is completely wasted in his talent here. Nothing much more to say about this disappointing episode. It’s just there.

Grade: C

S2, Episode 7: A HUMAN FACE

per IMDB, “A grieving couple are led to second guess what’s worth leaving behind when an otherworldly encounter interrupts their move.”

What is a great concept here of parents dealing with their grief of a child recently deceased is bogged down in lengthy scenes of snooze worthy dialogue and the fact that I was never going to buy the “otherworldly encounters” persuasion. You’ll get what I mean when it all presents itself. There’s no way. It would’ve been a three minute episode if I was the father. Great acting by Christopher Meloni and Jenna Elfman but this short “bottle” episode (takes place almost entirely in this couples house) was too long even at an even 30 minutes. And the boring dialogue, where an alien is literally just standing there and talking for almost 10 minutes just keeps going on and on and on and on and on. Great visuals, shoddy execution. The script needed more. But definitely not my least favorite episode…

Grade: C-

S2, Episode 8: A SMALL TOWN

per IMDB, “A church handyman discovers a magic scale that gives him the power to help his small town, but the mayor takes all the credit for his good intentions.”

Tricked you there didn’t I? You thought I was going to say that my least favorite episode was this one, but I fooled you, this is actually probably my second favorite. I don’t want to talk about it much because to do so would ruin the surprise that the church handyman comes upon. It has fantastic visuals and a wonderful ending that I didn’t see coming. The church handyman is played excellently by Damon Wayans, Jr., stretching out of his comedy chops for a change. This is also a shorter episode, coming it at just over 30 minutes, and it doesn’t waste a minute of it. Engaging, good story telling, and acting, make this one of the few episodes of both seasons that I wouldn’t mind checking out a couple of more times.

Grade: A

S2, Episode 9: TRY, TRY

per IMDB, “A man dazzles a woman with his seemingly miraculous abilities, but their encounter takes a dark turn when the true source of his charisma is revealed.”

Nope, still not my least favorite episode. In fact, I would say that this may be my third favorite and a “bottle” episode done correctly. I’ll just get the mans miraculous abilities out of the way, Topher Grace is a man that is going through a Groundhog Day like experience. And he’s trying to wooo this woman on a spontaneous date to the museum. I love Groundhog’s Day concepts when done correctly, and this one does. It takes place mostly inside the museum, hence why I called it a bottle episode, and the dialogue is witty, smart, and makes you think. This twist on that “living the same day over and over concept” is the first one to make me think hard what I would do in that situation since the Bill Murray early 90s classic. Also, this contains Topher Grace’s best performance. Ever.

Grade: A-


per IMDB, “A stay-at-home housewife is looking forward to acquiring a heavily marketed device that promises to make everything better forever, but the product has an unsavory truth.”

I thought they were supposed to save the best for last, not the worst. This episode is God fucking awful, and it might be the worst episode of The Twilight Zone from these two new seasons we’ve gotten. This or that ‘Not All Men’ Me Too piece of shit catastrophe we had to witness more than a year ago. And this one was written and directed by Osgood Perkins, son of Anthony Perkins (Norman Bates in Psycho). He wrote and directed The Blackcoat’s Daughter, which I heard was good but had never seen, and he directed Gretel & Hansel, of which I heard the visuals were great but the movie was boring and the script sucked. This is how I would describe the latter. And what is ultimately disappointing? This is a sequel to a very old Twilight Episode. I’ll let you do the research to find out which one, but it is a classic. This is not. The heavily marketed device is called and EGG and you can guess what it is right off the bat. The script kind of makes fun of commercialism, but its message is blurry and skewed and doesn’t come off across well at all. It is an episode weird for the sake of being weird, and I can’t stand that shit. Awful, awful, awful episode. The only thing stopping this from getting an F is the visuals, which are great. Mr. Perkins, don’t write anything ever again, get a good script from a good writer and you could do wonders. Gretchen Mol stars in this, and she’s a good actress and isn’t the problem here. Entirely the scripts fault.

Grade: D-

In conclusion, this season is a vast improvement over last season. I enjoyed 6 episodes out of 10 here, where in the first season I enjoyed maybe only 3 or 4 of ten. The show still needs some improvement (there should really only be one, maybe too iffy episodes, but what I liked about this season is that they mostly got rid of the political and Me Too themes and instead went with an overall human morality/consequences vibe. Stick to that kind of story telling please. We don’t need Trump bashing or man bashing episodes every other twisted tale. I really hope it is renewed for a season three. Maybe third times the grand charm with this. I did some research on the writers and some of them from the first season were recycled here. Might I suggest getting a whole new team and let them try their hand at conjuring up something demented and delicious? Maybe have Jordan Peele write two or three episodes? Maybe get actual masters of horror like Ari Aster or Alexandre Aja to try and give us nightmares for nights to come? Just don’t ever get rid of Jordan Peele’s involvement. He is the best narrator for the show since original creator Rod Serling. Just get him more involved. Also, make stories not just place their bets on a twist alone, the whole thing should be prepared well so that the twist is earned and doesn’t just feel out of left field. Until next time, I have to say, much more satisfied with my trip to The Twilight Zone. Since we are living one with COVID-19 right now. But maybe it’s only chance at a season 3 is that people discover this because they are so bored and new content is drying up. We’ll see if it can capture more imaginations.


The Overall Grade I Gave Season 1: C-


Zach’s Zany TV Binge Reviews: THE TWILIGHT ZONE (2019) Part 5 of 5 – The Blue Scorpion and Blurryman

Two weeks ago I started Part 4 of 5 with a **sigh** but thankfully I’m starting this one with a **whew**. Two weeks ago brought us two of the worst Twilight Zone episodes of not only this revival run, but of all time. They were ham-fisted with over the top social commentary which dragged the episodes into the gutter. I was crossing my fingers that these last two episodes were saved for last because everyone there knew that they were something special and wouldn’t disappoint. And thankfully, they were right. They are the two best episodes right under Replay, my favorite episode this season. Especially the very last episode, which I really can’t tell you anything about, as the trailer for it doesn’t ruin a damn thing. And neither will I. So until next year, let us enter one last time into my review of the reboot of…The Twilight Zone.

The Blue Scorpion

Thankfully, The Blue Scorpion really doesn’t have any kind of social commentary to it. And the episode is very straight forward with an ending I didn’t really expect. All of this worked in its favor. The tale is simple: a man named Jeff (played by the great Chris O’Dowd) inherits a rare and mysterious gun from his father, who had just killed himself with it. A special bullet comes with the gun, and on the bullet a name is inscribed, his own, Jeff. The gun also comes with a set of rules with how to handle it, weird rules, one of which being, don’t ever keep it in darkness as the gun is scared of the dark. Also in the middle of a nasty divorce, Jeff now has to navigate through this hard time in his life with a gun that seems to be speaking to him with Jeff becoming obsessed with it every moment it is in his possession.

Like I said, the story is pretty straightforward, and the episode is brought to life by Chris O’Dowd’s performance, which other than Sanaa Lathan, is probably the best performance in this new run of 10 Zone episodes. He has to display grief, obsession, compassion, fear, any emotion you can think of he goes through it here, and pulls it off in spades. I was also surprised by the end of the episode. I thought for sure I knew what direction it was going to go in, but the episode slapped my face in the end, and went in a completely different, more thought provoking direction. I kind of loved that my expectations were subverted in this instance.

The rest of the episode is pretty great too. I’ve said it a dozen times times, but the one constant great thing in these episode is the cinematography. Every shot is wonderful to look at. This episode felt like it could’ve made a run with the classic Twilight Zone episodes of long ago. It felt like all the pieces of the puzzle were put together with no strain on trying to make pieces fit that wouldn’t. It is definitely an episode I would like to revisit down the line.


I really can’t talk about this episode all that much. I can only describe it by the log line on “A writer is haunted by a mysterious figure.” I can tell you that Seth Rogen and the great Zazie Beetz are in this episode, and I can also tell you that while I was worried about Seth Rogen’s acting at first, the episode pulls the rug out from under you very early in where you don’t have to worry about it anymore. Have I said too much? I don’t think so. The real star of the episode is Zazie Beetz, who other than being in Atlanta and playing Domino in Deadpool 2, is fantastic and needs to be in more things in general.

My third paragraph I’m going to describe how they can make season 2 of The Twilight Zone better, as I don’t know what to say anymore about this episode. I guess I can say the writer of this wrote the so-so episode The Comedian and this is definitely an improvement. This episode was also directed by Simon Kinberg, who next week makes his theatrical directorial debut with Dark Phoenix. He did a pretty good job and everything about the episode looked and felt cool. But yeah, I could tell you to expect the unexpected in this episode but my jaw was almost on the floor and my interest piqued less than 5 minutes into it. The last thing I will say is that if you think you’ve gone meta before in different television shows, this episode brings a whole new meaning to that word. But yeah, I ranked it high on the list of new episodes because Blurryman did something different, which I appreciated. The only thing that took away from it was the horror element that didn’t really work in the middle of the episode.

Anyway, we already know that Twilight Zone has been renewed for a second season. But where do we go from here? Another clue I can give you is the last episode might put a wrench into things…maybe. Whether it is a good wrench or bad wrench remains to be seen. Will they take it in a new direction after certain revelations are brought to light. I do hope that Jordan Peele comes back, and that maybe he even has time to write and direct his own episode. We’ll see…will he come back? That’s a question I hope is answered soon. My advice for season 2? Get better writers. The directors and actors are notch but a lot of the stories and scripts could use some work. Out of ten episodes, only 3 are great, 3 are good, 1 is so-so, and 3 are absolutely terrible. It needs a better batting record, and maybe have no terrible episodes next season. Bringing back a beloved series is always going to have a bumpy start, but with careful consideration and care, it could rise up back to greatness. In The Twilight Zone, anything is possible.

Ranking of Episodes

  1. Replay
  2. The Blue Scorpion
  3. Blurryman
  4. Six Degrees of Freedom
  5. A Visitor
  6. Nightmare at 30,000 Feet
  7. The Comedian
  8. Point of Origin
  9. Not All Men
  10. The Wunderkind

Zach’s Zany TV Binge Reviews: THE TWILIGHT ZONE (2019) Part 4 of 5: NOT ALL MEN and POINT OF ORIGIN

**sigh** And the new series started off so well. At the worst I thought I was going to be reviewing one really good/great episode and one really mediocre/terrible one these last two reviews, but alas, I got two not so great ones for you. The only thing that separates them from being worse than the terrible episode The Wunderkind is the acting. Minus Six Degrees of Freedom, these last several episodes fail because of them not just for the eye rolling, hitting the present day social commentary nail on the head, but that it keeps hitting you on the head long after the nail is already in there. I really hope that the show runners know what they are doing and saving their best two for last (although I this point I highly question it). At least Jordan Peele’s intros are still fascinating to watch. I wish he was writing and directing episodes.


Like I mentioned in the above paragraph, the only thing that separates this one from being worse than The Wunderkind is the acting. Taissa Farmiga, Rhea Seehorn, and Ike Barinholtz bring out incredible performances, but the social commentary in this is so in your face, it makes the twist at the end even dumber, and I’m kind of surprised I haven’t heard anything about men being offended by this episode (Don’t worry, I’m not). The plot is basically after a meteor shower, the men in a town grow absolutely nuts and with psycho and animal like behavior. Taissa Farmiga and her sister Rhea Seehorn, try to navigate the strange and destructive behavior while trying to escape the town.

Clearly an episode inspired by #MeToo, it doesn’t work because it tries to hard to say, “do…do you get it?” Yes we do, after the first 5 minutes we get it, but instead of pushing forward the plot and doing something different, characters just keep explaining the same insane behavior just with different vocabulary. And then the twist at the end basically just gives the entire episode a WTF moment and you feel as though you wasted your time. Don’t worry, I’m not going to give away the twist on here, but I’ve given you context clues to figure out what is probably is. I can also say that at least the episode looked good as well and had the same gorgeous cinematography as the other ones.

I do appreciate an episode that actually made me fear Ike Barinholtz. Usually a funny man and one of the best performers on the old MadTV (haha, kind of get why he was cast now), he is absolutely ruthless in this. I’d like to see him play more psycho characters in the future. Rhea Seehorn has always been a good actress, like on Better Call Saul, and here she’s just as convincing as someone scared out of her fucking mind. The best acting goes to Taissa Farmiga though, who I thought was terrible in The Nun as I thought she was only good for wide eyed facial expressions and that is it. Here, she is completely convincing as the woman trying to escape the harsh environment of men just suddenly going mad. Great concept, terrible and horrible execution.


And with this episode, we get the nail on the head a billion more times with social commentary, this time on immigration. Okay Twilight Zone, go home, you’re drunk, we get it. You need to now take your social commentary episodes and scale them back a little bit. You need build everything up, maybe even mix several social commentaries in (but not so in your face) at the same time to have a meatier episode. Yes, immigration is a hot button issue, but you can only state the same issue so many times using different words, and in this case, dimensions (you’ll see what I mean).

I did catch that the mask that Ginnfer Goodwin wears in this is an exact copy of those of the ‘normal’ faced people in the classic episode “Eye of the Beholder.” That was a nice little homage to the old. And her and James Frain’s acting was really good. And yet again, the episodes visuals and everything technical looks good. It’s just the story isn’t there. Well it’s there, but it doesn’t go further to get where it needs to go. It just stays in one place and doesn’t take it to more interesting and thought provoking levels. The whole plot is that after a rich white woman’s Mexican housekeeper is detained by the U.S. Government for not being a legal citizen, that rich white woman is also taken, but for different reasons that I will not spoil.

But again, you can guess where it is all going based on the fact that I said the only commentary on this is immigration. Where is home, truly? Why can’t we escape a wretched place to live a better life and people just accept it and try and help? Aren’t we all technically immigrants? Why is the US being a fucking bully? All those questions are asked a billion different ways, but none of them are really answered. Just another one of those “be careful, because it can happen to you” episodes. Those episodes are long and gone, we are currently in 2019. You can’t just recycle old stories and do them the same, you gotta have a better hook, instead it is the same rusty one Hollywood has used to fish a billion times over. I won’t finish this sentence again but, you know, great concept…Replay

Ranking of Episodes

  1. Replay
  2. Six Degrees of Freedom
  3. A Visitor
  4. Nightmare at 30,000 Feet
  5. The Comedian
  6. Point of Origin
  7. Not All Men
  8. The Wunderkind

Zach’s Zany TV Binge Reviews: THE TWILIGHT ZONE (2019) Part 3 of 5 – The Wunderkind and Six Degrees Of Freedom

In part 3 of 5 of my two episode at a time reviews (10 episodes this season), and unlike my glowing reviews of episodes 4 and 5, this time be going to opposite ends of the spectrum, with one episode being the worst one so far, and the new one one of its best, if not the best. Let’s get the bad news out of the way first:


Great premise, sloppy execution. Wasted potential. How on Earth did this one not work? How did the script even get green lit before going through several drafts and major re writes. The ending should’ve been a knockout punch to the head, not several slow and dull shots to the stomach. Seriously, how do you ruin the premise of: what if a 11-year-old became President? Well, this episode manages to do that. I was so frustrated and bored by the episode that I had to go look who wrote it. And then I was not surprised with what I found: Andrew Guest, who wrote for 30 Rock, for which I hated.

The episode stars John Cho as a once hugely successful campaign manager that tries to come back into the spotlight by trying to get an 11-year-old (the great Jacom Tremblay) elected President after a video he makes fake campaigning goes viral. It sounds good right? It’s not. First of all, it focuses too much on the campaigning and not enough on what happens once Tremblay (it’s really not a spoiler to say he actually becomes President) gets elected. The campaigning stuff is bland and boring and wastes the talents of John Cho, who of course is good here. In fact, none of the acting is a problem as everyone gives it a good go in that department. Also, the way the episode was shot and directed was great too. It lines up with the atmosphere of the previous episodes and is gorgeous to look at, even though the events taking place are hard to pay attention to.

The is completely the screenwriters fault (and maybe the producers for not pushing the screenplay back to Mr. Guest and asking him to give it a rewrite or two). With politics being a hot button topic nowadays, this episode should’ve had much more to say about our current climate. In fact, this episode really doesn’t have anything to say other than, “this kid’s presidency reflects Trump’s, do….do you get it?” No matter what side of the political fence you are on, the episode doesn’t take it to the level it needs to send any other kind of better, more subtle message. The ending is predictable and really corny, uninspired, and stupid. I can think of a dozen other ways this story could’ve branched out, all better IMO of the one that we got. It feels like this episode was trying to kind of pay homage to the classic episode, “It’s A Good Life,” but it really is in no way in the same ballpark of the genius of that premise. It is really disappointing that over all the Twilight Zone episodes I’ve seen, past and present, this is one of the worst.

Rating: 1/5

Six Degrees of Freedom

Being able to watch more of the classic Twilight Zone episodes between these newer ones, I have finally discovered the trend: that each new episode is basically Force Awakening classic episodes. Meaning they are all soft reboots. Soft re-imaginings. Why I didn’t figure all this out by episode 2, I have no idea. The Comedian is a play on the episodes The Dummy and one from the 80s reboot Take My Life Please; Nightmare on 30,000 Feet is a play on Nightmare on 20,000 Feet; Replay is a play on Nick of Time; A Traveler is a play on the combination of the classics The Monster Are Due On Maple Street and Will The Real Martian Please Stand Up? So what episode does Six Degrees of Freedom try to re-imagine? Easy, that would be Five Characters in Search of An Exit. And a dash of the very first Twilight Zone episode, Where Is Everybody? The first episode I mention is about 5 random characters stuck in a metal cylinder, not knowing why they are there, trying to get out. They eventually have to work together to escape, only to come upon a very dark and depressing twist of fate. I will not reveal at all what Where Is Everybody? is about in lieu of spoilers.

This episode is quite a bit different but with the that moral compass of people helping each other out to reach a common goal. Five Astronauts are about to launch the first manned mission to Mars when they hear from their superiors over the radio that North Korea just launched nuclear missiles at the United States (the U.S. is retaliating of course) and that one of those nuclear missiles is set to get there in about 20 minutes. The captain (played by DeWanda Wise, who was one of the co-leads in the very underwhelming just released Netflix film Someone Great), makes the decision to override the control center and launch to Mars anyway, prolonging their deaths in a hope that their could be a solution when they get there. Tensions are weary and one of them starts asking questions. Whether they are right or wrong…can only be answered in….The Twilight Zone.

Sorry, wanted to do a dumb cheap narration of my own there. This is definitely one of the better episodes of the six aired so far, if not THE best, then right under Replay. I had a guess of where this whole thing was going to go, and my guess was addressed quite earlier than expected, which made me question it, and ultimately its twist ending. This episode also offers one of the few rays of hope than the other Twilight Zone episodes have. While I initially thought that Replay offered a few rays of hope the more I replay the very very end of that one in my mind, the more I realized that it might’ve supposed to been a downer as well. Anyhoo, this is definitely our most science-y science fiction tale of the bunch. The isolation of Alien mixed with the conspiratorial dread of The Thing and the short story it is based on, Who Goes There? The visuals are fantastic, the acting is fantastic, everything about it works. I’m not sure any of these episodes will be considered classic in the far far off future, but this and Replay have been the closest to tone of the original series thus far.

Rating: 4.5/5

Ranking of New Episodes

  1. Replay
  2. Six Degrees of Freedom
  3. A Visitor
  4. Nightmare at 30,000 Feet
  5. The Comedian
  6. The Wunderkind

Zach’s Zany TV Binge Reviews: THE TWILIGHT ZONE (2019) Part 2 of 5: REPLAY and A TRAVELER

So a couple of weeks ago I said I was going to write reviews on two of the new Twilight Zone episodes at a time, seeing as I am a big fan. Well, the 4th episode dropped today and I watched it during lunch so here is part 2 of 5 (there are ten episodes). Another quick note on Jordan Peele’s intro/narrations. He is still fantastic and his intros are a nice warm welcome to the tales that are about to be thrown at us. While no one will ever reach the heights of Rod Serling, if they ever do a reboot again in another 20 to 30 years, no one will ever beat him…or Jordan Peele. Anyway, you are about to enter, The Zach Zany Zone….


I’ll give you a spoiler on the next episode with my review on this: the Twilight Zone is starting to get really, really good, as these two are easily the best episodes of the season thus far, this one just edging out A Traveler. REPLAY is about a woman taking her son to college that run into this asshole racist cop alone the way. There is a scuffle and the mother accidentally hits the rewind button on her old ass camcorder she happened to bring along to film her son going to college. When she hits the rewind button, she ends up going back in time at the diner that her and her son were eating at at the beginning of the episode, along with the asshole racist cop (this one contains Jordan Peele’s best intro narration, chilling, my only complaint of this episode is that its just his narration at the end and not his physical self, but that could be due to film scheduling conflicts).

The thing is though every different decision she makes after the first rewind, her and her son still find themselves running into the asshole racist cop, and she desperately tries to find a way to avoid him and get her son to college in one piece. This episode is excellent, and out of all the Twilight Zone episodes I’ve seen, this one is a pitch perfect emotional roller coaster ride. As you know Twilight Zone episodes mostly have twists at the end, and I was trying to guess this one, but instead I should’ve just stopped thinking and enjoyed the journey. I won’t say whether this episode has a twist or not, and there were several that I was thinking of that didn’t happen, but I’m very happy with the ending and route they took, it’s an almost perfect story. Sanaa Lathan stars as the mother, and she’s been in a bunch of things I have seen, Love & Basketball, Alien Vs. Predator, etc. This is easily her best performance. And as with all the other episodes, I’m loving the cinematography in these. Even if the episodes start to get worse after these two, at least it is still gorgeous to look at.

Rating: 5/5


This segment owes a debt of gratitude for the old classic The Monsters on Maple Street from the original series, but it is more of an homage with a twist. Starring Greg Kinnear and a wonderful performance by The Walking Dead’s Stephen Yeung, A TRAVELER is about a small town police station celebrating Christmas Eve. The Sheriff, played by Kinnear has a annual Christmas party where he pardons one (non huge offensive) inmate as a sign of good will. There is only one inmate this year, a deputy’s (played by Marika Sila) drunkard brother. When The Sheriff tells the deputy to fetch her brother and have him join them for the party, her brother is asleep, and sitting in the next cell, who wasn’t there before, is a man in a suit, first name A, last name Traveler (played by Yeun). He knows things, and what he knows, may get you in the end. That’s all I’ll say. If you have ever seen The Monsters on Maple Street, that may clue you into what is going on.

I figured out what was going on right away since I’ve seen that episode and guessed the ending. It really isn’t that hard and everything is set up at the beginning in a nice bow for predictable pay offs in the end. So normally I’d consider the episode ho-hum, but the atmosphere is just right, the acting is incredible, and everything is so so so gorgeous to look at. What is in a myth? What is in a lie? What is in the truth? When going back and thinking about the episode after it aired I realized there was much more to what I saw. Given the ending, there is a lot of interpretation in what anyone says, even those that have been close to you for a long time. And what is the meaning of acceptance. In the future, this episode might be more respected if viewers would open Pandora’s Box for themes and motifs. I have a feeling that a lot of people won’t like it. I did though, not just for the homages to the classic original series episode, but for new questions it brought to the table.

Rating: 4/5

Zach’s Zany TV BINGE Reviews: The Twilight Zone (2019) The Comedian & Nightmare at 30,000 Feet

Since I am seeing less movies and want to keep writing up reviews, I think I am going to start writing up two episodes at a time for the new reiteration of THE TWILIGHT ZONE. Why? Because I remember watching episodes sometimes when they had marathons on sci-fi with my dad. And if I remember something like that fondly it must’ve been an important part of a great childhood I had. Anyway, so I’m signed up for CBS Access for two months and will review two episodes at a time. So 5 reviews since there are only ten episodes this first season.

Now to review Jordan Peele’s narration separately real quick. He’s the real deal. The best since Rod Serling. But if you take that into account I guess there wasn’t much competition when it came to Twilight Zone’s hosts. Serling was the only one in the original series. There was only narration in the first revival, and then Forest Whitaker in front of a shitty green screen in the second revival. Peele here does it kind of like Serling, mostly on set or in a different shot as part of the set. His diction and prose is too perfection, and whenever he welcomes us to The Twilight Zone, opening and closing, I get goosebumps. Whoever gave it a bad review saying there isn’t enough Peele can go fuck himself. Peele has projects up his sleeve and they are lucky to even be getting these small snippets of him introducing these fascinating twisty stories.

The Comedian (Episode 1)

If The Comedian is my least favorite episode of the entire 10 episode run, then call this revival an absolute success. While I probably would’ve gone with Nightmare for the first episode and The Comedian be a little bit of a sophomore slump then a gradual rise, I think they went with this to ease the audience into it more. The Comedian stars The Big Sick and Silicon Valley’s Kumail Nanjiani as a comedian that doesn’t get a lot of laughs because he tries to get political with his jokes. None of them come from the heart. After his set one night he runs into J.C. Wheeler, played by Tracy Morgan, who gets some advice (makes a deal with) that he needs to get more personal with his act, or he’ll never be successful. So Nanjiani does this, but what he doesn’t realize is, that whoever he puts in his act, disappears from existence.

This episode is a little bit of a slow burn and maybe a tad bit too long. But there is a lot to like. The cinematography, tone, and mood set within the film is absolutely gorgeous to look at. The music is wonderful as well. This is probably the best acting I’ve seen from Kumail Nanjiani, and I really liked him in The Big Sick. But what the episode actually did, which I thought nothing could ever do, was for the first time not make me look at Tracy Morgan in an annoying as shit light. I’m sorry, I’ve never found him funny. I feel sorry for that terrible accident he was in, but I’ve always considered him overrated on his comedy. But here, he’s a creepy older more famous comedian, and the very limited screen time he is in, he’s actually pretty fucking good.

The episode though does have some problems slowing it down. The jokes from the comedians aren’t really jokes per say, they are more just lashing out truths, and they aren’t funny. Maybe that was the point? But I would’ve liked to see a few really good comedic jokes when an episode is called The Comedian. I didn’t understand what the audience thought was funny. Also, it is predictable. I bet you can just guess the ending from what I said. However, the pros edge out the cons, and I still enjoyed watching a new episode of The Twilight Zone. In time, a lot might not be too kind on this episode, but I have a feeling it was a small, un-filling appetizer before we get to the delicious main course.

Rating: 3/5

Nightmare at 30,000 Feet (Episode 2)

A play on the classic episode, and the only good remade segment in The Twilight Zone movie: Nightmare at 20,000 Feet. Now this isn’t a sequel just because the plane might be 10,000 Feet higher (although there is a blink and you’ll miss it nod to the classic Gremlin “THERE’S SOMEONE ON THE WING…SOME…THING!” segment). This is a totally different beast and story and no monster eating a plane wing. It plays on paranoia, self-fulfilling prophecies, and civility. It’s a heavy reflection on what has happened since 9/11. It stars Parks & Recreations Adam Scott, a journalist going to Tel Aviv for a job after he laid low for awhile seeing some heinous shit elsewhere. He finds a little device behind his seat that has a podcast on it. He plays it, and it’s a podcast episode detailing how the plane on which he’s a passenger will disappear in an hour.

Pretty cool concept right? Kind of a mix of Final Destination’s fate themes and Non-Stop’s detective investigation work. Adam Scott gets up from his seat, going about the cabin, trying to listen to the clues in the podcast and stop whatever bad thing is going to happen, from happening. This film has multiple twists in it. I saw the first one coming from a mile away. But the film doesn’t stop there, it has another gut wrenching twist, which was just the cherry on the suspenseful, really entertaining episode that I just witnessed. Some are harping on that second twist, however, if you re watch the episode and just focus on the themes, it is brilliant and totally makes sense. Never take anything for face value with The Twilight Zone.

Like The Comedian, everything technical is there. The cinematography, tone, lighting, music, fucking masterful. The acting is top notch as well, with Adam Scott and Chris Diamantopoulos giving some of their best performances of their career. I love that it was a tight 37 minutes. It wasn’t too short, and it didn’t overstay its welcome. It’s a fast paced thriller sure to keep you on the edge of your toes. This is one episode I’d watch over and over, so many layers to peel back, and once you think your done, you have several more.

Rating: 4/5