The enigmatic allure of “The Twilight Zone” has captivated audiences since its debut in 1959. Rod Serling’s anthology of strange and often cautionary tales explored the realms of science fiction, fantasy, and the macabre, offering commentary on societal issues and the human condition. For fans craving content reminiscent of this iconic series, here’s a compilation of six shows that capture a similar eerie essence and thought-provoking narratives.
Black Mirror is probably the closest modern equivalent to The Twilight Zone. This British sci-fi anthology series, created by Charlie Brooker, premiered in 2011 and explores the unanticipated consequences of new technologies. Like The Twilight Zone, each episode of Black Mirror functions as a standalone story with different characters and settings. The show is extremely clever and thought-provoking, while maintaining a dark, satirical tone. Some of the most acclaimed episodes include “San Junipero” about a virtual reality system, and “USS Callister” which pays homage to Star Trek.
Amazing Stories is an anthology series created by Steven Spielberg in the 1980s. Just like The Twilight Zone, each episode was a self-contained story in the sci-fi/fantasy genre. Some popular installments included “The Mission” about WWII pilots travelling through time and “Mummy Daddy” about an Egyptian mummy haunting a movie set. The original series only ran for two seasons but a reboot came out in 2020 on Apple TV+. The reboot features some great directing and special effects but can’t quite capture the magic of the original.
The Outer Limits
The Outer Limits was broadcast from 1963-1965, around the same time as The Twilight Zone. This black-and-white sci-fi/horror anthology featured chilling tales of futuristic societies, monsters, and alien encounters. Some standout episodes include “The Architects of Fear” about scientists faking an alien invasion and “Demon with a Glass Hand” about a robot sent back in time. While maybe not quite as sharp in its writing as The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits still delivers plenty of creative sci-fi stories.
Tales from the Crypt
For a darker, horror-focused anthology, check out Tales from the Crypt. This series debuted in 1989 and each episode was introduced by a creepy character called the Crypt Keeper. The show featured grim morality tales with lots of violence, monsters, zombies, and gore. Standout episodes include “Collection Completed” about a serial killer obsessed with body parts and “People Who Live in Brass Hearses” about a former ice cream truck driver turned corpse retriever. Tales from the Crypt is perfect for horror fans who want macabre short stories in the style of The Twilight Zone.
Night Gallery was Rod Serling’s follow-up series to The Twilight Zone that aired from 1970-1973. A horror/dark fantasy anthology, Night Gallery featured paintings that would supernaturally transition into storytelling. While it didn’t have the sci-fi emphasis of The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery still captured a creepy, unsettling aura in many of its episodes. Standouts include the pilot episode featuring Joan Crawford and Roddy McDowall and an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s story “Cool Air.”
Inside No. 9
Inside No. 9 is a British black comedy/horror anthology series that premiered in 2014. Each 30-minute episode is a self-contained story with new characters and settings, similar to the format of The Twilight Zone. The show was created by The League of Gentleman stars Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton. Inside No. 9 episodes feature shocking twists and dark humor. Memorable installments include “The 12 Days of Christine” about a woman experiencing memory loss and “The Riddle of the Sphinx” set in a gothic mansion.
There you have it – 6 shows that any Twilight Zone fan should add to their watchlist. Though no show can quite match the icon status of The Twilight Zone, these anthology series carry on its legacy of thought-provoking, twisty storytelling. Whether you’re looking for sci-fi, horror, or mystery thrills, these shows will take you to another dimension. So fire up your streaming service of choice and enter…the Twilight Zone.