Rod Serling once said that ''The Twilight Zone'' wasn't science fiction at all

"It's sheer fantasy we're doing."

CBS Television Distribution

As the show's creator and narrator, Rod Serling is synonymous with The Twilight Zone. Serling acts as the audience's guide to the strange and stirring, and while many plots lean into the outer bounds of our imagination, there are lessons taught in The Twilight Zone that are no doubt imperative to our daily lives.

Because of its genre-defying content, The Twilight Zone often refuses to be sequestered into the traditional categories we often utilize to describe television. This belief was practiced by Serling himself, who actually said in an interview with The Modesto Bee that The Twilight Zone shouldn't be considered science fiction, as many viewers believed. "This is not science fiction," said Serling. "It's sheer fantasy we're doing."

But to make the fantasy possible, Serling did a lot of leg work on the production end to help create the series. "One of the real strengths of the show is that we've written the scripts with specific people in mind and most of the actors we've approached have accepted the roles," said Serling.

Actors that have appeared in The Twilight Zone span age and genre, and include Carol Burnett, Burt Reynolds, and Julie Newmar. Because of the wide range of the series, Serling said that it would be an unachievable feat to categorize The Twilight Zone.

In an interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Serling revealed that the more fantastical Twilight Zone elements made it a harder sell for networks when the series first began its journey on television. "I tried to sell this idea three years ago and I was booted out," Serling said. "Fantasy used to be a dirty word in TV." A show like The Twilight Zone had a hand in changing that perception.

"It's difficult to give a genetic classification, a single definition of the series," he said to The Modesto Bee. "I guess you can say it's stories of imagination. They all tilt from the center — unreal, told in terms of reality. No, they're not vehicles of social criticism. They're mature adult stories."

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7 Comments

Runeshaper 1 month ago
The Twilight Zone was an EXCELLENT series! Personally, I consider it to be more science fiction than fantasy. Either way, Serling was a genius!
Stoney 1 month ago
It's a relatively newer term, but "speculative fiction" has become an umbrella category that covers not only sci-fi, fantasy, horror, but also stories with elements of those that don't fit neatly into those categories. With that said, Twilight Zone is definitely speculative fiction.
harlow1313 1 month ago
I would not use the word "fantasy. I would call the program allegorical.
justjeff 1 month ago
The Twilight Zone, Perry Mason, Route 66 and Naked City are but a few examples of when TV was at its finest....

An anthology series or a good drama that delves into the human experience - whether straightforward or through the use of fantasy is [to me] some of the best of the best that televison had to offer during its "Golden Age".

Sadly, even when a reboot comes *close* to matching the original, it still lacks the special spark that originally made people sit up and take notice when the program was first broadcast.

Even family favorites like The Rifleman, The Dick Van Dyke Show and Leave it to Beaver represented great writing staffs who could often take a mundane topic and turn it into a life leasson or a relatable experience...
Preston10 justjeff 1 month ago
Wholeheartedly Agree 💯
BrittReid justjeff 1 month ago
Well said!
justjeff BrittReid 1 month ago
Thank you!😁
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