The original The Twilight Zone aired from 1959 to 1964. It remains one of the best shows in history to this day. Created and presented by Rod Serling, each episode of the popular show presents a stand-alone story in which characters deal with disturbing or unusual events. They are entering the Twilight Zone. To this day, some shows like The Twilight Zone have managed to capture the same magic.
But The Twilight Zone remains a classic. While it is originally a science-fiction show, the paranormal and Kafkaesque events lean toward fantasy and horror. Nowadays, the term twilight zone is used to describe surreal experiences.
The series featured established stars and younger actors. Many would go on to become worldwide and international stars. Here is a quick list of some actors that appeared in The Twilight Zone: Robert Redford, William Shatner, George Takei, Robert Duvall, Julie Newmar, Burt Reynolds, Leonard Nimoy, Veronica Cartwright, James Doohan, Suzy Parker, and many more.
To this day, the TV show is widely regarded as one of the greatest television series of all time. After five seasons, Serling started spending less and less time on artistic direction, which prompted canceling of the show. The fact of the matter is that he simply got too frustrated and too tired to fight for renewal.
And while his show is one of a kind, there are other shows like The Twilight Zone that fans can enjoy.
The Twilight Zone 2019
When we talk about TV series like The Twilight Zone, we have to start with the remake of the anthology television series. This one, developed by Simon Kinberg, Jordan Peele, and Marco Ramirez, is based on the original 1959 television series.
This time, Peele serves as the narrator. It aired on CBS All Access. Similar to the original show, each episode deals with a different topic, addressing subjects such as social issues, racism, misinformation in the press, alien invasion, immigration, and more.
Black Mirror, a show by Charlie Brooker, puts emphasis on the psychological elements and sci-fi flair that made The Twilight Zone so popular. It uses the same elements to convey socially relevant messages.
Each episode of Black Mirror contains a standalone premise and setting. Yet, there are some cross-references between episodes.
Brooker admits that Serling’s show made a huge impact and influence on him. That is why he wanted to create an anthology revolving around contemporary and controversial issues through a fantasy lens.
But while leaning on the obscure like The Twilight Zone, Black Mirror focuses on a dystopian world. In that eerie world, excess technology has produced negative results for humanity.
This show is quite similar to the one by Rod Serling. This time, horror legend Boris Karloff serves as the host for the suspenseful and spooky series.
Thriller ran for only two seasons. But it provided a lot of memorable atmosphere and moments. It ran in the early 1960s, the same period as The Twilight Zone.
Initially, the show started as a crime-suspense show in the vein of Hitchcock. But the later episodes began decorating scenes with dark and gothic horror.
Some of the notable actors in the show include Leslie Nielsen, William Shatner, and Mary Tyler Moore.
Are You Afraid of the Dark?
We can put this show under the category TV shows for young fans of The Twilight Zone. Older fans will love it as well, but they will not get as much nostalgia. This is a show for those who want to go back to that 1990s nostalgia.
It is an inventive and interesting show, leaning in the direction of horror tropes. Some of the topics include ghosts, demons, curses, and aliens. Of course, there is the topic of paranormal phenomena and otherworldly elements.
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
When you want to talk about American horror stories and suspenseful series, you have to mention the master of them. Alfred Hitchcock remains one of the best directors and geniuses in the horror and suspense genre.
This show aired from 1962 until 1965. Alfred created, hosted, and produced the show. By the time it premiered, he had already been directing movies for more than three decades. Time magazine puts the show on their list of 100 Best TV Shows of All Time.
The show also had a rich palette of notable actors. Some of the notable actors that appeared include Dick York, Robert Horton, Inger Stevens, Robert Newton, Bruce Dern, Thelma Ritter, Dennis Morgan, Vera Miles, Roger Moore, Teresa Wright, and more.
The American anthology television series aired on NBC from 1970 to 1973. It featured stories of horror and the macabre. Why do we put this show on the list? Well, Rod Serling served as an on-air host and a major contributor to scripts. No, he did not have the same control of content as he had on The Twilight Zone.
Serling himself viewed Night Gallery as a logical extension of his earlier show. Both TV series shared an interest in provoking dark fantasy. While Zone focused on science fiction, Night Gallery put more emphasis on the horrors of the supernatural world.
He appeared in an art gallery setting as the curator and introduced the macabre tales. During the second season, Night Gallery began using original comic blackout sketches.
Fun fact: the show is the directorial debut of Steven Spielberg. Joan Crawford had one of her last acting performances.
Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From The Stories of Stephen King
The eight-episode anthology series on TNT was based on short stories written by Stephen King. It debuted in July 2006 and ended in August 2006.
The series was filmed entirely in Melbourne, Australia. Stars that appeared on the show include Kim Delaney, Steven Weber, Ron Livingston, William Hurt, Tom Berenger, Jacinta Stapleton, and more.
Tales From The Crypt
The show ran from June 1989 to July 1996 on the premium cable channel HBO. The title is based on the 1950s EC Comics series of the same name. Most of the content comes from that comic or other EC Comics.
Because it aired on HBO, a cable channel, the show had full freedom from censorship by network standards and practices. HBO allowed Tales to include content like graphic violence, profanity, sexual activity, and nudity.
When broadcast in syndication, the series is edited. Each episode begins with a tracking shot leading to the front door of the decrepit mansion of the Cryptkeeper, the host of the show.
This little-known anthology series from the early 1980s is quite obscure. James Coburn hosted the show. It draws more comparisons to Night Gallery than to The Twilight Zone.
But it still offers some twisted concepts that The Twilight Zone fans love. Each episode is self-contained, but there is a central theme. It is a spooky and desolate house that you enter in each introduction.
Steven Spielberg got his directorial debut with Night Gallery. And the iconic director has many more dark stories to tell. This classic show aired in the mid-1980s. There is a flashier modern rendition made for Apple TV Plus.
The show captivates fans and viewers with impressive visuals and intriguing storylines. While it never had high ratings, the show earned 12 Emmy Award nominations and won five of them.
The Outer Limits
This American television series aired on ABC from September 1963 to January 1965. It is a show that aired at the same time as The Twilight Zone.
The difference is Outer Limits has an even greater emphasis on science fiction stories. Sometimes, there are plot twists at the ends, but most episodes are self-contained.
It was revived in 1995 until its cancelation in 2002.
If you like something lighter, then this children’s anthology horror television series is great. It is based on the best-selling book series of the same name by R. L. Stine.
Filmed mostly in Ontario, Canada, with different houses and historic properties in Toronto, the show began airing in English and French in Canada.
Each episode of this horror anthology series contains two half-hour stories dealing with themes of the supernatural. Produced by Warner Bros. Television for the Fox Network, the show aired from 2001 to 2002.
Originally the show was not supposed to have a host. Musician Henry Rollins is the uncredited host of the show.
One of the reasons why it didn’t achieve critical success is too much involvement and different views from Fox.
Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond
Merwin Gerard created this anthology series. John Newland hosted it as the “guide to the supernatural”. Every episode presented tales exploring paranormal events and situations that defied logical explanation.
The show also dealt with the premonition of death, the Lincoln assassination, a disaster with the tidal wave, and astral projection.
The X Files
Let’s finish off our list of shows like The Twilight Zone with one of the most popular supernatural TV shows of all time. The X-Files is an American science fiction drama following the adventures of FBI Special Agents Fox Mulder, played by David Duchovny, and Dana Scully, played by Gillian Anderson.
They investigate X: Files, which are marginalized and unsolved cases involving paranormal phenomena. The original series aired on Fox from 1993 to 2002.