I was a bit bummed to learn that the Twilight Zone marathon doesn’t include all of the episodes, just a lot of them. There’s 77 episodes in 42 hours, so some of these episodes are an hour long. I found this page which is extremely obsessive about anything and everything Twilight Zone. Turns out there are 156 episodes, so the 77 being shown in this marathon make up roughly half of them. I had always thought there were 79 episodes – I read that in a magazine somewhere, but perhaps they had it confused with Star Trek. Star Trek had 79 episodes (3 seasons) before NBC pulled the plug. The SciFi Channel plays 80, since they count the unaired (in the 1960’s) pilot “The Cage” as an episode (though they place it last in the rotation).
To make things worse about this marathon, the episodes are played in no particular order and appear to be something of a smattering from the five seasons. Whereas Star Trek was cancelled at the end of its third season, Twilight Zone mainly ran out of steam. After its third season, Rod Sterling began teaching at a University. The fourth season was used as a mid-season replacement (thus it had less episodes) and expanded to an hour-long format. Even after the fifth season reinstatement of the half-hour format, the show had simply lost steam (Sterling’s involvement was still limited). On the one hand, it doesn’t really matter what order the episodes are in – there are no persistent plotlines or characters, so this less important than, say, having all of the Cheers episodes in order – but not having all of the episodes involved and in the proper order means that you can’t look at the evolution of the show and pinpoint the moment of deterioration. In case you haven’t guessed, I have the vast majority of the Cheers episodes on tape and you can pick the point at which, after Sam and Rebecca have decided that they’re not going to “hook up” that the plotlines began to suffer – the series of episodes in which Sam and Rebecca decide to have a child (unmarried) is the lamest sequence in the run. Things perk up, ironically, once it became apparent that Season 11 would be the last.
So, I’m not sure if I want to try and start taping the Twilight Zone episodes I missed – not sure if I’m that ambitious. It would mean that I would have to figure out which episodes I’m missing (which I have already done) and figure out when they are coming on the air and tape them. I would at least like to think I have more important things to do. Perhaps I’ll wait a while and just buy them all on DVD.