Tuesday, June 7, 2011

In Retrospect: Season 2 (1960-1961)

Another season of The Twilight Zone has come and gone. What can one say about season two? Um… well, it was shorter than the other seasons (with the exception of season four, but since that’s only a half-season, it’s not really a fair comparison) due to budgetary demands by CBS (which resulted in six videotaped episodes, most of which were subpar). Season two was also a slight step down in quality from season one, but it still contained some absolute gems (including two of my top ten favorites, “Shadow Play” and “The Obsolete Man,” as well as other classics like “Eye of the Beholder,” “Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room,” and “The Invaders”). There were also some clunkers sprinkled throughout (“Mr. Dingle, the Strong,” “The Whole Truth,” and “A Most Unusual Camera” should’ve been aborted before they ever saw the light of day), and a few mediocre offerings (“The Man in the Bottle,” “A Thing About Machines,” and “The Mind and the Matter” weren't exactly awful, but they weren't especially good either). Nothing in season two trumped the absolute crime against television that season one’s “Mr. Bevis” committed, but “Dingle” sure as hell tried.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the series would never match the overall brilliance of its first season. “Bevis” aside, it was nine months of damn good television. Season two, despite its abbreviated length, was a pretty impressive follow-up (however, I should note that a whopping nine of my top 20 favorite episodes of all time come from season one, while a mere three come from season two). Season three will feature some brilliant episodes, but things will start to get a bit stale… well, we’ll get there in the fall.

As I did last year, I’ll post screen captures from select episodes that I didn’t use during the season (usually to prevent spoilers). Enjoy!

King Nine Will Not Return.... well, I guess it kinda did return after all.

The Eye of the Beholder. Makes me wonder what the pigs on that planet look like....

Gotta love an elaborate makeup job that still allows you to smoke. I'm sure Oasis Cigarettes appreciated this.

The Invaders are from... earth. Wait, so we're actually the invaders? OMG!!!

Henry Corwin is the REAL Santa Claus. I derive from this that it's perfectly okay for me to get drunk on Xmas Eve.

Static: it seems nostalgia really CAN make you younger.

A crack in the glass meant this Rip Van Winkle never woke up. Oh well, he would've died anyway.

The Silence: The guy with the voicebox-removal scar is a total cheater.

The Obsolete Man: Romney Wordsworth meets an explosive end.

The Obsolete Man: The chancellor meets an explosive end of his own.

Season Two was brought to you by Oasis Cigarettes. Thank you, and goodnight.

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