Rod Serling hated when ''The Twilight Zone'' went into syndication
"You wouldn't recognize what the series was."
In the same way that Rod Serling was a major part of The Twilight Zone from beginning to end, both on-screen and off, the series had an incredible impact on his life, professionally and personally.
According to Anne Serling's book, As I Knew Him: My Dad, Rod Serling, the series had an impact on Serling even after it went off the air. She wrote, "Shortly after it goes off the air, The Twilight Zone begins its eternal life in syndication. My father sees what syndication does to each episode."
Serling worked hard to discuss heavier and more socially conscious topics in episodes of The Twilight Zone, and it's arguably the reason that so many moments throughout the series still have an impact on viewers after all of these years.
According to a Detroit Free Press article, Serling once stated of the show's move to syndication, "You wouldn't recognize what the series was. Full scenes deleted. It looks like a long, protracted commercial separated by fragmentary moments of indistinct drama." Anne Serling wrote, "It is tremendously frustrating for him to watch the dissection of his stories."
It was a tension that existed between Serling and the network even before The Twilight Zone went into syndication. An article in the Kingsport Times remembered Serling having said, "It's a crime, but scripts with social significance can't be done on TV." and that he was "tired of fighting the fight."
It was also something that Serling's entire family was aware of, not just his daughter. According to an interview with the Associated Press, Serling's widow, Carol Serling, said of her husband, "Through parable and suggestion, he could make points that he couldn't make on straight television because there were too many sacred cows and sponsors and people who said you couldn't do that."