Ah the season of “The Twilight Zone” where every episode were extended in to one hour without any of the pacing and punch of the first three seasons. It’s a shame that “The Twilight Zone” adopted this format for a while because the hour long episodes of the series are admittedly weaker and demand much more attention than their shorter counterparts. They’re still pretty good television all things considered, but they’re still not as good as what we’ve seen on the show and what the writers are capable of.
Of course many fans will argue that even weak “Twilight Zone” is still better than most television. And I’d agree. The only real episode of note in this season set is one of my top ten “Twilight Zone” episodes “On Thursday We Leave For Home.” James Whitmore plays Captain Benteen, a totalitarian like ruler of a small settlement on Mars who has managed to keep a firm grip on his band of survivors in this harsh world by feeding them stories of hope and amazing tales of how Planet Earth is. By his tales he manages to keep them subservient and wishing for more. When two explorers from Earth arrive to save the group and bring them back home,
Benteen is angry about losing his power and becomes enraged when he learns his small group plans to find their own paths on Earth and build their own lives rather than adhere to his rule. It’s a thought provoking and unique episode that really looks at the addiction of power. Beyond that, most episodes are long and feel drawn out. It’s a shame that you can sense filler in some of the installments and have to wait through meandering bouts of dialogue before getting to the actual point of the episode. That said, weak “The Twilight Zone” is still solid genre television and it’s a good addition for completists.