Modernized version of the classic TV series includes 43 episodes featuring high-profile guest stars.
The younger you are, the more you'll enjoy UPN's short-lived revival of The Twilight Zone
. Front-loaded with young actors (or marginal celebrities, like Jessica Simpson) and a bone-jarring theme by Korn's Jonathan Davis, the show panders to a teen demographic, which original-series creator Rod Serling would never have tolerated. It's a pale copy of Serling's original
, and even the 1985 TZ
revival was marginally better, but there are some memorable exceptions in this 43-episode, six-disc set. Not surprisingly, the best episodes are straight remakes of (or sequels to) classic Serling originals, including "The Monsters on Maple Street," "It's Still a Good Life" (with former child actor Bill Mumy reprising his creepiest role, and featuring a series-best performance by Cloris Leachman), and "Eye of the Beholder." Of the originals to this series, highlights include the pilot episode with Jeremy Piven; Jason Alexander in "One Night at Mercy," Amber Tamblyn in "Evergreen"; Lukas Haas in "Harsh Mistress"; Lou Diamond Phillips in "The Pool Guy"; ER
's Eriq La Salle as writer, director, and star of "Memphis"; and a few others that capture the eerie quality of "another dimension of sight, sound, and mind."
Woefully miscast as the series' host, Forest Whitaker delivers facile introductions devoid of Serling's literary finesse. More often than not, the writing relies on forgettable characters and thinly-disguised variations on original-series themes; at its worst, the series demonstrates a staggering lack of originality, and the youthful casting frequently results in one-dimensional performances, with a few notable exceptions. It's hit-or-miss at best, but shooting locations in Vancouver, British Columbia, lend the series a visually stimulating variety of settings and atmosphere; production values are consistently high (as they were in the Canadian seasons of X-Files), and Rick Maguire deserves praise for his cinematography on virtually every episode. If you can forget Serling altogether (a difficult challenge for his devoted fans), you'll be able to overlook the flaws and enjoy some occasionally clever trips into The Twilight Zone as it was meant to be. --Jeff Shannon