For horror and sci-fi fans of a certain age, there are few TV series as sacred, enduring, and influential as the original Twilight Zone. Though the seminal anthology series only ran from 1959 through 1964 it left an indelible mark on generations of television watchers and even many of today's most influential filmmakers. Series mastermind Rod Serling wrote or co-wrote 92 of the show's 156 episodes and became the face of the series, delivering opening and closing monologs that were at once inviting and ominous. Though earnest reboots of the classic series in 1980s and early 2000s failed to recapture the magic of Serling's originals, The Twilight Zone (released in 1983) was a minor box office sensation and retains a loyal cult following.
Still, CBS All Access is attempting another 21st Century iteration of The Twilight Zone, and they've got some heavyweights on board to make it happen. Their reboot is being co-produced by Jordan Peele's Monkeypaw Productions and Simon Kinberg's Genre Films; Peele will also serve as an executive producer on the series, along with Win Rosenfeld and Audrey Chon. EVP of Original Content at CBS, Julie McNamara, gave a status update during a recent interview with Deadline:
"We have a room, we have a first season of concepts, outlines, scripts - various stages of all these things - of that 10 eps a season. We are well on our way, and we are going to start production in the next couple of months."
In the same interview, CBS TV Studios president David Stapf expressed his belief that the anthology nature of The Twilight Zone means they won't need a full-time showrunner, though Greg Yaitanes will be overseeing series continuity from a production standpoint.
As for Peele's motivations for participating in the series, here's what he told The Hollywood Reporter back in 2017: "Too many times this year it's felt we were living in a twilight zone, and I can't think of a better moment to reintroduce it to modern audiences." Indeed, the original Twilight Zone often used horror and sci-fi as subterfuge for exploring many political and societal aspects of the turbulent 1960s. Just as Peele's feature film breakthrough Get Out (for which he received a Best Screenplay Oscar) used genre tropes as metaphors for racism and economic disparities, Serling's Twilight Zone tackled fear of communism, segregation, isolationism, and xenophobia. It's also worth noting that the original Twilight Zone remains extremely popular with several TV and cable networks holding annual Marathons and an updated Companion (a 3rd edition) recently released by Silman-James Press.
Indeed, today's nerve-racking geopolitical climate certainly seems ideal for a rebooted Twilight Zone franchise. The recent success of Black Mirror, a modern show clearly inspired by The Twilight Zone but with a futuristic perspective, also bodes well for the upcoming series. It may be a while until we get casting news or a teaser trailer, but we'll keep our ears to the ground in order to bring you additional details as they emerge. Deadline was the first to report on the Twilight Zone production.