The Horror Honeys: You are Now Entering Another Dimension…

You are Now Entering Another Dimension…

A Sci-Fi 2.0 Honey ‘Top Five’ List by Katie

The Twilight Zone (1959-1964)

This New Year’s holiday marked the 20th consecutive year when sci-fi enthusiasts around the globe took part in a hallowed television tradition: the SyFy two-day marathon of The Twilight Zone. Since 1995, the network has ushered in the New Year by sending viewers into another dimension for 85 solid episodes of what the Writer’s Guild of America called the 3rd best-written television series of all time. Half a century later, Rod Serling’s 30-minute detours into the darkest corners of the universe perseveres through a devout following – with specials like the SyFy marathon and other syndicated outlets spawning new generations of fans year after year

From airplane gremlins to killer dolls, the show has memorably depicted monsters of one kind or another – but on this SciFriday, we are celebrating all things alien. Below is a list of the top five episodes of The Twilight Zone (and one honorable mention) which focus on intergalactic visitors both friendly and wicked.

5.  Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?
Season 2 / Episode 28 / Original airdate: May 26, 1961
Written by:  Rod Serling
Directed by:  Montgomery Pittman
Two state troopers investigating a crash of what appears to be a flying saucer make their way to a remote diner, where the snowbound passengers of a bus await news on when they can resume their travel. A count of the passengers reveals that there is one too many diner patrons – indicating that the extra “person” came from the saucer crash. Everyone looks human, but are they? As the troopers and passengers interrogate each other, Serling ratchets up the paranoia – and just when you think you’ve figured it out, you discover that you couldn’t be more wrong. 

4.  The Lonely
Season 1 / Episode 7 / Original airdate: November 13, 1959
Written by:  Rod Serling
Directed by:  Jack Smight
While not centered on aliens per se, this episode takes place on a remote planet, where a convicted felon is sentenced to a futuristic version of solitary confinement. Astronauts venture to his prison of a planet four times a year to bring supplies, and with every visit the inmate becomes more desperate for human contact. The latest supply run brings with it “Alicia,” a robot the inmate can assemble and live with as a surrogate for a live woman. At first repulsed by the idea, he soon grows immeasurably close to his mechanical companion, and the two form a meaningful bond. The inmate is eventually granted a pardon and can be sent back to Earth, with one condition – and it’s a heartbreaking one.

3.  The Monsters are Due on Maple Street
Season 1 / Episode 22 / Original airdate: March 4, 1960
Written by:  Rod Serling
Directed by:  Ronald Winston
Welcome to Maple Street, a quaint stretch of road in suburban America, where a meteor passes overhead – and all hell breaks loose. With the road isolated by a power outage, the neighbors gather to discuss the strange goings-on – and with a little prodding from a sci-fi fan in the group, they begin to suspect that one amongst them is an extraterrestrial. A brilliant study on the dangers of a mob mentality, “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” reveals that we don’t need to wait for a monster to arrive and destroy humankind – we are capable of destroying ourselves, with the monsters that already dwell within us.

2.  The Invaders
Season 2 / Episode 15 / Original airdate: January 27, 1961
Written by:  Richard Matheson
Directed by:  Douglas Heyes
I Am Legend author Richard Matheson penned this classic home-invasion narrative with a sci-fi edge. Agnes Moorehead plays a middle-aged woman living alone who is suddenly overrun by a horde of tiny spacemen, breaking into her house after their ship lands on her roof. Moorehead (whom you might recognize as Endora from Bewitched) spends the entire episode in horrified silence, uttering not one word of dialogue as she fights off the intruders. The episode generates a significant amount of suspense and terror with what sounds like an almost comedic premise, and then knocks your socks off with a twist ending.

1. To Serve Man
Season 3 / Episode 24 / Original airdate: March 2, 1962
Written by:  Rod Serling
Directed by:  Richard L. Bare
Based on a story by sci-fi author Damon Knight, “To Serve Man” is such a definitive episode in the cosmos of The Twilight Zone that you are probably aware of the significance of the title, even if you haven’t seen it. The story begins with an extraterrestrial invasion, but this time of the friendly sort – a giant, mushroom-brained race of aliens who assert that they came to assist mankind and take them to their idyllic planet. They leave behind a book, written in their native language, of which only the title can only be translated: “To Serve Man.” Humans graciously accept their service and begin to board their saucers, headed for paradise. Soon after, however, the rest of the book is translated – and, well, let’s just say Soylent Green took a cue from this delicious and darkly comic twist. 

Honorable Mention: 
People are Alike All Over
Season 1 / Episode 25 / Original airdate: March 25, 1960
Written by:  Rod Serling
Directed by:  Mitchell Leisen
An astronaut crash-lands on Mars and is greeted by very cordial, human-looking Martians. They are so amicable, in fact, they tell him that they’ve built him a nice room to recover in … on display for the rest of Mars to spectate at, for all of eternity. People are alike all over – we all love a good zoo, don’t we?

That does it for this Sci-Fi Honey’s favorite Twilight Zone space-creatures, all of which you can now find on Netflix! What are your favorite episodes? Let me know through the twitter dimension.

 The Twilight Zone is available on Netflix Streaming, Hulu, Amazon Prime Instant Video, YouTube, and DVD/Blu-ray