It is a testament to the talent of the author that there is so much information on "The Twilight Zone" given that it was first published nearly twenty years after the series ended. With so many episodes being on the recently released DVDs, I find it is a useful to select an episode you would like to watch, as well as having interesting behind the scenes information. I haven't read such a good Companion since the DS9 Companion.
Much has been said about this book on these pages, and I'll take away any doubts that you possibly have in your mind:
It Is Brilliant.
This is as exhaustive an account of the Twilight Zone that you're going to get. Zicree has researched Rod Serling extensively, and goes into Serling's life pre-Twilight Zone, looks at 'Patterns,' 'Requiem for a Heavyweight,' and 'The Time Element.' He has synopses for each and every episode and opening/closing narrations. He profiles Richard Matheson, Charles Beaumont, and George Clayton Johnson. He describes behind the scenes information, gives trivia and informs about the production of the series. He goes into Serling's life post-Twilight Zone, with looks at Night Gallery and his last teleplays. He expands into the 1980's with the Movie, and the two 1980's series revivals.
Much has been said here on Zicree's opinions. But you must remember - they're only his opinions! I watched some episodes after I read this book that I had not seen before, and disagreed with him. Or vice versa. The only real problem I see with this book is in its unbalanced handling of some of the episodes. Zicree has chosen episodes such as 'Walking Distance,' that get much coverage, but other deserving episodes such as 'Escape Clause' don't. But that's a minor criticism. If every episode were to be looked at in-depth, the book would run to a few thousand pages!
Some guides to TV shows are vacuous, all episode guides and no insight. This is not. It can be read cover-to-cover and enjoyed all the way through and also to dip into as an armchair guide whilst watching the episodes. A wonderful piece of work. I should also mention that £7 for this is an absolute bargain! If you are a Twilight Zone fan, this is an essential buy.
Has anyone else had this problem, page 41 which should be the start of the review for Walking Distance has been replaced with the second page of the Acknowledgments. Now to be fair to Amazon i contacted them on Saturday and a replacement was delivered on Monday,the replacement book had same problem,have been informed if still not happy send book back,get refund,fair enough but i really want this book, and to end up having no book just for one wrong page ? Maybe i will contact the printers in the U.S and ask if they could send me page 41 or a replacement book,who knows? Anyway the book would have 5 stars but for the missing page.I love to watch an episode make my own judgments then agree or disagree with the author,i notice Mark Scott Zicree has been criticized by some reviewers, he has his opinion,we have ours. I do the same thing with FILM NOIR,Michael F. Keaneys Film Noir Guide an outstanding work,i don't always agree with him,its all part of the fun.Shame about page 41.
Although this is the best episode guide on TZ, the author fails to accurately analyze many of the shows. At times he seems to randomly nitpick and bash episodes that fans have loved for years. In addition, some of the shows receive only a few lines of analysis, while other shows receive very lengthy and detailed coverage. However, if you are a very big TZ fan, like me, you need this book. Some of the comments by Zicree are insightful, and his coverage of the series is the most extensive thus far.
I made the mistake of lending my only copy of this book to a Serling-phile who never returned it back in the late 80s. Pat, if you're reading this, be a mensch and return it. It's easy to see why he kept it. Not only is the book a fascinating read because it gives the behind-the-scenes dish on particular episodes in terms of actors, writers, and myriad scholarly details, it also has all the Rod Serling introductory remarks for each episode as well as the closing remarks. Before Pat stole my copy, I had memorized several (a great thing to come up with, by the way,when someone shoves a video camera in your face and expects you to "perform"). Give them a little Rod, and it makes for a good time. Who could forget some of those gems? Case in point: "In just a moment, this sad-faced perennial punching bag, who missed even the caboose of life's gravy train, will take a short constitutional into that most upredictable region we refer to as .... the Twilight Zone." Great stuff. And the book goes a long way to show Serling's own craftsmanship and his respect for the written word and the people who labored for this unusual program trying to capture something about the human condition. Do yourself a favor: buy this book and a copy of "Night of the Meek" for someone you love this Christmas. Art Carney plays a good-hearted, down-on-his-luck department store Santa Claus who gets ahold of some Christmas magic courtesy of the Twilight Zone, where all things are possible.
Widely regarded as the best anthology TV series ever, as well as perhaps the best Science Fiction show, the Twilight Zone has many fans. This book lists every episode, and includes the story introductions and concluding monologues, as spoken by Rod Serling on the show. Marc Scott Zicree also reviews all the episodes, as well as provides interviews and backgrounds by some of those that worked on the show, including the writers and directors. Also included is some dialog from the series, and some biographical information on Serling. The updated version includes information on the new series, and an expanded index. A must-have for fans of the series and of Rod Serling.
I purchased my copy in 1986, and was very happy to find it still in print! This is such a great book, it gives you so much information...then you can go and amaze your friends! I can't wait to purchase the revised edition....if you buy this book you will not regret it!
I reread this bible over and over. Can't say enough good about it. Zicree's work is superb! Only have one nit to pick. His analysis of "Five Characters In Search Of An Exit" completely misses the mark (pun intended). Marc, read (or reread) Sartre's "No Exit" then reflect on the human condition in general, the categorical roles we play, etc. Then rewatch Rod's superlative treatment of all of this. I think you'll see what I mean.