Sunday, March 3, 2013

Tired Zone

Mike's right again, of course. The last few episodes have been okay at best (but I have a real soft spot for Time Enough). And Mike nails what the primary problem is: everything seems rushed. Serling & Co. come up with a great idea, then rush through to the next big idea, never spending the time to unpack the idea at length. This is, so far, the TZ's biggest weakness. It's ironic, too, because the show's short running time is often one of its best features, packing an enormous emotional or intellectual wallop into a tight little 20-odd-minutes package. At its best, everything is focused and distilled into some primal articulation of half-thought fears and dreams.

"Time Enough at Last" is a deservedly classic TZ episode, if only because it is here in this episode that we realize how cruel a place the TZ can be. So far, in the series, we've seen a pilot go crazy in a simulation, a salesman make the pitch of his life, a town drunk find redemption, an aging actress discover a happier if not healthier place for herself to retire to, a trip to the past and lessons learned, the dangers of dealing with the devil, and leaving life on an asteroid after having you robot girlfriend shot. There have been twists and upsets and all sorts of strangeness, but never before have Rod and crew been this low-down disgustingly mean and sadistic. I wish I could remember how I felt watching this as a child. I wish I could have been there to see this broadcast for the first time in 1959. Because it's a nasty sucker punch to the gut, especially for us bibliophiles.

"Perchance to Dream" is a silly episode and the twist at the end is silly. BUT, there is that Maya the Cat Lady dance. So, there's that.

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