ByJason Travis, writer at Creators.co
OSCAR JUNKIE
Jason Travis

As a huge fan of the series, I give you my personal analysis and nominees for this legendary show. Feel free to pick winners, add commentary or write up your own nominees.

BEST PICTURE

  • The After Hours
  • Eye of the Beholder
  • Five Characters in Search of an Exit
  • It's a Good Life
  • The Masks
  • The Midnight Sun
  • Monsters are Due on Maple Street
  • Shadow Play
  • Time Enough at Last
  • To Serve Man

With five seasons and 156 episodes, it's hard to narrow this brilliant show down to just ten entries. Still, the 10 I selected probably represent the best of the series. Surprise for nominees like Shadow Play, about a man suffering from the same nightmare over and over. And The Midnight Sun, about two women trapped in a New York city apartment while the world outside gets hotter and hotter.

BEST ACTOR

  • Martin Balsam, The New Exhibit
  • James Daly, A Stop at Willoughby
  • Jack Klugman, In Praise of Pip
  • Burgess Meredith, Time Enough at Last
  • William Shatner, Nick of Time
  • Dennis Weaver, Shadow Play

Klugman (above) gives arguably the most heartbreaking performance, and it's a tender and powerful episode. Daly is in one of the darkest episodes of the series and his subtle performance is showcased very notably. Balsam, Shatner and Weaver are all good at displaying different layers of madness and Meredith is gold in his finest hour.

BEST ACTRESS

  • Joan Blondell, What's in the Box
  • Gladys Cooper, Night Call
  • Anne Francis, The After Hours
  • Maggie McNamara, Ring-a-Ding Girl
  • Agnes Moorehead, The Invaders
  • Barbara Nichols, Twenty Two

This juicy list of talented women includes Bewitched star Moorehead (above) as a woman tormented by an invasion of twist proportions. What makes her performance even more haunting is that she never speaks a word. A tour de force in the best regard. There's also sultry Barbara Nichols in a Marilyn Monroe-esque woman who thinks she's losing her mind. Joan Blondell is a lot of fun as a bitter housewife who never fails to get into aggressive fights with her cheating husband. McNamara is lovely as a movie star whose in for the shock of her career. And Cooper and Francis both appear in creepy episodes in which both are under the wrong impression for what's real, and what isn't.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Sebastian Cabot, A Nice Place to Visit
  • Robin Hughes, The Howling Man
  • Sandy Kenyon, The Shelter
  • Murray Matheson, Five Characters in Search of an Exit
  • Lennie Weinrib, Miniature
  • Jack Weston, Monsters are Due on Maple Street

Cabot is pitch-perfect as a "guardian" angel for a crook who's now entered the afterlife. Hughes delivers in his wicked portrayal of good vs. evil, while Kenyon and Weston show their personalities in harsh lights. Weinrib and Matheson meanwhile provide comic relief in fine fashion. Matheson in particular is fantastic in an off-the-wall performance, literally.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Jacqueline deWit, Time Enough at Last
  • Betty Garde, The Midnight Sun
  • Pert Kelton, Miniature
  • Muriel Landers, A Piano in the House
  • Suzanne Lloyd, Perchance to Dream
  • Jeanette Nolan, Jess-Belle

A fine diversion of performances. Jacqueline deWit does so much in under five minutes of screentime. As the shrewish wife of Burgess Meredith, she is domineering and unloving- and hates any man who would want to read her poetry. Garde is spot-on as the landlord in an apartment that's hotter then the rent. She is truly remarkable with her descent into destruction. Nolan is fun as the town witch and Kelton plays the overbearing mother like no one else. But it's Suzanne Lloyd (above) whose sexual energy and creepy undertones makes her nomination arguably the best of the bunch. Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman better watch out for this one. Or Muriel Landers, who is a sight to see as a sad figure who does a song a dance- literally.

BEST DIRECTOR

  • An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, Robert Enrico
  • Eye of the Beholder, Douglas Heyes
  • The Masks, Ida Lupino
  • Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, Richard Donner
  • Time Enough at Last, John Brahm
  • What You Need, Alvin Ganzer

Intimidate environments were always key for this series, and I think Lupino and Heyes really get into the viewer's mind with their interpretation of how atmosphere and tight surroundings can be scary as hell. As the only woman nominee, Lupino outdoes herself with a simple story that she masters with exceptional polish. Enrico's entry was an Oscar nominee, and should be noted as one of the best of the series as a man facing death confronts his wife one last time. Ganzer is great at employing a fun story and still making it brisk and witty. And Donner and Brahm direct lead actors into compelling storylines.

BEST WRITING

  • Eye of the Beholder, Rod Serling
  • Rip Van Winkle Caper, Rod Serling
  • Shadow Play, Charles Beaumont
  • Time Enough at Last, Lynn Venable & Rod Serling
  • To Serve Man, Damon Knight & Rod Serling
  • Walking Distance, Rod Serling

"It's a cook book!" Is probably one of the most recognizable quotes of the entire series, and therefore I couldn't pass on honoring it's writing. While Serling is the deserving backbone for the bulk of the screenplays, don't forget about Charles Beaumont- who's contributions included his harrowing and daring work with Shadow Play. Of Serling's scripts, Walking Distance might be his most personal ever penned.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
  • An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
  • Eye of the Beholder
  • I Am the Night, Color Me Black
  • The Obsolete Man
  • Perchance to Dream
  • To Serve Man

With such a limited budget, it's amazing what the photographers were able to conjure up. Take The Obsolete Man (above)- and tell me this isn't a masterful shot and an episode that showcased aesthetic values in cinematography better then big screen movies.

BEST ART DIRECTION - SET DECORATION

  • A Nice Place to Visit
  • The Howling
  • Judgment Night
  • Number 12 Looks Just Like You
  • Time Enough at Last
  • Where Is Everybody?
BEST COSTUME DESIGN

  • A Short Drink from a Certain Fountain
  • Back There
  • The Chaser
  • I Dream of Genie
  • Miniature
  • The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine

The Twilight Zone was known for a lot of things, but Costume Design was not one of them. Surprisingly in all 156 episodes, it's hard to find designs that stand out. Take The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine (above); arguably the strongest demonstration of nice gowns for a fading star, it still felt lacking in digging up memorable stock. Miniature relies on the woman living in the dollhouse to pose her outfits, while A Short Drink from a Certain Fountain and The Chaser have sexy wear for their leading lady.

BEST FILM EDITING
  • The After Hours
  • An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
  • A Stop at Willoughby
  • Monsters are Due on Maple Street
  • Shadow Play
  • Time Enough at Last
BEST USE OF MUSIC

  • A Passage for Trumpet
  • The Jungle
  • The Masks
  • The Midnight Sun
  • Nightmare at 20,000 Feet
  • Time Enough at Last

Music for the series was, on the contrary, very admirable and important to the episodes. Two categories- Use of Music (Episodes where Music was an essence) and Original Score. A Passage for Trumpet (above) lets jazz music be the centerfold for the main character's existence. Likewise, legendary composers like Bernard Herrmann and Jerry Goldsmith produced some of the most frightening and powerful music ever for their nominated work below.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

  • Back There, Jerry Goldsmith
  • Eye of the Beholder, Bernard Herrmann
  • The Lonely, Bernard Herrmann
  • The Invaders, Jerry Goldsmith
  • A Stop at Willoughby, Nathan Scott
  • Walking Distance, Bernard Herrmann

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

  • The Dummy
  • Judgment Night
  • The Little People
  • Nightmare at 20,000 Feet
  • The Purple Testament
  • To Serve Man
BEST SOUND
  • The Changing of the Guard
  • Death Ship
  • The Howling Man
  • Monsters are Due on Maple Street
  • Time Enough at Last
  • To Serve Man
  • BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING
  • Deaths-Head Revisited
  • Eye of the Beholder
  • The Howling Man
  • The Long Morrow
  • The Masks
  • The New Exhibit
LIGHTING EFFECTS

  • Eye of the Beholder
  • Five Characters in Search of an Exit
  • The Invaders
  • The Purple Testament
  • Third from the Sun
  • The Trade-Ins

Like Cinematography, Lighting is also vital with this show. The Purple Testament (above) is about a man who see's people's fates with a brightness upon their face. Creepy and brilliant. The Invaders, Five Characters in Search of an Exit and Eye of the Beholders take their lighting to claustrophobic environments.

OUTSTANDING ENSEMBLE

  • A Penny for Your Thoughts
  • Five Characters In Search of an Exit
  • It's a Good Life
  • The Masks
  • Monsters are Due on Maple Street
  • Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?
OUTSTANDING TWIST
  • A Nice Place to Visit
  • A Stop at Willoughby
  • Eye of the Beholder
  • Five Characters in Search of an Exit
  • The Invaders
  • The Silence
  • Time Enough at Last
  • To Serve Man

Latest from our Creators