Star Trek writer's brilliant Twilight Zone/Mad Men mashup

Contributed by
Jul 4, 2015, 1:52 PM EDT

I started following Marc Scott Zicree's career long before he wrote some of my favorite episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Babylon 5—back when he was analyzing Twilight Zone episodes in the 1980s magazine of the same name (essays later collected in the indispensable The Twilight Zone Companion).

So I've known for decades that he was someone to watch. But this time he's really outdone himself, with a spec script—which he recently posted over on his site—that imagines a moving encounter between Rod Serling and Mad Men's advertising guru Don Draper.

For those who don't know, spec scripts are written with (usually) no hope that they'll ever get produced, but just to show off how talented a writer is in the hope of getting future assignments. Zicree imagines a meeting between Draper, eager to convince the Twilight Zone creator to go to work as a pitchman, and Serling, depressed over the cancellation of his show.

I hope it doesn't spoil things to tell you that both men come out of the encounter changed for the better—Draper with a rededication to family and Serling with a desire to go on living.

But don't think it's all heavy drama, because there's plenty of fun, too, such as when Draper, who at the beginning of the episode has yet to see a Twilight Zone episode, complains that "It's not exactly like you can watch a TV show anytime you want."

You can give the whole thing a read here. And once you do, you'll know why I hope this spec script gets Zicree whatever gig the guy wants!