"You unlock this door with a key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension; a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, and a dimension of mind. You are moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You have just crossed over into The Twilight Zone."


The Twilight Zone is an anthology television series created by Rod Serling, who also served as the host and wrote or adapted a majority of the scripts during its original 1959-1964 run on CBS. The series became renowned for its surreal nature and its frequent use of surprise endings, as well as its distinctive theme music. The use of allegorical speculative fiction allowed Serling to touch on subject matter which television executives of the day would have been uneasy presenting on a series with a more commonplace format. Some of its more renowned episodes include "Time Enough at Last" (starring Burgess Meredith in one of several appearances), "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" (starring William Shatner in one of two appearances), and "To Serve Man" (featuring Richard Kiel).

A feature film adaptation of the series was released in 1983. It was narrated by Burgess Meredith and featured adaptations of three episodes of the original series (including the above mentioned "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet", now starring John Lithgow), as well as an original story. The production was marred by tragedy when some actors were killed in a helicopter accident.

In 1994, a TV movie was broadcast entitled Twilight Zone: Rod Serling's Lost Classics hosted by James Earl Jones. It featured a recently discovered teleplay written by Serling and was paired with another story written by renowned author Richard Matheson (a frequent contributor to the original series).

There have also been three revivals of The Twilight Zone. The first aired on CBS 1985-1989, with Charles Aidman as host for the first two seasons and Robin Ward for the third. The second revival aired on UPN in 2002-2003 and was hosted by Forest Whitaker. The third revival produced two seasons (2019-2020) for the CBS All Access streaming service (which has since been renamed Paramount+) and was hosted by Jordan Peele.

The Twilight Zone is regularly alluded to on Mystery Science Theater 3000, both in the theater and during the host segments. Additionally, many of the actors in the films used on the show have also worked on The Twilight Zone.

The Twilight Zone inspired many other serialized Sci-Fi/Horror/Fantasy shows, including The X-Files, Twin Peaks and Stargate SG-1. Some of these shows have paid direct homage to the series. The Twilight Zone has also been frequently parodied, including on Saturday Night Live and Futurama (which features a recurring show-within-the-show entitled The Scary Door). Many of the segments on The Simpsons annual Halloween episodes are inspired by The Twilight Zone.