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Learn how The Twilight Zone reboot built a shared universe within an anthology format
Let us help you enter that dimension of sight, sound, and mind, shall we? SYFY WIRE is debuting an exclusive, behind-the-scenes snippet from the home-video release of The Twilight Zone Season 1, and before that arrives next week, take a deep dive into the CBS All Access reimagining from producers Jordan Peele (he also serves as host and narrator) and Simon Kinberg.
In our exclusive clip from the two-part documentary entitled Crossing Over: Living in the Twilight Zone, Kinberg and supervising producer/writer Heather Anne Campbell explain how the 2019 reboot of Rod Serling's beloved anthology series was able to create something of a shared mythos, even when the episodes were disconnected from one another. Moreover, they reveal that the stories being told within this iteration of the show all take place within another universe/reality.
"There are some rules to The Twilight Zone," executive producer Win Rosenfeld tells SYFY WIRE. "Our characters aren't aware of them, but if audiences are paying attention, they can start to put them together. Each episode appears to exist in a different world, but there's a lot more to it than that."
Check it out below:
As Rosenfeld says, you'll spot little connections in each episode if you're paying close attention. Specifically, the show is very adept at hiding little easter eggs and callbacks to Serling's original iteration — from the gremlin mask seen in "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" (1963) to Willie the puppet in "The Dummy" (1962) to the fortune-telling machine William Shatner uses in "Nick of Time" (1960).
For all its love of the past, however, this retelling is still committed to shining a light on modern issues and fears just like its predecessor.
"The biggest challenge is maintaining the classic vibe of the original but simultaneously not making it seem like an artifact," adds Rosenfeld, who is also the president of Peele's production company, Monkeypaw. "This is a central consideration while creating this show. We want to convey the mood, tone, and themes of the original but do so through a modern lens."
Luckily, the production received invaluable input from Rod's family members, like the creator's wife, Carol Serling, who served as an executive producer prior to her passing last month.
"The entire Serling family [has] been amazingly supportive and served as true guideposts through The Twilight Zone," continued Rosenfeld. "After all, it will ultimately always be Rod's dimension."
Season 1 of The Twilight Zone hits DVD and Blu-ray formats next Tuesday, Feb. 18.
Aside from all 10 episodes (presented in full color and black and white) and Crossing Over, the home-video release also includes another documentary, called Remembering Rod Serling; a full-length music video from Episode 5 ("The Wunderkind"); a litany of deleted and extended scenes; a gag reel; and audio commentaries for “Replay,” “Not All Men,” and “Blurryman."
A second season of The Twilight Zone reboot is already in the works.
"We are tackling some heady stuff this season, particularly with respect to what it means to exist and how identity is both central to our lives and also a construct. I think we're more introspective this season, but, at the same time, also more fun," teases Rosenfeld.