'The Twilight Zone' Is Getting A Reboot & Jordan Peele Is The Perfect Person To Bring It Into 2017
TV is about to enter another dimension, and this one may come courtesy of Jordan Peele. On Thursday, Variety reported that a Twilight Zone reboot is in the works at CBS All Access— the network's new streaming service — and the breakout director is in talks to helm the project. It's unclear if the show has received a straight-to-series deal, or is merely in development. CBS declined to confirm Peele's involvement to Variety, but undisclosed sources told the outlet he's in line to executive produce, with Marco Ramirez (The Defenders, Daredevil) serving as showrunner. Given the spate of reboots currently flooding the small screen, it may seem ill-advised to revive such a venerated classic — especially one that's already been repurposed several times over — but if it must be done, Peele seems like the right person for the job.
Though up until this year he was primarily known for his work in comedy, Peele has proved himself as a chameleonic writer-producer, primarily with his February sleeper hit, Get Out. Like many a Twilight Zone episode, the film hinged upon an ingenious plot twist, and brilliantly pushed the limits of genre, shifting from heart-pounding thriller to masterful social satire. And with astonishing success: The movie was both a critical and financial sensation, taking in a staggering $253 million at the worldwide box office and nabbing rave reviews along the way. Nine months after its release, it still holds a coveted 99 percent rating on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes. Peele, of course, will bring a fresh interpretation to Twilight Zone, but tonally, viewers should expect something in Get Out's vein.
For the uninitiated, The Twilight Zone could best be compared to a vintage Black Mirror. It was created by Rob Serling (who pulled double duty as the show's host/narrator), and originally ran for five seasons from 1959-1964. Its stories spun sci-fi, fantasy, and Kafka-eqsue tales about characters that find themselves in strange, inexplicable scenarios. Often, episodes ended with a moralistic twist. In "The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street," the residents of a neighborhood begin hurling paranoid accusations at one another after losing electricity, only to pan out and reveal that alien spaceship has simply been toying with them to see how quickly they'd turn on each other. In "The Eye Of The Beholder," a desperate woman undergoes numerous surgeries in an attempt to look more "normal," only to be revealed that she's actually quite beautiful by societal standards, and it's the doctors that are ugly.
CBS All Access's take on Twilight Zone will mark the fourth time the series has been rebooted in some way, and with varying payoff. In 1983, Steven Spielberg, Joe Landis, George Miller, and Joe Dante teamed for Twilight Zone: The Movie, a theatrical homage to the show that drew in a lukewarm reception. Two years later, CBS greenlit a serialized reboot that aired from 1985 to 1989, and in 2002, UPN revived it once again for a short-lived run from 2002 to 2003. Each time, they were adapted to reflect the modern world, trading themes like extraterrestrial fears for government conspiracies and threats of terrorism. But the original show is unequivocally the most beloved (and remembered).
It's always difficult to approach a property as treasured as The Twilight Zone, but Peele is arguably one of this decade's most exciting creators, and assuming he is, indeed, attached, it's not a stretch to think he could rekindle the cult following The Twilight Zone once had. As of now, he has a few other projects on deck — TBS comedy The Last O.G., puppet horror Abruptio — but hopefully, The Twilight Zone will land in his camp. In someone else's hands, it might not fare the same.