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The Twilight Zone Companion Paperback – December 1, 1992

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The Twilight Zone Companion is one of the finest examinations of a television series. Author Marc Scott Zicree spent five years researching and writing what is without a doubt the definitive look at this classic horror-fantasy-science fiction show. (The series originally ran from 1959 to 1965, but is still seen in syndication around the world.) Not only is the book an exhaustive episode-by-episode guide, but the author apparently interviewed every living soul who was ever associated with the show. It's quite likely that creator Rod Serling, who died before the book saw publication in 1982, would have been suitably impressed by the respect and dedication that clearly went into this labor of love. Zicree later revised and expanded The Twilight Zone Companion for a second edition in 1989, and discusses both the briefly revived series and the feature film based on the show. --Stanley Wiater

From Library Journal

From its signature theme song, to its many memorable images, to its very name, Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone is ingrained in our collective conscious like no other TV show. In this 40th-anniversary, updated edition of his 1982 American Book Award-nominated volume, Zicree takes readers through every episode of the show's five seasons (1959-64). In addition to credits and plot synopses, the author provides background on each episode, along with numerous pictures. Essential for all Zone fansAand who isn't one?
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 466 pages
  • Publisher: Silman-James Press; 2 edition (December 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1879505096
  • ISBN-13: 978-1879505094
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (139 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

316 of 328 people found the following review helpful By Je'kob on June 20, 2007
Format: Paperback
This companion book is very necessary for any fan of The Twilight Zone. It offers, interviews, insight, cast lists, dates, EVERYTHING; even an extensive look into the lives and/or backgrounds of Rod Serling and the other writers - which I enjoyed.

Where it annoyed me is the fact that Zicree ends up criticizing and suggesting for us what to think of many episodes. Throughout the whole book, he bashes scripts (eg. "If such and such were changed or taken out, it would have been better." "This script is cliche-ed"), actors and actresses (eg. "...with and uninspired performance by..."), directors (eg. "...in the hands of any other director, this could have been great...").

Zicree even "nit picks" on facts: there's an episode in which he points out that Rod Serling had gotten the distance from Earth to the planet Venus wrong. LOL WHO CARES?!! Serling was an overworked writer (which Zicree makes very clear, but still decides to nit pick), not a NASA engineer! There's also another passage in which he proclaims an episode a disappointment just because the plot is slightly possible. "Any episode that is this grounded in reality, should be considered a disappoinment." Ok, thanks for letting us know Marc. *sigh* Pleeease... Further in the book, he starts off an episode's commentary with, "Despite the basically absurd premise..." WHAT?! It's science fiction! It's the TWILIGHT ZONE! Aren't all the stories based on absurd premises?! Not to mention, that aforementioned quote about being "too grounded in reality" - now the TZ is too absurd for him?!? What an annoying little man this Zicree dude is...

I was hoping for more behind the scenes info such as commentary from people who actually worked on the episodes, or how certain effects were accomplished in such an era.
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280 of 290 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey W. Zentner on September 24, 1998
Format: Paperback
Although this is the best episode guide on TZ, the author fails to accurately analyze many of the shows. At times he seems to randomly nitpick and bash episodes that fans have loved for years. In addition, some of the shows receive only a few lines of analysis, while other shows receive very lengthy and detailed coverage. However, if you are a very big TZ fan, like me, you need this book. Some of the comments by Zicree are insightful, and his coverage of the series is the most extensive thus far.
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375 of 392 people found the following review helpful By William Smith on January 15, 2003
Format: Paperback
Where this book is great is in the background work behind the scenes of getting the Twilight Zone off the ground, the history of the man himself, Serling, and the "facts" that range from the obscure, to the truly bizarre. Where this book suffers is in the authors extreme lack of vision when trying to discuss the episodes. Truly, an interpretation is a matter of opinion, however, when ideas are kicked around about classic material, I for one, have to draw the line. Example: The Old Man in the Cave. The author brings up the awkward idea of how the "old man" (the computer) is powered through all the years since the aftermath. Even going so far as sounding negative that the old man could run at all. Uh, that's the kind of stuff an eight year old would roll around their mind. Totally uncalled for, not to mention unnecessary. I wish their were a book written by people who seem to understand the Zone, or even like it. Marc, thanks for the book, it is an interesting read as far as fact, but leave the fiction to the master.
*EDIT*
Also, there is far too much time devoted in explaining what each episode is about. I for one watch an episode, then refer to the "book" and find out the tidbits. Frustrating, when there is 4 paragraphs of "what the episode" is about (what I already knew) and barely 1 paragraph of tidbit. Looking at the book, it is bulky and one would assume it is chock full of useful stuff, not really, it's chock full of stuff you already knew. I don't know anyone who would buy a book like this and never watch the show.
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420 of 440 people found the following review helpful By Irate Retro on August 29, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I do concede that this book is a must-have for any serious Twilight Zone fan and is probably the best available resource of its kind. However after reading all the glowing reviews here I suppose I was expecting more. Much more.

If you own all the episodes on DVD and watch them on a regular basis, don't expect to get a whole lot out of this book. It's definitely worth every penny of the modest price and the time to read it, but it's not the treasure trove of knowledge I had hoped to find.

First let me say that I'm not one for biographies and the whole history of how it was pitched to the network, so I skipped the first chapter. What I wanted was a book that I could open up immediately after watching an episode and read all sorts of interesting tidbits. How it was filmed, accounts of the arguments/discussions over direction and editing, bloopers, how the special effects were accomplished, really anything.

Certainly Zicree has his favorite episodes and put much effort into those. But for most episodes here is what you get:

- Rod Serling's opening and closing dialogs. Just watched it, thanks.
- A one paragraph plot outline. Again, great for reference I suppose, but just watched it. I know what the episode is about. And some of them contain factual errors. Not huge things, just annoyances.
- For some episodes, selected lines of dialog. I know what the actors said, thanks.
- Then what you are left with is one small paragraph in most cases.

That one remaining paragraph is usually filled with Zicree's opinionated rants or raves about the acting and direction. If you are lucky you get one tidbit of information about the behind the scenes.
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