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My Top 10 Twilight Zone Episodes NYE Marathon

Every year on New Year's Eve, Lauren and I look forward to a nice quiet evening together.  We don't go out (anymore), and we don't have a bash at the house.  It's just the two of us, enjoying each other's company, some Chinese food, and television.  The past few years, we've gone to bed shortly after midnight, and honestly, I think the latest I've ever stayed up on New Year's was about 2am.
One of our many "rules" and traditions that we have is that we binge-watch as much as we can during the vacation week between Christmas and New Year's.  Now that we have a baby, it's a bit difficult, but... that will fix itself in the coming years as she grows up.  We often try to squeeze in Breaking Bad and The Sopranos, and this year (2020), we've already started on Breaking Bad.  Of course, on New Year's Eve, there's also "The Honeymooner's" marathon on WPIX here in New York that starts at midnight.  

However, one of the things I look forward to the most is SyFy's "The Twilight Zone" Marathon.  Every year I scour the guide and look for my favorite episodes to record, and so I've decided to put together a "Top 10" list of my favorite episodes, plus a few extras, which I hope you'll enjoy.  I'll even include the times these episodes will air this year if you're so inclined to check them out.

Just know, off the bat, this list will not include the episodes "Five Characters in Search of an Exit," "The Bewitchin' Pool," or "The Masks."  I cannot change the channel fast enough when I see these episodes.  I just wanted to document it here that I absolutely HATE these three episodes.  "Number 12 Looks Just Like You" is up there, too.

This year, the marathon begins on SyFy at 6:00AM (Eastern) on Thursday, December 31st, and will end at 5:30AM on Saturday, January 2nd. So, in honor of this great holiday marathon, I present to you my Top 10 Twilight Zone Episodes list.  

10.  "The Hitch-Hiker"  (Originally January 22, 1960) 2020 Marathon - 7:40PM December 31st

I saw this episode when I was very young and was sucked in right from the beginning.  Any long-time reader here knows I love a good road trip, and this episode has that.  Being so young, I didn't quite pick up on what was happening and was completely shocked at the end of the episode.  Now, as an adult, it's a little more predictable, and that's why it's number 10 on my list.

9.  "It's a Good Life" (Originally Nov 3, 1961) 2020 Marathon - 4:00PM January 1st

This one is an unarguable classic.  Who isn't afraid of the little boy, Anthony, that can wish people out into the cornfield?  Just think happy thoughts and say happy things, and everything will be ok.  Kids have often unnerved me as they tend to think on different levels as adults and see things very differently.  Sometimes, a kid can just be a creep, and in this episode, little Anthony certainly is.   

8.  "To Serve Man" (Originally Mar 2, 1962) 2020 Marathon - 9:00PM January 1st

Another widely regarded "classic" Twilight Zone episode with a fantastic twist to the story at the end. I'll always have fond memories of this episode when in the 7th grade, with nothing better to do because of the shortened holiday week, my music teacher Mr. Carbone showed us a few Twilight Zone episodes to pass the time, and this is the one he got excited about.  Remember when the teacher would wheel in that giant TV, and you knew that no matter what they showed, it was better than learning?  Yep, good memories.  

7.  "One For The Angels"  (Originally Oct 9, 1959) 2020 Marathon - 6:30AM December 31st

This was actually the second episode in the entire series.  I'm not sure why I always liked this episode, but I first saw it when I was pretty young (maybe 7 or 8), and we had just gotten home from our annual summer vacation in Maine.  In those days, we had to bring the TV with us because the cabin we stayed in for 2 weeks didn't have one.  When we got home, my Dad would often hook up the TV first so that I could stay out of the way while they unpacked the car, and that's where I first saw this episode.

6.  "Stop at Willoughby"  (Originally May 6, 1960) 2020 Marathon - 9:20PM December 31st

Another episode, including a train ride to nowhere, I think everyone knows this episode. Honestly, I wish the next episode was included in the marathon over this one, but it's still a great episode.  I remember watching this back in the 90s when (the then) Sci-Fi Channel began running these marathons over the holidays.  I was at my Grandparents' house, trying to hang out with my Uncle, who was a big Twilight Zone fan.  The travel on the train is originally what piqued my interest, and my young mind was blown during the reveal.  

5.  "Monsters Are Due on Maple Street" (Originally Mar 4, 1960) 2020 Marathon - 8:05PM December 31st

Honestly, this could happen in 2020.  We live in a time where people hold on to sound clips for 4 years to get back at someone and ruin their life at the right moment, and people call the police on their neighbors because they have more than 10 people in their home during the holidays.  This episode is the perfect statement of how hysteria, whipped up through rumors and media, causes more problems than what is really out there.  Enough said before I get myself in trouble.  

4.  "Stop Over In a Quiet Town"  (Originally Apr 24, 1964) 2020 Marathon - ???

I can't find this on the 2020 Marathon schedule, and I'm puzzled.  This is a GREAT episode, and I wish I could put it further down the list closer to one.  A young couple from New York drove home a little buzzed from a party upstate and wake up in a strange place.  The town is deserted, and they finally escape on a train... only to end up right where they started and find they have become pets to a giant-sized child from a different planet.  I'm very annoyed they skipped this episode this year...

3.  "Odyssey of Flight 33"  (Originally Feb 24, 1961) 2020 Marathon - 8:30AM January 1st

Of course, the airline pilot likes the flying-themed episode.  This one I didn't see until much later in life, maybe a handful of years ago.  The thought of this happening, as well as some stories of time travel-through-flight I read as a kid, is terrifying.  I absolutely love the claymation style dinosaurs in this one, as well as the gruff stereotypical 1950's airline Captain.  

2.  "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet"  (Originally Oct 11, 1963) 2020 Marathon - 10:00PM January 1st

There's a man... on the wing!  Another airplane episode and another episode I saw for the first time in that 7th grade music class.  Starring the great William Shatner, this is an absolute classic episode that has been spoofed and quoted by even non-airline folks.  The case of "gremlins" in machinery turns quite real in this episode.  Or was it just in his head?  

1.  "A Most Unusual Camera"  (Originally Dec 16, 1960) 2020 Marathon - 6:00AM January 1st

I know this isn't one of the "great ones" that everyone else loves... but it's my all-time favorite.  I can't describe what it is about it that I love so much.  I try my best (and often fail) at treating others how I want to be treated, and I also firmly believe that in life, for every action, there is an equal reaction (not just the scientific law), so maybe this episode fulfills that belief that you get what you deserve in the end?  I also enjoy the little connection in the main character Paula, played by Jean Carson, to another one of my favorite old shows of the era, The Andy Griffith Show.  Jean was best known for playing one of the "fun girls" named Daphne, but early on, she played an escaped convict in my favorite Andy Griffith episode ever, "Convicts at Large."  


  1. I agree with your top ten, except #5 and 9 ; they are great episodes but wear on me over time - may top 20. The 3 you detest: I agree with 2, not the worst episodes in my book, but certainly not near the top. Bewitching I must disagree with. The other 2: Did you see them too many times? I admit, I change channels too if I have seen episodes too many times... My favorite? Man, I'm not really sure! I own the complete collection, but not sure I have seen every episode out of 158. Last month I saw one I had never seen, after 45 years of watching on TV! Someday I check for sure when I have time, but, if I had to pick #1 now, it would be Willoughby, possibly followed at #2 by Hitchhiker, #3 with Flight 33 then 20,000 feet... Good review !!!! I give it a 9 !!

    1. I'll agree that 5 and 9 can get old at times. I'd consider them some of the "classics" that everyone knows, so they probably get more air time then most. I'm not sure why I don't like the Bewithching Pond... I can remember where I was when I first saw it and it just bored me then and it bores me now. Thanks for reading!