A little known paranormal series, the 1985 Twilight Zone production ran three seasons from September 27, 1985 to April 15, 1989. Season one ran from 1985–1986 and had twenty-four episodes. Season two ran from 1986-1987 and had eleven episodes. Season three ran from 1988-1989 and had thirty episodes. The series had a total of sixty-five episodes. The series had two different narrators during its television run, Charles Aidman who worked on the show from 1985 to 1987 and Robin Ward who took over and narrated the episodes from 1988 to 1989.
Writers such as Harlan Ellison, George R. R. Martin, Rockne S. O’Bannon, Jeremy Bertrand Finch, and Paul Chitlik wrote screenplays for the show. It was directed by many different talents including Wes Craven and William Friedkin. Many different mainstream stars made their appearance in the series including Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Season Hubley, Morgan Freeman, Martin Landau, Jonathan Frakes, and Fred Savage. The theme music was composed by Jerry Garcia and performed by The Grateful Dead.
Although the episodes were not always at the same level of genius of the original 1959 television series, there were some great gems to be found. This included many of the feel-good episode themes found in season one such as in episode 6B ‘A Message From Charity’ about two teenagers who have a telepathic connection through time. Season two explored more of the bizarre concepts of the Twilight Zone but the episodes didn’t carry the same weight as the first season. Season three seemed to have a good balance of both worlds.
The highlight of the show is that is does its best to stay true to the spirit of the original series, even going as far as retaining some of the classic dialog, fifties culture, and similar production themes. One of the drawbacks is that it is somewhat of a victim of the time it was produced, sometimes getting lost in the 80s music culture, fashions, and female stereotypes that make similar 80s entertainment unbearable to watch at times.
The original 1959 television series, the 1970 standalone series Night Gallery, and the 1983 Twilight Zone Movie will always stand out as the best creations of the franchise. I would also recommend the 2002 Twilight Zone series. In some ways it surpassed the 1985 series even though it didn’t receive as much recognition or praise. However, if you are looking for a good paranormal series and want to delve into 1980s nostalgia, the 1985 television series is for you. You can find it online if you know where to look. Many online distributors still carry the DVD sets as well.