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The Twilight Zone (1959 TV series)
The Twilight Zone is an American television series created by Rod Serling. It is a series of unrelated stories of drama, psychological thriller, fantasy, science fiction, suspense, and/or horror, often ending with a dark or unexpected twist. A popular and critical success, it introduced many Americans to serious science fiction and abstract ideas through television and Twilight Zone books and comics.
The success of the first series started two revival series: one series that ran for several seasons on CBS and in syndication in the 1980s, and another series that ran on UPN from 2002 to 2003. It would also lead to a movie, a radio series, a comic book, a magazine and other spin-offs that would go on for 50 years.
Aside from Serling himself, who wrote nearly two-thirds of the series' total episodes, writers for The Twilight Zone included authors such as Charles Beaumont, Richard Matheson, Jerry Sohl, George Clayton Johnson, Earl Hamner, Jr., Reginald Rose, Harlan Ellison and Ray Bradbury. Many episodes also featured adaptations of classic stories by such writers as Ambrose Bierce, Lewis Padgett, Jerome Bixby and Damon Knight.
Twilight Zone's writers often used science fiction as a way for social commentary. Television networks and sponsors who had censored all possible offensive material from the mostly live dramas were not aware of the methods developed by writers such as Ray Bradbury for dealing with important issues through fantasy. Themes include nuclear war, mass hysteria, and McCarthyism, subjects that were not allowed on more "serious" primetime television.
The first series contained 156 episodes. Seasons 1, 2, 3, 5 were half hour shows. Season four (1962–1963) contained one-hour episodes.