Tuesday, May 28, 2013

In Retrospect: Season 4 (1963)

There's a certain mystique about The Twilight Zone's fourth season, mostly because the expanded length has historically kept it from airing as often in syndication, where the series was/is usually allotted a 30-minute time slot. However, said mystique has dissipated somewhat over the last decade or so, with the numerous ways in which these episodes can now be seen/obtained (DVD, blu-ray, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, etc) alongside the more familiar half-hour efforts.

Season 4 is actually a half-season of 18 episodes but, because of the hour format, the total running time is about the same as the other seasons (with the exception of the slightly-shorter 2nd season). But does the double length equate to double quality? In most cases.... not quite. However, most of the season's offerings are at least decent, and several are pretty great. I don’t typically rate and/or rank the episodes as I spotlight them. However, for categorization purposes, I am willing to place them in three general ballparks:  Good-to-excellent, mediocre, and lousy.  In this fan's humble opinion, season 4 breaks down as follows:

Good-to-Excellent:  15

Mediocre:  3

Lousy:  0

Statistically, that means 83.33% of season four is at least good, if not great or even excellent. What's really interesting to note is the fact that NONE of these 18 episodes are truly lousy, which is the first and only time that'll happen in the series' five-year run (no Bevises, Dingles or Unusual Cameras to be found here, thankfully!). The mediocre episodes, in case you're wondering, are "The Thirty-Fathom Grave," "The Parallel" and "I Dream of Genie," but even these three have some positive aspects that keep them from truly sucking. Season 4 is often dismissed as being inferior to the rest of the series but, from my perspective, it's better than season 5 (which is positively riddled with crappy episodes; you'll see when we resume in the fall).


Scott Stevenson said...

Hey Craig!!!
Don't forget about your review of "The Time Element".

Scott Stevenson.

Craig Beam said...

Oh yeah! Gotta get that one done... expect it sometime this summer.

Mat Black said...

Zero lousy episodes? How about "30 Fathom Grave" & "Passage on the Lady Anne"?