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Transcript - Top 10 Twilight Zone Episodes

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James: You're traveling through another dimension. In this dimension lies the greatest television show in existence…

Rod Sterling: This is "The Twilight Zone". 

James: Beyond its tongue-in-cheek science fiction exterior, we uncover a kind of wisdom; supernatural stories that reflect real human trials. A core that brings the perfect harmony of both fantasy and reality. In the chilling space that separates the dawn from the dusk, between the dark and the light we find the surreal gray matter of Rod Serling's genius. Submitted for your approval I'm counting down my favorite episodes. I won't give away the endings, so sit back and go into that wondrous dimension that's only limits are of the mind itself. You just crossed over into the "Top 10 Twilight Zone episodes". 

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#10 - The Little People

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James: Two voyagers are stranded on a deserted planet of rocks and dust. But it turns out it's not deserted – there's a whole population of people the size of ants. The commander wants to get the ship running and get off the planet, but the co-pilot is too preoccupied with living his dream; being a god to the little people. 

Navigator Peter Craig: The little people did that. They did it over night… 

Cmdr. William Fletcher: What did you give them in return, Craig? 

Navigator Peter Craig: I won't tramp my feet down… on their town. 

James: What an ego. The pleasure of this episode comes from watching the men argue and seeing the co-pilot go insane with power. An exaggerated story but it finds truth in man's desire to control all that around him. 

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#9 - Printer's Devil

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James: This is a story of a down-and-out newspaper editor on the verge of suicide. But a mysteries man greets him from the dark and turns his failure into fortune. His newspaper business becomes a booming success, but there's one stipulation – this guy is the Devil. It may seem cliché but it's actually done pretty well. He doesn't really claim he's the Devil but allows others to assume it. In fact he says he's just a crazy old man and by that offering him his soul would just be humoring him. 

Mr. Smith: Well, for the sake of argument, let's say I'm something of a connoisseur, and you have a very choice soul and as the vintners say "It's a good year". 

James: This is one of four "Twilight Zone" episodes Burgess Meredith was in, but this is the only one where he's the bad guy. His performance is amazing. Just look at that wicked smile, chewing on that beat-up cigar. Whenever he's in a scene, you can't take your eyes off him. Sometimes it's just all about having a great villain and what better villain could there be than the Devil, played by Burgees Meredith? 

Douglas Winter: You're nuts. 

Mr. Smith: Yeah… Let's drink to that, huh? 

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#8 - The Masks

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James: A dying, old man is visited by his family who want nothing more than to inherent his fortune. His final wish is for them to wear grotesque masks until midnight. Masks that reflects the greed that lies beneath the whiney, ruthless characters that they are. 

Emily Harper: Are you feeling weaker, father? 

Jason Foster: At last a note of hope in your voice, Emily. 

Emily Harper: Why must you always say such miserable, cruel things to me?!? 

James: The bulk of this episode is just a brutal onslaught of harsh words. 

Jason Foster: His pleasure is the giving of pain and from this he receives the same sense of fulfillment most human beings get from a kiss or an embrace! 

James: This guy on the brink of his own death breaks these people down and exposes them for what they are… It's beautiful. 

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#7 - The Silence

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James: Here we witness a bet – a guy who talks too much is offered half a million dollars to shut up for a whole year. That means he has to spend the entire year locked in a room. If he speaks a single word he looses the wager. The other guy keeps taunting him, trying everything he can to make him talk. He even stoops as low to say his wife is out cheating on him. It's all about dirty tricks and neither one of these men have intentions of playing it honest. And that's why it's so riveting. 

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#6 - What's in the Box

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James: Okay, this is the closest I'm gonna come to reveal the whole plot – you'll see why. What we have here is a bickering husband and wife; the most unhappy marriage ever. 

Joe Britt: Ah, shut up.

Phyllis Britt: OKAY! OKAY! 

Joe Britt: Who do you two think you're fooling with?!? 

Phyllis Britt: Meanwhile, you get in bed. 

James: At one point the husband actually tries to make up and says "I love you", but that only makes things worse. 

Joe Britt: It's you I'm in love with… 

Phyllis Britt: I'd take a butcher knife to you if you weren't in bed and out of your right mind. 

Joe Britt: Who's out of his right mind?!? 

Phyllis Britt: You are!!! 

James: What's this woman's problem? She's such a horrible bitch. On the TV the husband sees premonition of what's to come and what we see is an epic battle! Talk about domestic violence; they destroy the whole living room. The real reason this makes my top 10 is because of this one moment… Watch. 

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James: No matter how many times I see it I can't believe it! Not only does he punch her right square in the face – she crashes through the window to her death!? This happens to be one episode that falls flat on having any kind of morale value. There's no second chance and no hope for this doomed couple. 

TV repairman: Huh… You can't win 'em all… 

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#5 - It's a Good Life

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James: This is another one with a lot of comedic value. It's about a nasty kid who's born with supernatural powers. The family around him is trapped into doing whatever he says, in constant fear that he's going to do horrible things to them. 

Mr. Fremont: Anthony, are… Are you making it snow? 

Anthony: Yes, I'm making it snow. 

Mr. Fremont: Why, that will ruin half the crops! You know that, don't you?! Half the crops! That's what… 

Mrs. Fremont: Dad… 

Mr. Fremont: … But it's good that you're making it snow, Anthony. It's real good. 

James: It's funny watching grown adults being brought down to the juvenile control of a child. For half the time you find yourself laughing because of how nervous this makes you feel. The tension just keeps accelerating. 

Anthony: Don't make any noise when the music's playing… I don't like any noise when the music's playing! 

James: And I can't help but feel it's trying to make some kind of comment on society maybe, how everybody acts the same way and nobody wants to dare be the one who break the mold. 

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#4 - Eye of the Beholder

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James: The whole episode takes place in a dark hospital room. A woman with an abnormal face is undergoing some kind of plastic surgery. All she wants is to look normal and not be outcast as some sort of freak. There's a lot of sadness here. Great acting, great camerawork. But what's the payoff? Why is it so good? You really just have to see it… 

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#3 - A Game of Pool

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James: Here we have a pool shark who wants nothing more than to be the best at something. He wishes for a chance to challenge the pool champion, Fats Brown. Only problem; Fats is dead. But this is the Twilight Zone, so he gets his wish. But not without being put under some pretty tight pressure, for this is a game of life and death. This episode couldn't be simpler; it's just two guys playing pool. But the dialogue is so well-written – the conversation goes so deep to even touch upon the very meaning of life. We have a topnotch performance by Jack Klugman as the bitter challenger who just wants his respect and Jonathan Winters as the calm champion willing to give a chance to pass his torch and words of wisdom. 

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#2 - Living Doll

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James: A strict stepfather is angry when his wife and daughter come home with an expensive talking doll. The guy is an asshole. 

Christie Streator: Daddy, Daddy, please… 

Erich Streator: I'm not your 'Daddy'! 

James: But you can sympathize with him because the doll starts saying mean things. 

Talking Tina: My name is Talking Tina and I don't think I like you. 

James: It's almost like the doll is the child's personal protector, but nobody believes what's happening. It only happens when the father is alone. He tries destroying the thing, but it doesn't work and only causes more friction with his family. The suspense develops at a steady pace, moving along carefully and ambiguous enough that we wonder wether the doll is really talking, his family is playing tricks or if it's just in his mind. 

Erich Streator: Hello? 

Talking Tina: My name is Talking Tina and I'm going to kill you… 

James: It's easy to think of a living doll gimmick as an old cliché, but here it's done very well. It's a terrifying and disturbing episode that still haunts me to this very day. 

And now for my #1 favorite episode… 

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#1 - Walking Distance

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Martin Sloan: Yeah, that's walking distance. 

James: It's about a tired businessman who, while waiting for his car at the mechanic, goes for a little walk to pass the time. He ends up at the old neighborhood where he used to live as a child and he finds the place just the same as he last saw it. He realizes he has actually stepped back in time to witness his own youth. He embraces it with sentimental longing, but the world he has left won't embrace him back. This episode leaves you with a bittersweet feeling and you can relate to it. Everybody at some point wants to go back to their past, but this episode tells you how important it is to live your life in the present. 

Robert Sloan: You've been looking behind you, Martin. Try looking ahead. 

James: I don't know how else to explain it but I just feel touched by it and it makes it my favorite Twilight Zone. With 156 episodes and so many excellent ones to choose from it had to come down to some kind of personal preference. But wether your "Top 10" would be very different from mine, one thing stays the same. The show has a powerful impact in both entertainment and psychological value. It was way ahead of its time. I'm sure you're already familiar with the show but maybe haven't seen some of these episodes. I highly recommend you give them a watch next time you enter "The Twilight Zone". 

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