Classic Twilight Zone Episodes We Want Jordan Peele To Reboot
Even though there have already been two unsuccessful The Twilight Zone reboots in the past 30-or-so years, the third reboot may be the charm. That’s because it’ll be helmed by writer-director Jordan Peele, whose surprise horror hit Get Out demonstrated that he has a gift for telling unsettling, strange, and completely engrossing stories.
There’s no doubt Peele’s creative enough to come up with dozens of completely original Twilight Zone episode ideas on his own. But there are also 156 episodes of the original series, many of which could be given new life if Peele sprinkles a bit of metaphorical pixie dust and tweaks them to more accurately reflect what’s going on in today’s world. Though it’s far from comprehensive, we put together a list of OG Twilight Zone episodes we wouldn’t mind seeing Peele introduce to a contemporary audience. We’ll be spoiling each of these episodes, by the way.
A Stop at Willoughby – Season 1
In this episode, a harried ad executive tries to escape his overwhelming, fast-paced existence by visiting the calm, pleasant town of Willoughby. Too bad Willoughby isn’t actually real. The executive departs his evening train to get off at Willoughby instead of returning home from work, but at the end of the episode we learn that Willoughby was all in his head and that in reality he jumped out onto the train tracks and died. “A Stop at Willoughby” is a harrowing tale about what overexertion and exhaustion can do to your mental state, and the episode’s message hits just as hard (if not harder) today as it did in the ‘60s. Many of us rarely allow our minds to remain unengaged for longer than a few minutes (we’re all guilty of using our phones and watching TV at the same time), so we’re sure Peele could use this classic episode as the foundation for a brand new one.
Number 12 Looks Just like You – Season 5
“Number 12 Looks Just Like You” is somewhat similar to another, more famous Twilight Zone episode, “Eye of the Beholder.” In both episodes, a young woman undergoes plastic surgery to make herself look more conventionally beautiful. However, in “Eye of the Beholder” this type of surgery appears to be uncommon whereas in “Number 12,” the surgery is completely normalized and, as we eventually learn, pretty much mandatory. In addition, the young woman in “Number 12,” Marilyn, initially refuses to undergo the surgery (aka “the Transformation”) but is hypnotized into obedience by a vicious, suspicious doctor. “Number 12” says a lot not only about conforming to widely-held beauty standards but also about consent, two extremely relevant issues that we’d be excited to see Peele explore.
Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up? – Season 2
This Season 2 episode about two aliens who successfully pass themselves off as humans is interesting not because of its big reveal, but because of the conversations that occur prior to it. The episode begins with two state troopers who enter a diner to investigate a UFO crash. The troopers realize that at least one of the diner patrons was in that UFO, causing the patrons to temporarily turn against and grow increasingly suspicious of one another. Even though it’s not the focus of the episode, the idea that the tiniest of inciting incidents can trigger extreme panic and paranoia is certainly one that’s culturally relevant and deserves more attention.
Mirror Image – Season 1
The Twilight Zone is chock-full of episodes about the dangers of technology, including one in which a man is attacked by his appliances (“A Thing About Machines”) and another in which a man replaces his employees with robots and eventually gets replaced himself (“The Brain Center at Whipple’s”). But one episode that comments on technology in an unintentional, more figurative way is “Mirror Image.” In the episode, a woman realizes that her doppelgänger from an alternate dimension is following her and eventually deduces that it’s trying to kill her. This might be a stretch, but couldn’t Peele alter the episode to be about online personas instead of literal doppelgängers? If Black Mirror can talk about how technology will eventually kill us all, why can’t The Twilight Zone?
Nightmare at 20,000 Feet – Season 5
“Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” is one of The Twilight Zone’s most famous episodes, and it also happens to be the one that reminds us the most of Get Out. In this episode, William Shatner (yes, that William Shatner) plays an airplane passenger who’s convinced that he sees a gremlin crawling on the plane’s wing. Nobody believes him (partially because he experienced a nervous breakdown on another airplane six months prior) and he gets taken away by the police as soon as the plane lands. But even though nothing is usually as it seems in the Twilight Zone, this time everything is exactly as it seems. It turns out the gremlin is real and that it, as the man suspected, damaged part of the plane. And though “Nightmare” isn’t nearly as socio-politically poignant as Get Out, both Shatner and Get Out’s Chris experience the horror of not being believed and of very nearly convincing themselves that they’re insane. Could Peele use “Nightmare” to make a statement as resonant as the one he made with Get Out?