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'The Twilight Zone'

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  • Riley
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    #1202837639

    Executive producers: Simon Kinberg, Jordan Peele, Win Rosenfeld, Audrey Chon, Glen Morgan, Carol Serling, Rick Berg, Greg Yaitanes

    Metacritic: 60

    Rotten Tomatoes: “The Twilight Zone explores the strangeness of the modern world through Rod Serling’s winning formula, creating a thought-provoking, spine-tingling showcase for Jordan Peele and his exceptional crop of collaborators.”

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    Eden
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    #1202837661

    Why do you think Peele won’t be eligible for writing? Isn’t he writing at least one episode?

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    boss
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    #1202837670

    I have read from reviews that he shares a “story by” credit for a single episode.

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    Eden
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    #1202837714

    Don’t they get a writing credit too? Isn’t that how Iannucci was nominated twice for Veep?

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    Riley
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    I was unaware that Jordan Peele was doing any writing, but I think that the weak reviews (read: low quality) will keep him away from a nomination, especially without names on the writing ballot.

    IMDb is using this image on their page for the first episode:

    See anyone familiar?

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    Atypical
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    #1202837746

    The first episode is on YouTube for a spell:

    https://youtu.be/19GO8-Rrn0g

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    Riley
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    #1202838238

    Tim Goodman has a lot of great zingers in his review for The Hollywood Reporter, which Metacritic scores as a 10.

    This is indeed bad. Perhaps the worst decision made was using “The Comedian” as the premiere—and free sample episode for YouTube. But I see that while Greg Yaitanes was the closest that the show had to an on-set showrunner, Simon Kinberg was effectively the off-set showrunner and it is apparently his favourite episode. It makes me question how much a director actually adds to television because it is inconceivable that the same guy gave us “San Junipero”, so all the more credit to Annabel Jones for maintaining the visual style of Black Mirror and Charlie Brooker for scripting it. The Twilight Zone is yet another show that is visually derivative of David Fincher and House of Cards, like so many prestige dramas of the late 2010s, most infamously by Ozark, but bastardized in everything from The Haunting of Hill House to Dear White People. It is ridiculous.

    Kumail Nanjiani has turned out to be one of those actors who can more or less only play himself, so of course he is playing a comedian (not that I want to see him fail by taking on a more ambitious role; it is what it is). He starts as a terrible comedian who only has one bit in his repertoire that we ever see, then he crosses over into the Twilight Zone and he is a hilarious comedian. We know he is hilarious because characters keep telling him how hilarious he has become and because the audience becomes uproarious/unhinged at every line if not more often as if they have never heard something more hilarious. But his jokes are just as terrible and the extras—perhaps more of whom I recognize than I ever have watching something, which is fun—respond equally to his unfunny punchlines as his not-intended-to-be-funny setups (and there is a difference) when he is supposedly killing it, which is arbitrary. This requires more suspension of disbelief than any science fiction elements. Nanjiani is an Oscar nominee and I did not appreciate seeing him subjected to such amateurish producing, directing and writing.

    “Nightmare at 30,000 Feet” was much more watchable and fun because there is more of a mystery. It is pretty clear where “The Comedian” is going and how it is going to get there and it could have deleted some repetitive scenes from its 54-minute run time. The framework of “Nightmare at 30,000 Feet” is not necessarily the most original, but the episode will inevitably offer surprises as it fills in the blanks on its mere 36-minute journey. This was the first episode filmed and written, so Jordan Peele has a story credit that allows him to share a “developed by” credit for the duration of the series. (The title sequence curiously retains a “Created by Rod Serling” credit.) This felt more like an episode of Black Mirror, albeit one produced for a broadly commercial entity like CBS (All Access) as opposed to a prestige network with more adult sensibilities. The Twilight Zone is overall more accessible than Electric Dreams, which leaned heavier into genre sci-fi with its cyberpunk and whatnot. My guess is that they did not make this the premiere for fear of backlash of the series as being a cheap remake of the original, like The Office when it debuted with Steve Carell doing Ricky Gervais’s pilot. I disagree with this assessment because the original work in question is a 1963 television episode; people do not seek out such things like they do old Alfred Hitchcock movies. This is introducing the concepts to a new generation, more like A Star is Born.

    I do want to see more though. There is a levity to Jordan Peele saying the title and twitching his eyebrow that compensates somewhat for the lack of Black Mirror-style sophistication. Electric Dreams would have benefited from some of that and maybe I would have finished it as I had intended. In terms of Emmys, I can see them score some nominations below the line on name alone that would be unwarranted on merit. Marco Beltrami is co-composer on all episodes and Genius‘ Emmy-winning cinematographer did the premiere.

    I proceeded to watch the original “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” starring William Shatner in 1963. It is unavoidably dated, but still so much better in terms of suspense and my goodness, that score! It is also clear that they had a really limited budget (like a bottle episode), so they worked with that; the budget on “Nightmare at 30,000 Feet” seems to have been infinitely higher and it did not necessarily do them any favours.

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    boss
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    #1202838372

    “The Comedian” was fine at least watchable and introduced the concept for someone like me who had never seen the original. “Nightmare at 30,000 Feet” though was plain bad. Only thing I enjoyed seeing were references to the other episodes in the magazine covers (the faces of Kumail Nanjiani and Jacob Tremblay’s characters). Apparently, the show will get better with the upcoming episodes because no way the first two installments would receive this metacritic score.

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    Riley
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    #1202839359

    I tweeted about the bad dialogue. Also, I watched The Simpsons‘ “Terror at 5 1/2 Feet” and it was excellent.

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    Riley
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    #1202849625

    “Replay” was okay. I expected more of an ending, but I suppose that it was just a relatively simple high concept that they proceeded to execute. This show uses technology weirdly though and it has too many plot contrivances. I tweeted about the cinematography this week.

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    Riley
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    #1202868337

    “The Wunderkind” is the dumbest episode that I have seen this television season.  I am not quite hate-watching the show because the show has such potential.  They get to execute a different high-concept premise each week with a different writer, director and cast, yet they keep misfiring. I still figure that there might be a good one coming up and it is fun to see something totally different every time.  The dialogue this week was laughable.

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    rafaeltxeira
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    #1202919259

    Why is this series in Drama at the Emmys and not in Limited or TV Movie? It’s just like Black Mirror or Room 104… is there a reason?

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    Riley
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    #1202921141

    The Emmys introduced a new rule this year that movies have to be seventy-five minutes, then they ruled that The Twilight Zone is not a limited series because they see it as a continuation of the previous iterations of The Twilight Zone, despite having an entirely new crew (and cast obviously).  Yet Twin Peaks got to be in limited just last year.  It is so dumb.

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