A Brief History of 'The Twilight Zone' Through the Years

Mara Reinstein
CBS via Getty Images

Walk through The Twilight Zone's past with this brief history of the show through the years ranging from early iterations to today's Jordan Peele produced reboot.

1958

TV writer Rod Serling pens the one-hour "The Time Element" for Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz's Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse on CBS. Plot: An NYC bartender (William Bendix) repeatedly dreams he's in Honolulu the night before Pearl Harbor. 

Why Jordan Peele's 'The Twilight Zone' Is Far From Your Typical Reboot

Why Jordan Peele's 'The Twilight Zone' Is Far From Your Typical Reboot

The CBS All Access series, premiering April 1, takes the Rod Serling classic and turns it on its head.

1959

In the wake of the episode's success, CBS green-lights a Serling anthology called The Twilight Zone; he would write 92 of its 156 episodes (including Season 5's "The Masks"). Despite killer hooks and a loyal fanbase, the series is in frequent danger of cancellation. By 1964, the burned-out creator finally OKs its ending.   

1983

Doomed from the start? Actor Vic Morrow and two children are killed during the making of the Steven Spielberg–produced Twilight Zone: The Movie (with John Lithgow starring in one of four segments). It grosses $29 million. 

(Warner Brothers/Getty Images)

1985

The works of top-shelf writers Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison and George R.R. Martin contribute to this CBS iteration. But The Twilight Zone can't beat Webster in the ratings and is relegated to syndication within two years. 

2002

"I decided that if we could make the shows the kind of quality they were before, then I would feel proud," host and narrator Forest Whitaker says before this second reboot's premiere on then UPN network. It's axed after one season.  

'The Twilight Zone's Jordan Peele & Simon Kinberg on Making a Modern Version With Social Impact

'The Twilight Zone's Jordan Peele & Simon Kinberg on Making a Modern Version With Social Impact

Plus, learn why Peele was reluctant to narrate the iconic program.

2017

Jordan Peele, who cocreated the sketch series Key & Peele before auteuring the films Get Out and Us, signs on to exec-produce a CBS All Access reboot.

The Twilight Zone, Streaming now, CBS All Access