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SYFY WIRE Rod Serling

The Only Twilight Zone Episode with Its Own Sequel

Just one classic episode of The Twilight Zone was lucky enough to get a canonical sequel.

By Matthew Jackson
Anthony Fremont (Bill Mumy) points a finger in The Twilight Zone Episode 308.

There are many, many enduring episodes from the original run of The Twilight Zone. They've been parodied, referenced, given tributes, and sometimes even remade for new generations, whether we're talking about "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" or "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street." But in five seasons and more than 150 episodes, there's only one Twilight Zone episode to ever get an official onscreen sequel. 

RELATED: Rod Serling's Daughters Reveal Their Favorite Episodes of The Twilight Zone

"It's a Good Life," adapted by series creator Rod Serling from the short story of the same name by Jerome Bixby, aired in the fall of 1961, early in The Twilight Zone's third season, and over the years has been recognized as one of the most frightening and iconic episodes of the original run. Set in a small town in Ohio, the episode stars Bill Mumy as a gifted boy named Anthony and Cloris Leachman as his overwhelmed mother, Agnes. Given the ability to bend all reality to his will, Anthony uses his powers not for good, but for his own selfish ends, burning his fellow townsfolk alive if they displease him, turning them into living toys, and even sending people into the surrounding cornfields, never to be seen again. 

RELATED: This Iconic Twilight Zone Villain Was Even More Terrifying in the Original Short Story

The episode has gone down in history as one of the greatest Twilight Zone stories of all time, and was one of four episodes chosen to be remade for 1983's Twilight Zone: The Movie, in a segment directed by Joe Dante. Serling himself even considered making a feature film version of the story, though he died before it ever came to fruition. It's an extremely well known piece of TV history, but what's less known is that it ended up getting a sequel. 

RELATED: How One Writer's Real-Life Fears Inspired a Twilight Zone Episode

In 2003, the second revival version of The Twilight Zone aired "It's Still a Good Life," a sequel to "It's a Good Life" written by Ira Steven Behr. The story picks up four decades after the original episode, and stars Mumy and Leachman as aged versions of Anthony and Agnes. In the sequel, Anthony has a daughter named Audrey (played by Liliana Mumy, Bill Mumy's real-life daughter) who has powers of her own, powers so strong they might dwarf his own. Anthony's still holding sway over his Ohio hometown, forcing everyone to think nice things about him or else, but Audrey's own growing powers might change everything. 

Though it ran for 43 episodes on UPN, the 2002 revival of The Twilight Zone has been largely forgotten by all but devoted fans of the franchise, sandwiched as it is between the more successful 1980s revival and the modern update developed by Jordan Peele. Still, watching the original episode, then tracking down its follow-up, makes for a unique viewing experience even by Twilight Zone standards.

The Twilight Zone airs regularly on SYFY. Check the schedule for more details.