Alright, we're off to a great start with both Jason and Michael leading the way. Awesome!
When we were first discussing this project I voted to watch the episodes in order. That is because I've seen a lot of TZ episodes growing up but never with any sort of coherency. The SciFi channel used to run marathons on January 1st and July 4th. In many ways, those were the highlight of my TV watching for the year.
So, imagine my surprise when I start Season 1 Episode 1 and realize that it's actually one of my favorite episodes from when I was younger (we won't get to my favorite episode from when I was older for a few years as it is in Season 5).
A few notes:
This episode hits many of the great science fiction tropes. Actually, it's probably the genesis, or at least one of the earlier iterations of, many of these. For example, the end of the world/last man alive scenario, space travel, and psychology in the form of hallucinations and man as social being, loneliness and being alone - "the barrier for loneliness, that's one thing we haven't licked yet." (Remember, this discipline was still very much in its early stages in 1959. Carl Jung had not yet died and there was a growing popular interest).
This episode is also interesting from an historical perspective. In 1959 the Soviets landed the first object on the moon. "Where is Everybody" aired on October 2nd of that year (I didn't realize this was quite so close until I looked it up). I find it hard to believe that this episode wasn't partly a response to that. Of course, shortly after, in 1961, Kennedy announced that the US would put a man on the moon before the end of the decade. He was right. Apollo 11 landed in 1969, ten years after TZ made that promise to the moon itself - "So don't go away. We'll be up there in a little while."
Some other thoughts:
I agree with Jason. When I saw him look through the rack of books in the Ice Cream store and then the next scene had him playing tic tac toe with himself in the dirt, I wanted to yell, "Go get a book and some ice cream and enjoy the quiet!" But, that probably says more about us and our world than it does about the episode.
Michael, I think you're right about the major themes to be revisited throughout the series. The small incongruencies and the little coincidences are important. Everything's important.
Did anyone else think that the mannequin factory in the small little town was as funny as I did? I guess it was his subconscious being humorous.
Overall, this is a strong episode and great start to the series. I'm sure there will be duds. But the duds are probably the ones that didn't get re-aired on TV marathons. So, I've probably missed them and the completist in me is excited to catch up.