Underrated episodes of The Twilight Zone

#1
There are so many classic episodes of The Twilight Zone. Time Enough At Last, Monsters on Maple Street, Nightmare at 30,000 Feet just to name a few. But there are so many brilliant episodes of this show that don't nearly as much attention that are just as brilliant. What are some of your favorite underrated episodes?

I just rewatched Execution from Season 1 and it's just so great. The general summary of the episode is a convicted murderer from the 1800's who is moments away from being hung gets sent 100 years into the future. They do some really interesting things with the concept and it's perfectly paced. Great ending too. I don't want to spoil much, but it definitely deserves more love.
 
#2
I Am The Night, Color Me Black

If I recall correctly, the show was cancelled/ending and Serling didn't really give a shit anymore, and went all in for a story that was a commentary on hate, prejudice, and race relations. Remember this aired on CBS in the early 1960s.

It wasn't the most subtle of commentaries, and it wasn't particularly well written as far as the best episodes of the series go, but it's fairly unique.

While I'll say The Obsolete Man isn't exactly an unknown episode, I think it's definitely one of the lesser appreciated of some of the more famous ones. Great performances and a really biting message.

I also think Twenty-Two is a tad underrated. The fact that it was shot on video as part of CBS's cost saving mandates actually helps give it a more surreal, creepy, dream feel. It's definitely one of the B-movie schlock type episodes of the series, but it's fairly eerie because of a combination of factors, both intentional and unintentional.

Perchance to Dream That one's pretty terrifying in an existential sort of way. Very surreal too.
 
#7
Don't remember the name of the episode, but it's the one where a group of astronauts are stranded on a distant planet and begin to clash with eachother out of survival and desperation until only one is left. The twist being that
they never even made it in to space, the rocket crashed in the middle of a desert on Earth
.
 
#10
Mirror Image. Fantastically directed
Don't remember the name of the episode, but it's the one where a group of astronauts are stranded on a distant planet and begin to clash with eachother out of survival and desperation until only one is left. The twist being that
they never even made it in to space, the rocket crashed in the middle of a desert on earth
.
I Shot an Arrow into the Air. I'd call that (and monsters are due on maple street) two of the more acclaimed eps though.
 
#16
On Thursday We Leave for Home (One of the better hour long episodes)
The Dummy
Death Heads Revisited
The Miniatures
The Last Flight
Long Live Walter Jameson
The Trade Ins (This episode is really sad too)
The Changing of The Guard
Static

Just to name a few.

If you want underrated episodes of The Twilight Zone you might as well crack open the 80s series.
Dealers Choice is a terrific episode.
 
#17
"The Invaders" is just plain odd. Legit freaky, but very odd.

"Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?" is legit godlike. Just the most bonkers shit and it's amazing.
 
#19
In no particular order:

The Changing of the Guard - Original Air Date: June 1st, 1962/Episode 102, Season 3

An elderly English literature teacher that goes by the name of Professor Ellis Fowler, who teaches at an all-boys prep school for almost 50 years, is forced into retirement. On Christmas Eve, after teaching generations of students, he wonders if his life's work had any meaningful impact. Feeling lost & ashamed, he wonders back to the campus, with revolver in hand. Before he could attempt suicide, he hears the school bell, which is coming from the deserted classroom building. Mr. Fowler is then visited by ghosts of several boys who were his students, some that had died heroically.

One by one, the boys thank Professor Fowler for the impact he has had on their very important lives. In a way, these lost souls have teached Professor Fowler the most important lesson in life, and is able to help him move onto the next stage.



Come Wander With Me - Original Air Date: May 22nd, 1964/Episode 154, Season 5

A popular musician (Floyd Burney) travels across the state, in order to find inspiration to compose a folk song of his own. Sometime after crossing with a non-helpful shop keep, he comes across one of the local girls in a small town, a beautiful woman by the name of Mary Rachael. She takes interest with Floyd, and after bribing her with "romance & love," he is able to get her to record her song. After ignoring Rachael's instances of the song being about their love, Burney is confronted with Rachael's fiance Billy Rayford, who accuses Burney of attempts to seduce Mary. The men fight, which leads to Rayford's death.

With Mary appearing in black mourning clothes, Floyd confronts her about what's been happening. Mary only responds that it's the order of things, and she then adds lyrics about Rayford's brothers finding Billy's body, swearing revenge. After abandoning Mary, Floyd attempts to seek help from the shop keep, only for the old man to tell him it's too late. In panic, Floyd kills the shop keep and tries to hide behind some old music boxes, with being to play Mary's song on their own. The brothers find Floyd, and promptly kill him on the spot. Some time later, Floyd's tombstone is in the woods, where he had failed to see it earlier.



No Time Like The Past - Original Air Date: March 7th, 1963/Episode 112, Season 4

Two men (Paul Driscoll & Harvey) attempt to use a time machine, with the noble intention to go back in time and alter past events, namely to minimize the lost of human life during the First & Second World Wars. However, their attempts prove to be futile, as no matter how hard they try, they cannot alter the events of human history. From warning the Hiroshima police captain about the atomic bomb to his failed attempts to prevent Lusitania being torpedoed, Paul slowly comes to the conclusion that the past cannot be rewritten, so he then travels to Indiana the mid-19th Century, so he can live an uncomplicated life.

After several events that have transpired, Paul stays at a boarding house. After getting into an argument with another boarder about imperialism, Paul reads a history book about Homeville's schoolhouse will be burned down, due to a lantern ejected from a runaway wagon. After his failed attempt to stop the wagon, Paul dejectedly returns to his own time, coming to the conclusion that one should never tamper with the past.



The Incredible World of Horace Ford - Original Air Date: April 18th, 1963/Episode 117, Season 4

Horace Ford, a toy designer that is obsessed with his blissful memories of his childhood, is having harsh repercussions with his career and marriage. Upon revisiting his childhood neighbourhood, he discovers that nothing has changed, along with the boys he used to play with. After revisiting that neighbourhood for several nights, he realize that this his opportunity to revisit those glory days. After reverting to his 7 year-old self, his old friends assault him, and Ford quickly realizes that his romanticize childhood wasn't was pleasant as he'd thought.

His wife finds him, and after telling him to grow up, Ford returns to his period and age group, with a greater appreciation for his life as an adult.


The Lonely - Original Air Date: November 13th, 1959/Episode 7, Season 1

In the distant future, a man named Corry is sentence to solitary confinement on a distant asteroid for 50 years. During the 4th year of his confinement, he is visited by a spacecraft that regularly brings him supplies & news from the Earth. The Captain has been trying to make Corry's stay humanely tolerable, so during his most recent visit, he decides to bring him an bionic robot (that resembles a female adult) that goes by the name of Alicia.

While he first rejects the affections of this synthetic machine, he realizes she possessed incredible physical and reasoning capabilities. In due time, he begins to warm up towards Alicia. Upon Captain Allenby's return, he informs Corry that he's been pardoned, but they have little time to waste. Since there is only enough room for 15 pounds of luggage, meaning Alicia has to be left behind. Corry frantically tries to convince Allenby that she is more than a synthetic machine. Allenby has little choice, but to "kill" Alicia, by shooting her in the face. As she malfunctions, he drags Corry to the ship, reassuring him that "he will only be leaving loneliness."



Deaths-Head Revisited - Original Air Date: November 10th, 1961/Episode 74, Season 3

A former captain in the Schutzstaffel returns to an abandoned concentration camp to relive the memories of his time as its commandant during the Second World War. Upon gleefully recollecting the memories of the tormented inmates, he runs into one of the camps inmates, a man that goes by the name of Alfred Becker. During their exchange, Gunther Lutze claims that he was only doing his orders from his commanding officer, not knowing that the Third Reich planned on exterminating all the Jews. Becker, however, bluntly tells him the reality of the inhumane treatment of the inmates.

Becker, along with the men that Lutze had mutilated all those years ago, put him through the same horrors they had gone through, though psychological torture. Not long after, Becker's ghost informs the now-insane Lutze that it's only the beginning, as his final trial will be that with God. After being sent to a mental institution, the men that found him try to find some reasoning for how Lutze was driven insane. The doctor, after examining his surroundings, ask's "Why does it still stand? Why do we keep it standing?!"



The Gift - Original Air Date: April 27th, 1962/Episode 97, Season 3

After crash-landing on the planet Earth, just outside a mountain village near the Texas-Mexico border, an alien stumbles into the village bar, bleeding from two gunshot wounds. After the doctor removes the bullets from his chest, the alien (referring to himself as "Mr. Williams") becomes friends with an orphan named Pedro.

Pedro receives a gift from Mr. Williams, who tells him that he'll explain it's contents a bit later. The bartender notifies the army about Williams' location, & after fruitlessly escaping, he is surrounded by local arm enforcement, the villagers, & soldiers. Mr. Williams tries to explain that he comes in peace, telling the populace that a police officer he killed (in which shot him) was an accident. He tells Pedro to show them the gift to the doctor, but the villagers take it from him & set it on fire, claiming it's from the devil. When Williams tries to reach to Pedro, the army guns him down. Sometime afterwards, the doctor picks up the remains of Mr. Williams gift, reading a note that it was a vaccine that can cure all forms of cancer.
 
#23
Feel like He’s Alive and Death’s Head Revisited will get seen a lot more lately...

Any episode with Burgess Meredith is a good one. Also love Howling Man, Long Live Walter Jameson, Execution, and Two.
 
#24
I love the one where the woman visits a department store, gets stuck there after hours, and chased by mannequins come to life, only to be confronted with the reality that she is one herself. Sort of a 1960's precursor to the theory that we're just part of a computer simulation.
 
#25
Not sure if it's underrated or not, but that episode where they had the kid who could read everyone's mind and manifest the things he thought of was my favorite back when I saw it.
 
#26
Walking Distance gets better every time I watch it. When I was younger, I thought it was a decent time travel story, but as I get older, it really resonates with me more and more.
 
#28
The Lonely is pretty pretty good

Here's another: A World of Difference. A man's life unravels when he's told he's an actor playing a role in a film. Lot of cool fourth wall bending
 
#30
subbing for binge watching purposes


Not sure about underrated by my personal favs are "To Serve Man", "The After Hours", "People Are Alike All Over" & "A World of His Own"
 
#31
"Five Characters in Search of an Exit." Really loved this episode. It was all character driven and the actors really nailed their parts, especially the clown character.
 
#33
The Sixteen Millimeter Shrine really stuck out to me when I started watching the series on Netflix years ago, years of watching multi-day marathons and I never saw it before.

It's a really sad watch.
 
#35
Someone explain to me why we don't have a big budget modern amazing version of The Twilight Zone currently airing? They could even get some high profile directors/writers to make an episode or two.
 
#38
Someone explain to me why we don't have a big budget modern amazing version of The Twilight Zone currently airing? They could even get some high profile directors/writers to make an episode or two.
Because it didn't go so well for the 2000 series. I'd much rather they try Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction again.
 
#39
I have always loved the episode: The Odyssey of Flight 33

An unlikely break of the time barrier finds a commercial airliner sent back into the prehistoric age and then to New York City of 1939. The tale is a modern telling of the Flying Dutchman myth.

Some parts are a little cheesy, but it's always had a special place in my heart.


There's also The Night of the Meek. I'm not sure if it's underrated though. I make a point to watch it every Christmas
 
#40
I love the one where the woman visits a department store, gets stuck there after hours, and chased by mannequins come to life, only to be confronted with the reality that she is one herself. Sort of a 1960's precursor to the theory that we're just part of a computer simulation.
The After Hours, it's great, and spooky too, which a classic great twist.
 
#42
I Am The Night, Color Me Black

If I recall correctly, the show was cancelled/ending and Serling didn't really give a shit anymore, and went all in for a story that was a commentary on hate, prejudice, and race relations. Remember this aired on CBS in the early 1960s.

It wasn't the most subtle of commentaries, and it wasn't particularly well written as far as the best episodes of the series go, but it's fairly unique.

While I'll say The Obsolete Man isn't exactly an unknown episode, I think it's definitely one of the lesser appreciated of some of the more famous ones. Great performances and a really biting message.

I also think Twenty-Two is a tad underrated. The fact that it was shot on video as part of CBS's cost saving mandates actually helps give it a more surreal, creepy, dream feel. It's definitely one of the B-movie schlock type episodes of the series, but it's fairly eerie because of a combination of factors, both intentional and unintentional.

Perchance to Dream That one's pretty terrifying in an existential sort of way. Very surreal too.
These are all great choices. Especially Perchance to Dream. That one freaked me out as a kid.
 
#43
Because it didn't go so well for the 2000 series. I'd much rather they try Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction again.
Damn, I didn't even know there was a 2000 series.

It also sounds like I need to watch Black Mirror. I saw one episode years back and it was pretty great, it was the one with the guy from Get Out.
 
#48
This. Absolutely brilliant episode.
More iconic than underrated though really. Definitely one of my favourites.

Great analogy to the anti-communist hysteria in America at the time. And sadly, even now (for other reasons).

"The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices – to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill – and suspicion can destroy – and a thoughtless frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all of its own – for the children – and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is – that these things cannot be confined – to the Twilight Zone."

- Serling