The Twilight Zone asks the question, “Can we really have it all?”


The Twilight Zone premiered yesterday on CBS All Access. For those of you that have ever wanted to be famous, the first episode, The Comedian is for you.

The Twilight Zone was always a series of morality plays. Well-written and crafted stories designed by Rod Serling to make an impact but yet entertain. That is why so many of his episodes resonate today. Who can’t identify with “Time enough at last” or chuckle at the dark humor of To Serve Man (“It’s a cookbook”)?

We all feared the Monsters on Maple Street and became wary and paranoid of our neighbors along with Claude Akins. Five decades later we are still talking about this series. It is still relevant. Which brings me to tonight’s free preview of Jordan Peele’s version of the classic program courtesy of CBS All Access.

Honestly, when I saw that Adam Scott was going to step into William Shatner’s shoes and John Lithgow’s as well, I thought do we really have to go there? What can Peele do or say differently that won’t be a carbon copy of Serling’s iconic examination of sanity?

Then I watched The Comedian. An original work that frankly took me by surprise. Up until then, I was only familiar with Kumail Nanjiani from his stand-up and well his work as a comedian. However, who knew beneath that slightly wry, dry sense of humor exterior beat the heart of a serious actor?

The Twilight Zone – Tracy Morgan – Courtesy of CBS, Genre Films and Monkeypaw Productions

Furthermore, Tracy Morgan was downright creepy in his role as a legendary comedian who vanished from the public eye at the height of his success. Honestly, I didn’t know he had that in him at all but then again, everyone wondered the same thing about Jordan Peele after his scary debut movie, Get Out.

For anyone who has ever aspired to become well-known, The Comedian is a poignant story. I have done stand-up comedy in my lifetime. It is a hard gig. Few make a name for themselves and contrary to what people think, you don’t just pick up a microphone and start spouting whatever drivel comes into your head.

You actually think about what you want to say and you hone your routine after numerous rewrites and sets where you fall flat on your face. Nanjiani plays Samir. A struggling funny guy who after 5 years of toiling in a small club still can’t attain the success that he craves.

That is until he has a chance meeting with J.C. Wheeler (Morgan). His idol and comedic genius who fell off the face of the earth. However, he imparts some advice that Samir takes to heart. Using his newfound skills, he achieves what he thought he wanted in his life.

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Followers on Facebook, front page headlines on entertainment sites and random strangers wanting selfies and declaring their love, is this really the stuff of dreams? Sure, we all think that we want the accolades. Especially us creative types.

We thrive on acceptance of our work. After all, it comes from the very deepest recesses of our being. But what or who are we willing to sacrifice to achieve those goals?

This is what Jordan Peele examines within the confines of The Comedian’s storyline. You can’t help but wonder if maybe he has interjected his own treatise on fame into the proceedings.

For those of you who are saying, “Peele is no Serling.” This is a true statement. However, he isn’t trying to be. He is just trying to tell stories that cut to the core and speak from the heart. In that way, he is just like Mr. Serling.

Have you streamed The Twilight Zone yet? What do you think of Jordan Peele’s ambitious undertaking? Let us know in the comments. We want to hear from you.