7.5/10 Where the first three seasons of the original “The Twilight Zone” had 24-minute-long episodes, season four changed things up and expanded them to 50 minutes long and cut the number of episodes in half. I was initially worried that for episodes that were bad, they would feel like an eternity since even some of the bad 24-minute-long episodes seemed to drag on forever. Thankfully, season four ends up being the strongest season of “The Twilight Zone” thus far, giving us more bang for our buck and since there are less episodes for our writers to focus on, they are able to deliver stronger overall content. By expanding the running time of the episodes for this season, Rod Serling and company are able to have additional time to develop the characters and ideas of each episode, which I found to be very beneficial to the show. Although there were a couple of bad episodes, even they were well paced so they didn’t seem to last forever. Luckily, this season has the highest number of flat out great episodes out of all of the seasons thus far, despite having fewer episodes. As the show continued to gain popularity and acclaim in the early 1960s, the show was able to attract bigger stars and this season has episodes featuring some of the biggest names yet with actors like Dennis Hopper, Jack Klugman, Robert Duvall, James Whitmore, “The Twilight Zone” regular Burgess Meredith and more showing up to put in solid work. I found that this season probably had the least amount of supernatural/sci-fi elements (although it is still in there) compared to the previous seasons but these episodes were more focused on the human characters and by making the situations slightly more relatable and grounded in reality, this season benefits. There were still several bad episodes like “The Incredible World of Horace Ford”, “Of Late I Think of Cliffordville” and unfortunately the season finale ends on a low note with “The Bard”, which contains a combination of its score and sound effects being extremely cheesy and over the top. Besides those three episodes, the rest range from decent to fantastic with the highlight episodes being “No Time Like the Past”, “Printer’s Devil”, “He’s Alive”, “Valley of the Shadow” and maybe my personal favorite, “The New Exhibit”. The 50-minute episode experiment only lasted one season, as season five sees the show returning to 24-minute episodes and although I hope the fifth and final season of the original series ends on a high note, I am slightly disappointed they didn’t stick with the longer, more developed and effective episodes. This fourth season ended six months before President John F. Kennedy was assassinated and I will be curious to see if any of next season’s episodes are influenced by what was surely a hugely impactful time in America’s history. Regardless of what happens in season five, I am happy that this fourth season was by far the strongest season yet and worth checking out.
#WeLiveInATwilightZoneWorld / #CargoOld / #FrightAtTheMuseum / #ShakespearelyDeparted / #TossedInSpace / #RodsGiftToMankind