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302 of 312 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice Read... with a few minor annoyances
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...
Published on June 20, 2007 by Je'kob

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275 of 283 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Best Episode guide so far still needs improvement!
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...
Published on September 24, 1998 by Jeffrey W. Zentner


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275 of 283 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Best Episode guide so far still needs improvement!, September 24, 1998
This review is from: The Twilight Zone Companion (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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302 of 312 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice Read... with a few minor annoyances, June 20, 2007
This review is from: The Twilight Zone Companion (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. While there is a lot of those two things too; I was hoping for a lot more it. And A LOT less of the writer's feelings and bashings of the episodes he felt like picking on.

Still this book is a required read for any fan.
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323 of 336 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed Bag, September 3, 2007
This review is from: The Twilight Zone Companion (Paperback)
Zicree's Twilight Zone Companion is alright as a reference guide for information on original airing dates, credits, and backstage tidbits. The organization of the book could have been more user-friendly but nothing to quibble about. Interviews with those associated with the program were also interesting and worth the price of admission.

Zicree is docked two stars for presenting his critiques as anything other than completely subjective. He is welcome to his opinions as we all have favorite episodes and ones that we find less enjoyable. That's the nature of art in any form. For me, the problem is with the fact that Zicree doesn't at least admit up front that his opinions have less to do with the quality of a given story and more to do with a leftist world view. His apologetics for all things Socialist (see his comments on Khruschev and Castro) coupled with a hatred for traditional American culture (see his comments about an episode concerning Custer, for example) are grating to say the least. While one may argue these geopolitical points in a different setting, a guide to a TV series, in my opinion, appears to be an ill chosen forum.

Just a closing comment here: Zicree could not bring himself to find any good thing to say about contributer Earl Hamner's episodes. It seems to me that it may have more to do with Hamner's later work in the Walton's, a series with a very traditional viewpoint that is the antithesis of Zicree's left-wing dogma, than with the quality of Hamner's TZ scripts.
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373 of 389 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Totally mixed about this book, January 15, 2003
By 
William Smith (Fontana, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Twilight Zone Companion (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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417 of 436 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Extremely disappointed, August 29, 2008
By 
Irate Retro (Rural Iowa, USA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Twilight Zone Companion (Paperback)
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. Worse yet, most of the time those one or two facts were already in the DVD extras so you've already read them if you have the DVDs.

Now don't get me wrong, there is some good information in this book. Just very little of it on a per-episode basis. And for a select few episodes he really does go all out. The section for the first season is decent, and it seems to go downhill from there. Almost as if he was tiring from the research.

I'll select a few of my favorite episodes at random so you know what you can expect. For each episode here is what's left after disregarding Serling's narration and the plot outline:

"The After Hours"
As this was a first season episode, Zicree does a fair job here. Almost one full page of information. How the manequins were constructed (this was on the DVD), how they got access to the set, and one paragraph of Zicree's opinions. Two factual pieces of information explained in good detail, and that's about as good as you can hope for in this book for most episodes.

"A Most Unusual Camera"
The ONLY thing he can say here is why did the waiter fall out of the window at the end. Seriously that's all there is.

"Living Doll"
He explains that the voice of Talky Tiny was done by June Foray (Rocky the flying squirrel). This was on the DVD. And then he takes a paragraph _explaining_ the plot to us. Yes, we know the doll only talks when nobody else is around. Thanks.

"A Stop at Willoughby"
One paragraph explaining the similarities to another episode. One paragraph of Zicree telling us that humans have a desire to escape from the pressures and demands of life. Absolutely zero real information.

"The Thirty Fathom Grave"
For being an hour long episode you'd think he'd have plenty to write about. Well he does: He complains that it was an hour long. And takes an entire paragraph to do so. A few lines of dialog. (Useless.) Then one paragraph explaining that Variety magazine didn't like the episode either. Again, zero information.

"The Old Man in the Cave"
One paragraph explaining to us mere mortals the deeper meaning of the plot. Other than that, all he can ask is how the computer got electricity for 10 years?? Come on.

The rest of the book is much like the above; I could go on and on.

Grab the book, but don't expect much.
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68 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank goodness for Marc Scott Zicree, June 23, 2002
By 
Jason Henderson (New York, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Twilight Zone Companion (Paperback)
Having read and been extremely disappointed with a couple of other "guides" on some of my favorite shows (e.g. Blackadder) I was REALLY thankful to see that someone had done right by my favorite television series of all time.
Zicree's Twilight Zone companion is one of the best organized guides to a show I've ever seen. It's put together perfectly to compliment the show and it's many facets. It covers everything about the show in a clear consice pattern.
Each episode section begins with
-A screenshot of the episode
-A full cast listing
-Serlings verbal introduction
-An overview of what happens in the episode
-Serlings verbal exit
-Discussion, quotes, and interviews regarding that particular episodes production.
There is also a large amount of biographical information on several of the shows' writers, directors, and cast such as Rod Serling and Richard Matheson.
At the begining and end of each season there is even more production information regarding how the show did for the season, ratings and pretty much anyhing you would want to know about the show and what surrouds it.
Additionally Zicree does an exceptional job of interviewing and quoting important people that were working on the show.
This is a wonderful book for fans of the series that explains and expounds alot on the genius that was Rod Serling.
A MUST BUY!
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Three outa five, June 12, 2000
This review is from: The Twilight Zone Companion (Paperback)
It goes without saying that if you're a TZ fan, you gotta have this book on hand. Certainly there's a lot in Zicree's work. Quotations from interviews with many cast members and Buck Houghton (producer of the first three seasons) are included, perhaps the best feature of the book. He gives decent analyses to perhaps 30 per cent of the episodes, but the remainder are slapdash and filled with often rash-sounding, often objectionable statements. Examples: he rattles off a forgettable three sentences for his review of "The Whole Truth" (a mediocre episode, but certainly more could be said) and yet he devotes nearly five pages to "Nothing in the Dark" and "The Bard" (average episodes at best). More photographs should defintely have been included...the ones included are often small stills from the episodes. A few nice ones are included but for such a visual series as TZ, this book needs more pics. Even more cast interviews would have been nice, as well. I'd never call this a seriously flawed effort. It coulda been far, far better, though.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reference book but..., December 24, 2002
This review is from: The Twilight Zone Companion (Paperback)
Don't get me wrong this book is a superb resource of information about the Twilight Zone. I agree with most of the other reviews posted here. The only problem I have is with the authors own personal opinion of the episodes. I disagree with around 95% of them! A personal opinion is a difficult thing to object against but his are very opinionated! I don't think he appreciates the atmosphere or charm of certain episodes at all. Use this book for the reference material and judge the merits of the individual episodes for yourself!
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45 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Reference Guide But Pompous Commentary, September 5, 1999
By 
Eric Paddon (Morristown, NJ) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Twilight Zone Companion (Paperback)
I can not echo the five star reviews of this book, because while this book is ultimately a fascinating look at a great show with lots of wonderful information, I have to say something about Zircee's evaluation style. He writes in a very pompous fashion in which his own subjective, personal biases about each episiosde are meant to be taken as the Gospel Truth. This results in some fine episodes ("Escape Clause") getting short-shrift while other episodes get loads of attention. What is really pompous of Zircee though is when he suddenly starts taking Serling to task for writing unflattering depictions of Nikita Khruschev in "Nothing But The Truth" and Fidel Castro in "The Mirror." Indeed, I was ready to throw my copy across the room when I saw this indignant comment of Zircee's that Serling "did Castro a disservice" in "The Mirror." Really, as though murdering his subjects and forcing the survivors to live in the world's last Stalinist dictatorship didn't already do him a disservice. Get real, Marc. Get real.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An great book to have on hand while watching Twilight Zone., December 30, 1996
By A Customer
This review is from: The Twilight Zone Companion (Paperback)
Widely regarded as the best anthology TV series ever, as well as perhaps the best Science Fiction show, the Twilight Zone has many fans.
This book lists every episode, and includes the story introductions and concluding monologues, as spoken by Rod Serling on the show.
Marc Scott Zicree also reviews all the episodes, as well as provides interviews and backgrounds by some of those that worked on the show, including the writers and directors.
Also included is some dialog from the series, and some biographical information on Serling. The updated version includes information on the new series, and an expanded index.
A must-have for fans of the series and of Rod Serling.
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The Twilight Zone Companion
The Twilight Zone Companion by Marc Scott Zicree (Paperback - Dec. 1992)
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