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Television series with references to The Twilight Zone

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The following is a list of TV series which have featured homages, parodies or references to the Twilight Zone.

The most common use of a reference to "The Twilight Zone" in a television series is to denote an event —or series of events— that is taking a strange or unnatural turn, similar to the use of the phrase "...we're not in Kansas anymore" from The Wizard of Oz. In parodies, it is also not uncommon to see mimicry of the iconic Rod Serling introduction to the episodes from The Twilight Zone (Original Series).

Action/AdventureEdit

  • The A-Team (1983-1987)
  • Hannibal mentions The Twilight Zone in the episode "Cowboy George" (1986).
  • The Flash (1990-1991)
  • "Double Vision" (1990) tells the story of a policeman who feels the case could be straight out of the Twilight Zone because of its seemingly supernatural nature.

AnimationEdit

  • Animaniacs (1993-1998)
  • In "The Flame/Four Score and Seven Migraines Ago/Wakko's America" (1993), the Animaniacs parody the opening sequence to this show on a train, the floating objects on a black background can be seen in the window.
  • Family Guy (1999-2002, 2005- )
  • In an episode the episode "Love Thy Trophy" (2000), the neighborhood argues over who stole the Golden Clam trophy in a manner similar to "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street". Rod Serling then comes on screen narrating until Peter accuses him of stealing the trophy and then throws a rock at him. Then, the whole gang chases after him. Later, it is revealed that Brian had it the whole time. When Rod begins narrating about Brian and what he's doing, Brian hits him in the back of the head with a shovel (seeing him as a potential witness) and presumably buries him in the yard.
  • In another episode, "Wasted Talent" (2000), Peter drinks excessively, and after proclaiming that he's sure there will be no lasting effect, the camera zooms into Peter's brain. Only one brain cell remains, wearing glasses, who calls out and happily finds that he's alone with his books. Upon reaching for the first book, his glasses fall off and break, at which point the lone brain cell delivers Henry Bemis' famous line from "Time Enough at Last", "That's–that's not fair. That's not fair at all. There was time now. There was, was all the time I needed... ! It's not fair!"
  • "Meet the Quagmires" (2007) has a scene in which Peter asks Brian if he's ever seen an episode of the show.
  • Futurama (1999-2003)
  • In an episode of Futurama, "I Dated a Robot" (2001), The Twilight Zone is parodied as "The Scary Door", a show seen watched by Fry and other characters. The Twilight Zone episode referenced is "Time Enough at Last", Henry Bemis (Burgess Meredith's character) is seen in a library. As he says "there is time at last" his glasses break. When he says he "can read large print" his eyes fall out. When he says he "can read braille" his hands fall off. Then he screams and his tongue falls out and then he becomes decapitated, prompting Bender to say he "Saw it coming."
  • "Spanish Fry" (2003) again features the show within a show "The Scary Door," a spoof of The Twilight Zone.
  • "The Scary Door" appears again in "Bender's Game" (2008).
  • "Mother's Day" (2000) contains a scene in which master robot control has buttons labeled "SERVE MAN (REGULAR)" and "SERVE MAN (IRONIC)," referring to the episode "To Serve Man" and its eventually ironic book title.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy (2001-2007)
  • The Twilight Zone was parodied in the episode called "The Billy Zone." During the show, you can see a cartoon version of Rod Serling, and who is beat up at the end.
  • Grim & Evil (2001-?)
  • In "Runaway Pants/Scythe 2.0" (2005), the episode opens with a look at "The Billy Zone", complete with a Rod Serling-type narrator.
  • House of Rock (2000-2002)
  • The episode "The Twilight Zone" is named after the show.[1]
  • Johnny Bravo (1997-2004)
  • The episode "The Day the World Didn't Move Around Very Much," written by Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, is a loose parody of "A Kind of a Stopwatch" with the titular character asking himself if he is in the Twilight Zone at one point.
  • Muppet Babies (1984-1990)
  • "Muppet Babies: The Next Generation" (1990) has the line, "Are you sure this isn't the Twilight Zone?"[1]
  • The Simpsons (1989- )
  • Homer mentions the show in "Homer of Seville" (2007).
  • The annual Halloween episodes of The Simpsons have regularly featured parodies of classic Twilight Zone episodes.
  • "Treehouse of Horror" (1990)
  • "Hungry are the Damned" has a plot reminiscent of the Twilight Zone episode "To Serve Man". In it, aliens abduct the Simpsons under a presumption of friendly motives, but Lisa becomes suspicious and begins to investigate. She finds a book titled How To Cook For Humans, but when the dust is cleared from its cover, it is revealed to read How To Cook Forty Humans. When more dust is cleared away, however, it is shown the full title is actually How To Cook For Forty Humans. The disgruntled aliens then return the distrustful humans back to their home instead of taking them to their utopian planet, differing from the classic "To Serve Man" ending.[2] (TZ1: "To Serve Man")
  • "Treehouse of Horror II" (1991)
  • Lisa's Nightmare (The Monkey's Paw)" is a reference to W.W. Jacobs's short story The Monkey's Paw, and the segment bares some similarities to the New Twilight Zone episode "A Small Talent for War", with Kang and Kodos representing the alien threat portrayed by John Glover in the Twilight Zone episode.[2] (TZ2: "A Small Talent for War")
  • "Bart's Nightmare (It's a Bart life)" is a parody of "It's a Good Life" with Bart Simpson playing the part of Bill Mumy's infamous character Anthony Fremont, using telepathic powers to impose various punishments on the people of Springfield. In direct reference to the episode, Homer is transformed into a giant jack-in-the-box.[2] (TZ1: "It's a Good Life")
  • "Treehouse of Horror III" (1992)
  • "In the "Clown Without Pity" segment, Homer buys a talking Krusty the Clown doll which first threatens and then attempts to kill him, much as occurred to the Twilight Zone character Erich Streator when his stepdaughter brings home a homicidal Talking Tina doll. Unlike Streator, Homer is able to be saved by simply switching the doll's setting from "Evil" to "Good."[2] (TZ1: "Living Doll")
  • "Treehouse of Horror IV" (1993)
  • The "wraparounds" follow the format of Rod Serling's Night Gallery, instead with Bart Simpson in the role of curator. Like the original series, each segment is based on one of the paintings in the exhibit hall.[2]
  • "The Devil and Homer Simpson" has no overt ties to Twilight Zone, but shares themes with two episodes from the first series, "One for the Angels" and "Escape Clause". In it, a hungry Homer Simpson agrees to offer his soul to the Devil in exchange for a donut, under the terms that his soul would be claimed whenever the donut is finished. Homer thinks he can then trick the Devil by refusing to eat the donut, but proceeds to consume it in short fashion.
  • "Terror at 5½ Feet" is a fairly loyal take on Season 5's "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet", but switching a plane for a school bus and William Shatner's character, Bob Wilson, for Bart. The director of the Simpsons episode, David Silverman, has said that he watched Shatner's portrayal to get inspiration for Bart's facial expressions.[3]
  • "Treehouse of Horror VI" (1995)
  • "Homer3" tells the tale of Homer Simpson moving a bookcase to find that there is a dimensional gateway through which he passes to find himself trapped in a strange three-dimensional world, bearing similarities to the The Twilight Zone (Original Series) episode "Little Girl Lost". Homer also makes reference the series in the line, "This is just like that twilighty show about that zone."[4]
  • "Treehouse of Horror VII" (1996)
  • "The Genesis Tub" reflects the events in the episode "The Little People". Following an intrusive prank by her brother, Lisa Simpson's science experiment results in the growth of a miniature civilization which worship Lisa as their creator.[5] Lisa, however, is a far more benevolent god than Peter Craig was. (TZ1: "The Little People")
  • "Treehouse of Horror IX (1998)
  • "Treehouse of Horror XIV" (2003)
  • In "Stop the World, I Want to Goof Off", Bart and Milhouse order a watch from an old comic book ad that turns out to stop time. Of course, they use the watch to pull off pranks on numerous citizens of Springfield, much as Patrick Thomas McNulty of the Twilight Zone episode "A Kind of a Stopwatch" did. Just like that episode, too, the watch breaks and they find themselves trapped in a world frozen in time. The ending is different, however.[7] (TZ1: "A Kind of Stopwatch")
  • "Treehouse of Horror XVI" (2005)
  • "I've Grown a Costume on Your Face" possesses a plot device similar to the original Twilight Zone series episode "The Masks". In it, a spiteful witch uses magic to make the attendants of a Halloween costume party stuck in the guises they have assumed; the same fate handed the Harper family.[8] (TZ1: "The Masks")
  • South Park (1997- )
  • The title of the episode "Simpsons Already Did It" refers to similarity between its plot and the "Treehouse of Horror VII" short "The Genesis Tub" from The Simpsons, which itself is a parody of the Twilight Zone episode "The Little People".
  • Tiny Toon Adventures (1990-1995)
  • "The Acme Acres Zone" (1990) bases the tone of its whole episode on the series.

ComedyEdit

Comedy-DramaEdit

  • B.J. and the Bear (1979-1981)
  • In the episode "Mary Ellen" (1979), a driving instructor warns his student that anything can be lurking around corners, just like "in the Twilight Zone."[1]
  • "The Good, the Bad and the Beautiful" (1980) features a scene, when arriving in the normally crowded Friday night streets of Bishop, B.J finds the sidewalks deserted and wonders, "Is this the Twilight Zone or somethin'?"[1]
  • Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000)
  • "Kim Kelly Is My Friend" (2000) Neil does his own version of the Twilight Zone introduction.
  • The Greatest American Hero (1981-1983)
  • FBI Agent Bill Maxwell references the series in the pilot episode of the show.[1]
  • Moonlighting (1985-1989)
  • "Brother, Can You Spare a Blonde?" (1985) Richard says that he feels it was like in "The Twilight Zone" when he found the money.
  • Northern Exposure (1990-1995)
  • Rick hums the theme in "Sex, Lies and Ed's Tapes" (1990).
  • Psych (2006-)
  • Shawn mentions it in the episode "Game, Set... Muuurder? (#1.13)" (2007).
  • Robot Chicken (2005- )
  • "Midnight Snack" (2005) has a spoof of Rod Serling's narration.
  • The Wonder Years (1988-1993)
  • The theme song is played in the episode "Math Class" (1989) when Kevin imagines a "Zone" scene about a match problem with a lemonade.

SitcomsEdit

  • 3rd Rock From The Sun (1996-2001)
  • In a fourth season episode, "Dick's Big Giant Headache: Part 1" (1999), both Dick Solomon (played by John Lithgow) and the Big Giant Head (played by William Shatner) mention seeing something on the wing of the plane after having traveled by airplane, a nod to both actors having played the role of the passenger who sees a gremlin on the plane's wing in Twilight Zone: The Movie and the original series episode "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet", respectively.
  • ALF (1986-1990)
  • "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue?" (1986) Mentioned in Alf's Song for Lynn [1]
  • All in the Family (1971-1979)
  • In the episode "Archie and the Computer" (1973), a computer error pronounces Archie Bunker dead. His son-in-law Mike suggests, "Or maybe you're in the Twilight Zone, and you really are dead!" Mike and his wife Gloria then hum the Twilight Zone theme. [1]
  • The Andy Griffith Show (1960-1968)
  • "Citizen's Arrest" (1963) features a scene in which Otis gets confused about Barney being locked in the jail cell instead of him, he says "I must be in The Twilight Zone."[1]
  • Andy Richter Controls the Universe (2002-2003)
  • Keith mentions the show in the episode "Bully the Kid" (2004).
  • Bosom Buddies (1980-1982)
  • "Only the Lonely" (1981) features Henry doing a Rod Serling impersonation.
  • The Charmings (1987-1988)
  • In "The Man Who Came to Dinner" (1988), Don sings the theme to The Twilight Zone.[1]
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961--1966)
  • In "It May Look Like a Walnut!" (1963) Rob has an alien invasion nightmare and wonders if he's "In the Twilo Zone."
  • The Facts of Life (1979-1988)
  • In an episode of The Facts of Life, entitled, "Seven Little Indians," Maurice LaMarche portrays Rod Serling, and narrates the episode when drama unfolds on a dark and stormy night as a killer stalks the store. Serling has a fascination of saying Tootie's name.
  • Frasier (1999-2004)
  • In "Mixed Doubles" (1996), Martin says he is in The Twilight Zone.
  • Girls on Top (1985-1986)
  • "Skankin'" (1985) Shelley says, "We are now entering The Twilight Zone."
  • Golden Girls (1985-1992)
  • "Bedtime Story" (1987), Blanche says "It's like the Twilight Zone" when the girls are stranded in a railway station on the way to Rose's hometown of St. Olaf, Minnesota.
  • Hot Metal (1986-1988)
  • "The Twilight Zone" (1988) --Title reference.
  • Love, American Style (1969-1974)
  • Bob Crane's character makes a reference to the Twilight Zone in the episode "Love and the Modern Wife/Love and the Phonies/Love and the Single Couple" (1969).[1]
  • The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (1959-1963)
  • In "Beethoven, Presley and Me" (1963) a freak accident with a song-analyzing computer causes Maynard to be able to predict hit songs, Herbert T. Gillis describes Maynard's transformation as "kinda like the Twilight Zone."[1][9]
  • The Nanny (1993-1999)
  • In the episode "Imaginary Friend" (1993), Brighton mocks Grace using a variation of the opening Rod Serling monologue.
  • "The Nose Knows" (1997) features Fran saying that her version of The Zone Diet is more like The Twilight Zone.
  • In "The Honeymoon's Overboard" (1998) the theme music plays during one dream sequence.[1]
  • Perfect Strangers (1986-1993)
  • "The Horn Blows at Midnight" (1987) Theme music is heard towards the end of the episode.[1]
  • Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (1996-2003)
  • Kevin, while at the beach, says, "It's like we're in the Twilight Zone," in the episode "Beach Blanket Bizarro" (2001).
  • Seinfeld (1989-1998)
  • In the episode "The Cigar Store Indian" (1993) of the sitcom Seinfeld, The Twilight Zone is mentioned.[1]
  • The show came up again three seasons later, in "The Van Buren Boys" (1997). Jerry parodies the writing style of Serling in a scene where he comments "You know, this is like that Twilight Zone episode where the guy wakes up, and he's the same - but everyone else is different!" after being interrogated by George about which episode he is referring to, he replies "I don't know... they were all like that."
  • Weird Science (1994-1998)
  • In the episode "Sci-Fi Zoned" (1995), The Twilight Zone is parodied. The characters are sent through something called "Sci-Fi Zoned", which sends through similar experiences and characters as some of the Serling's classics, such as "Where is Everybody?". Chet plays the role of Rod Serling.

Sketch ComedyEdit

  • Saturday Night Live (1975- )
  • "Paul Simon/George Harrison" (1976) spoofed the show in 'Twilite Zone' skit, with Dan Aykroyd posing as Rod Serling.[10]
  • "Ricky Nelson/Judy Collins" (1979) spoofed the show in Twilight Zone skit, with Aykroyd again playing Rod Serling.[11]
  • "Bob Newhart/The Amazing Rhthym Aces/Bruce Cockburn" (1980) spoofed the show in "The Dating Zone, this time featuring Harry Shearer as Rod Serling."[12]
  • The "Olivia Newton-John" (1982) episode featured a sketch, "Hitler in Heaven," which mentioned the Twilight Zone[1] and featured a portrayal of Rod Serling by cast member Brian Doyle-Murray.[13]
  • The "Matt Dillon" (2006) episode referenced The Twilight Zone in the sketch, "Vincent Price's Thanksgiving special."

DocumentaryEdit

  • TV Guide 50 Best Shows of All Time: A 50th Anniversary Celebration (2002)[1]
  • Svengoolie: Svengoolie's TV Graveyard
  • "Zoned Out" (2005) This film is featured in this episode.
  • "Back in the Zone!" (2005) Episodes from this tv show were featured.
  • Screenwipe: Screenwipe USA (2006)
  • In episode (2x05), a clip from the show is featured.

RealityEdit

  • Big Brother: After Dark (2007- )
  • In an episode in early July of the 2009 season, one of the female houseguests remarks that the house that night felt like the Twilight Zone.
  • In the July 26, 2009 airing, Casey said, "Are we in the Twilight Zone, man?" To which Jeff replied, "I don't know, you're in a banana suit."
  • Deadliest Catch (2005- )
  • In "Pribilof Stare", when a deckhand is caught daydreaming it is said that he was in the Twilight Zone.

DramaEdit

  • Ballykissangel (1996-2001)
  • In "Trying to Connect You" (1996) Peter asks Assumpta whether he is in the Twilight Zone.
  • Cold Case (2003- )
  • "Rampage" (2006) begins with two kids spoofing the opening speech of The Twilight Zone.
  • EastEnders (1985-)
  • In the 2005-09-27 episode, Garry says, "For crying out loud, we're back in the Twilight Zone!"
  • Felicity (1998-2002)
  • "Help for the Lovelorn" (2000) spoofs The Twilight Zone series.
  • Flikken Maastricht (1999-2009)
  • In "Een oude man" (2007), it is referenced by a character.
  • Gilmore Girls (2000-2007)
  • In "It Should've Been Lorelai" (2002), Lorelai says that the morning has "a Twilight Zone feel."
  • "The Long Morrow" (2006) shares a title with the Twilight Zone episode, "The Long Morrow"
  • Lorelai, in "The Perfect Dress" (2006), compares her wedding situation to an episode of The Twilight Zone.[1]
  • Veronica Mars (2004-2007)
  • "Silence of the Lamb" (2005) has a character remark, after something weird happens, "I'll just have Rod Serling wait on the couch."

Game ShowEdit

  • QI (2003-)
  • In the episode "Future" (2009), Sean Locke's buzzer plays the show's theme song. [1]

HorrorEdit

  • Masters of Horror (2005-2007)
  • "Valerie on the Stairs" (2006) features the line: "...there's a signpost up ahead...you've entered the Twilight Zone."[1]

Comic HorrorEdit

  • Garth Marenghi's Darkplace (2004)
  • The opening sequence of the show is a shot-for-shot parody complete with dated special effects and similar music.

Science Fiction/FantasyEdit

  • Quantum Leap (1989-1993)
  • "The Color of Truth - August 8, 1955" (1989) has a scene where Al mentions this series.

Comic Science FictionEdit

  • Eureka (2006-)
  • "Pilot" (2006) mentioned the series by name.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 (1988-1999)
  • "The Amazing Colossal Man" (1991) mentioned the show.
  • "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians" (1991) mentioned the show by title.
  • In "Bride of the Monster" (1993), Crow does an impersonation of Rod Serling, "Submitted for your approval, a salesman who has no car."
  • In the episode "The Creeping Terror" (1994), Servo comments, "Maybe this is the doorway to another dimension."
  • "The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies" (1997) featured Crow putting a spin on the opening lines of 'The Twilight Zone (Original Series)' when commenting on the quality of the film he is watching: "A dimension not of sight or sound but of crap."
  • Red Dwarf (1988-1999)
  • "Back in the Red: Part 1" (1999) referenced the series by name.
  • The series was again mentioned in a series commentary ("The Tank - Series VIII" (2006)). [1]

Supernatural/OccultEdit

  • Blood Ties (2007)
  • "Gifted" (2007) features the line: "Oh dear Mother of God, say this is not gonna be another trip into the Twilight Zone."
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)
  • The Dead Zone (2002-2007)
  • In "Unreasonable Doubt" (2002), the character Goth Guy quotes from The Twilight Zone opening in reference to Johnny's psychic ability.[1]
  • Medium (2005- )
  • More than 30 years after his death, Rod Serling was digitally resurrected for an episode of the TV series Medium that aired on November 21, 2005. The episode, which was partially filmed in 3-D, opened with Serling introducing the episode and instructing viewers as to when to put on their 3-D glasses. This was accomplished by using footage from The Twilight Zone episode "The Midnight Sun" and digitally manipulating Serling's mouth to match new dialogue spoken by impersonator Mark Silverman. The plot of the episode involved paintings coming to life, a nod to both The Twilight Zone and Night Gallery.

Talk ShowEdit

  • The Mike Wallace Interview (1957-1960)
The Twilight Zone was discussed in *The Mike Wallace Interview: Rod Serling" (1959).[1]
  • The O'Reilly Factor (-)
  • "(2008-06-25)" (2008) Bill make reference to this TV show by name. [1]
  • "(2008-06-27)" (2008) The title screen for this show is featured.
  • "(2008-08-22)" (2008) The opening of this show was featured during an old 'Miller Time' segment.

Variety ShowEdit

  • The Jack Benny Program (1950-1965)
  • One episode was titled the "Twilight Zone Sketch" (1963) and featured creator Rod Serling.[1]

Notes and referencesEdit

NotesEdit

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0052520/movieconnections Internet Movie Database: Movie Connections for The Twilight Zone]. Retrieved: 2009-04-29.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Richmond, Ray; Antonia Coffman (1997). The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to our Favorite Family. Harper Collins Publishers. pp. 68–69. ISBN 0-00-638898-1.
  3. Silverman, David. (2004). The Simpsons season 5 DVD commentary for the episode "Treehouse of Horror IV" [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  4. Richmond, Ray; Antonia Coffman (1997). The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to our Favorite Family. Harper Collins Publishers. pp. 186–187. ISBN 0-00-638898-1.
  5. Anderson, Mike B.. (2006). The Simpsons season 8 DVD commentary for the episode "Treehouse of Horror VII" [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  6. Wikipedia: "Treehouse of Horror IX". Last updated: 2009-04-11. Retrieved: 2009-04-30.
  7. Wikipedia: "Treehouse of Horror XIV". Last updated: 2009-04-17. Retrieved: 2009-04-30.
  8. Wikipedia: "Treehouse of Horror XVI". Last updated: 2009-04-17. Retrieved: 2009-04-30.
  9. TV.com: The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. "Beethoven, Presley, and Me" summary. Retrieved: 2009-04-29.
  10. The SNL Archives: May 22, 1982 episode summary; Retrieved. 2009-04-29.
  11. The SNL Archives: May 22, 1982 episode summary; Retrieved. 2009-04-29.
  12. The SNL Archives: May 22, 1982 episode summary; Retrieved. 2009-04-29.
  13. The SNL Archives: May 22, 1982 episode summary; Retrieved. 2009-04-29.
  14. Buffyverse Wiki: Older and Far Away episode summary. Retrieved 2009-04-29.

ReferencesEdit

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