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Rod Serling Was Completely Unprepared For The Twilight Zone's First Emmy Win

Rod Serling Was Completely Unprepared For The Twilight Zone's First Emmy Win

Serling’s “The Twilight Zone” was not a run-of-the-mill anthology series that introduced twists for the sake of it — it ushered in an era of network television where everyday issues were molded into sharp allegories about the present and future. American screenwriter Vince Gilligan, who worked on prestigious shows such as “The X-Files” and “Breaking Bad,” talked about Serling’s unforgettable legacy and the absolute gift that “The Twilight Zone” was for the field of speculative fiction (via Cinephilia & Beyond): 

“You want your work to be remembered. You want it to outlive you. My favorite show ever was ‘The Twilight Zone’ and I think about Rod Serling … It long outlived him — he passed away in 1975 — but kids who haven’t been born yet will know the phrase ‘the twilight zone,’ and hopefully will be watching those wonderful episodes.”

Serling’s passion for taking a stand against persistent social ills, such as the rampant rise of soulless capitalism and the use of war for political gains, was channeled into bite-sized episodes that never feel moralizing. From time to time, Serling injected comedy into his writing, leading to stories that leaned into humor while embracing the strange and the absurd. Many of the more serious episodes, such as “Where Is Everybody?” and “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” deal with visceral human fears, and how they shape us as societies functioning under a system that is so acutely flawed and broken.

Serling went on to receive another Emmy for his writing for “The Twilight Zone” a year after his first win, and was posthumously inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1985. While many a screenwriter has been influenced and shaped by Serling’s show since then, “The Twilight Zone” still endures, years after its final episode aired on June 19, 1964.

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