With their rocket quickly running out of fuel, three astronauts touch down on an asteroid... and are astonished to discover that they're back on earth. Okay, they aren't really back on earth, but it sure as hell looks like it... barns, houses, people --- except that nothing moves. Everyone and everything appears to be frozen in time. It's a mystery, and our intrepid voyagers will find the answer... but the cost will prove rather high.
Charles Beaumont wrote the teleplay, based on his own short story, and as much as I love his work, I've never been particularly fond of this episode for three reasons. First, the "frozen in time" people DO move, because director Douglas Heyes opted to use live actors instead of mannequins or still photography. Consequently, the viewer will spot many instances of movement on the part of the various actors. It's damned distracting, and essentially kills the suspension of disbelief. Second, the script attempts to inject humor into the proceedings for no apparent reason (a recurring gag is an inability to pronounce a certain name correctly, ha ha). And third we have the ending which, while sufficiently shocking, seems to come from nowhere (shock endings are part and parcel of the Twilight Zone experience, of course, but they should make sense within the context of the preceding story). All in all, it's the first Twilight Zone episode that (for me) is a complete failure. I've gone on at length about my dislike of "Time Enough at Last," but I at least respect that episode from a technical standpoint (the direction and cinematography are frankly amazing). But "Elegy" is an episode that I hate on every level. The actors are unappealing, the direction is lacking... even the original music score by Van Cleave (whose work on the series I usually love) is grating.
But hey, this is just one guy's opinion. You might love it. Who knows?
Addendum: Okay, so after watching the episode (as you may or not have guessed, I write these promo entries BEFORE I sit down to watch the episode; oftentimes it's been several years since my last viewing), I don't hate it quite as much as I thought I did.... but I still don't like it much either. It's not a stinker on the level of, say, "Mr. Dingle, the Strong" or "Mr. Bevis," but it's definitely lower-tier Zone. As I watched it, I got a really strong Martian Chronicles vibe (specifically, "The Third Expedition," originally published in Planet Stories Magazine as "Mars Is Heaven" in 1948) which, given Beaumont's documented friendship with Ray Bradbury, makes some amount of sense. Nothing direct in the way of plagiarism, you understand.... just a vague similarity.
Next week: Things get back on track in a big way with a truly excellent TZ classic. It's one of my Top 40 favorites, and it stars Vera Miles as a nervous woman in a bus station who is seeing double... quite literally, as it turns out. Come in from the rain and have a look.