“The ultimate obscenity is not caring, not doing something about what you feel, not feeling! Just drawing back and drawing in; becoming narcissistic.” – Rod Serling
December 25 is the birthday of a television pioneer, Rod Serling. Naturally, it goes unnoticed because he “shares” the same birthday of that guy who invented that religion. You know, he used to drive that blue car.
And while I like That Guy as much as any religious or spiritual person, I wanted to give Rod Serling a Night Thread. He’s a man I feel a kinship with, also being a skinny writer who only typed with his pointer fingers. He was also a BADASS.
He lived 50 years, risking his life multiple times during his military service, and deserved a longer lifespan. His main contribution to television was “The Twilight Zone,” a series that started in 1959 and lasted for 5 years on CBS which earned raves for its storytelling, its supernatural vibe and the moral questions it often asked. It’s one of the best shows of all time, and even those who disliked TV praised the show, and 4 of its 5 seasons are currently available on Netflix.
In her memoir of Rod Serling, his daughter says that his persona of the “angry young man” was exaggerated and that he was far more carefree, particularly when around his family, than he was portrayed to be. However, he stood his ground against injustice and those who wanted to interfere with his show or ideas, and that is how he often came to be known. He didn’t waver from his stances, was persistent and embodied integrity. Every once in a while in a “TZ” episode, you’ll see his sense of humor.
My own personal favorites are basically polar opposites in tone: “The Changing of the Guard” (possibly the series’ most heartwarming episode) and “The Midnight Sun” (certainly one of the series’ most terrifying). “Jeopardy!” champion Ken Jennings has also talked about the latter being one of his favorites. And I’ll go to bat for some of the episodes that are most often criticized, too.
Current Netflix show “Black Mirror” has been compared to “TZ” a myriad of times, and recently it was announced that comedian and writer/director Jordan Peele would be rebooting the series. I personally am cautiously optimistic about what he can do with it.
We could use more people like Rod Serling today. So this is my appreciative night thread dedicated to him.