National Twilight Zone Day is on May 11 and we are celebrating with more science fiction, horror, supernatural drama, and unexpected twists than you could shake a fifth-dimensional stick at. Widely considered one of the greatest television shows of all time, “The Twilight Zone” has led to a number of spin-offs and derivatives, including graphic novels, movies, radio series, board games, and more. On May 11 we can dive into the show’s 60-year history and what it has meant to viewers and fans across the globe.
History of National Twilight Zone Day
The 1950s had seen an explosion in science-fiction-themed television and radio shows. But perhaps none has had a greater impact on popular culture than “The Twilight Zone,” which debuted in 1959.
The series was created by a young writer named Rod Serling. It delved into several different genres, including science fiction, comedy, drama, and horror. Serling would often lean on his personal experiences in boxing, the military, and as an airplane pilot, as story ideas for the show. He also served as the narrator in each episode, acting as an almost omnipresent figure that was witnessing the events of the “Twilight Zone.”
After a five-year run, the show ended in 1964. It would remain dormant until 1983 when famed director Steven Spielberg helmed a movie adaptation of the original show. In 1985 it returned to television when CBS developed a reboot that would last for four years. Further reincarnations were developed in 2002 and 2019, following a similar structure to the original.
Over the years, “The Twilight Zone” inspired many science fiction shows and remains a fixture in modern pop culture to this day.
National Twilight Zone Day timeline
The first season of "The Twilight Zone" debuts on television.
"The Twilight Zone: The Movie" is released, starring Dan Aykroyd and John Lithgow.
After creator Rod Serling sells his share in the franchise to CBS years earlier, a television reboot is launched by CBS.
Actor, writer, and comedian Jordan Peele serves as host and executive producer of a new "The Twilight Zone" television show.
National Twilight Zone Day FAQs
Why is May 11th Twilight Zone Day?
Just like the mysterious events of the show, we do not know why Twilight Zone Day is celebrated on May 11.
Why was the Twilight Zone canceled?
When the show was unable to find a sponsor, CBS executive James T. Aubrey canceled it, as he wasn’t a fan of it in the first place.
What is the scariest episode of the Twilight Zone?
“The Howling Man” is considered the scariest episode in “The Twilight Zone” series.
How to celebrate National Twilight Zone Day
Play a board game!
Released in 1964, the official “Twilight Zone” board game is an extension of the television show. Be the first player to move their marker along the road to reality, while traveling through the Twilight Zone.
Host a television marathon
With over 60 years of television shows and reboots to choose from, May 11 is the perfect day to sit down and watch some of your favorite episodes. From time travel to alien cuisine, there is a Twilight Zone episode for nearly every science-fiction topic you can imagine.
Take a course
A number of colleges and universities provide science fiction classes. It’s a great way to further your education and learn more about the world of science fiction. While “The Twilight Zone” may be the most popular interpretation of the genre, there are countless other shows, movies, and novels to discover.
5 Facts About The Twilight Zone That Will Blow Your Mind
Inspiring a new generation of shows
Popular British science-fiction show "Black Mirror" was inspired by "The Twilight Zone."
Top five shows of all-time
In 2013, TV Guide ranked the original “Twilight Zone” series as the fifth-best television series ever.
The Simpsons love it
Over the years “The Simpsons” have referenced or spoofed "The Twilight Zone" in 18 episodes.
Theme park attraction
Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando has a "The Twilight Zone" Tower of Terror ride for visitors.
Emmy award winner
The original show won three Emmys for writing and cinematography.
Why we love the Twilight Zone
What made "The Twilight Zone" unique in its time was the ability to use science fiction to make comments on present-day issues. Episodes routinely covered topics like nuclear war, philosophical dilemmas, and current events. Television networks seemed to give more leeway to science fiction than to other more traditional dramas of the day.
Getting in touch with your imagination
What has been enduring about "The Twilight Zone" is that the audience’s imagination can run wild. Whether it’s playing against a legendary deceased pool player, aliens arriving on earth, or a device that tells the future, each episode allows your mind to wander.
Nearly every story is a standalone
While most television shows pride themselves on long-running story arcs and character development over multiple episodes and seasons, that has never been the case in "The Twilight Zone." Nearly every episode is self-contained, focusing on the story and plot of that timeline, never to be revisited in a future episode.
National Twilight Zone Day dates