In the annals of TV history, few shows stand on a taller pedestal than The Twilight Zone, Rod Serling’s legendary sci-fi anthology series. Enormously popular to this day, TZ’s tightly woven tales of the extraordinary and often shocking twists continue to gain the show new devotees more than 55 years after its debut. With that in mind, it’s never really a surprise when rights holder CBS chooses to once again try and recapture Serling’s lighting in a bottle success by reviving The Twilight Zone brand for a new era. This time though, TZ’s revival is taking a form most probably wouldn’t have anticipated.
CBS is teaming up with interactive video company Interlude to create a hybrid of Twilight Zone TV show and video game set to combine traditional live-action storytelling with the ability for users to influence how the story plays out by selecting from different options. The style has been likened to a high-tech variation on the old Choose Your Own Adventure books that many grew up reading. This is Interlude’s second attempt at an interactive TV series, with a project based on the 1983 Matthew Broderick-fronted sci-fi thriller WarGames already in development with MGM.
This is far from the first time CBS has resurrected The Twilight Zone, with the first and so-far best received instance coming in the form of 1983’s Twilight Zone: The Movie, which featured updated adaptations of classic episodes. Coasting on the movie’s popularity, CBS then brought back TZ as a one-hour revival series that contained multiple stories of varying lengths per week. The first season did pretty well, but fortunes soured enough by season 3 to earn the new TZ a cancellation. Another revival attempt came to pass in 2002 – hosted by Forest Whitaker of all people – although it died a pretty quick death due to low ratings. News of the latest attempt to revive The Twilight Zone comes courtesy of The Wrap.
Rumors of a new Twilight Zone TV series or movie have floated around Hollywood in the years since, with each project ultimately ending up unrealized. Details on the particular stories this newly interactive Twilight Zone will enable users to tell are scarce at the moment, although BioShock creator Ken Levine has signed on to write and direct the pilot episode; that should go a long way in establishing credibility for the series in gaming circles.
While the concept of interactive video is hardly revolutionary – those who lived through the ’90s may recall the rise and fall of video-based games like Night Trap and Wing Commander – applying the idea to the TV arena is largely a a fresh notion, with the promise of multiple paths through each episode meant to serve as an allure for multiple viewings of each season.
In the era of binge streaming and being caught up on the hottest show sometimes worn like a badge of honor online, it’s not at all hard to imagine more dedicated fans of this updated Twilight Zone re-watching episodes again and again until they’re positive they’ve seen every possible thing on offer. Or at least seen how many ways it is possible “to serve man.”
The Twilight Zone interactive series is in early development, and has no current premiere date.
Source: The Wrap