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TV Nerdist: No Twilight Zone Fourth?! No Fair, Siffy.

Rod Serling For the first time since I can remember (and I’m an old fart), there will be no Twilight Zone marathon on the tube this July 4th. It started out as a local tradition on KTLA here in L.A. (and probably other independent channels across the country), then later bounced to cable on SciFi Channel Syfy, and seeing Rod Serling’s craggy po-face as he puffs on a Chesterfield at some point during our nation’s holiday is as much a part of my “patriotic” activities as hot dogs, ice cream and burning your fingers on sparklers. Yeah, there’s a marathon on New Year’s, too, but it’s The Twilight Zone, people! It only influenced pretty much every genre show that’s come down the pike since, if that doesn’t deserve a double celebratory-binge-dip then I don’t know what does. Plus the biannual timing is like an alternate summer and winter solstice for nerds; sadly, our calendar is now FUBAR as Syfy has junked the Zone Fourth this year in favor of a Greatest American Hero marathon. Now, I’ve got nothing against Billy Katt and his red tights and dreamy blond curls, honestly… yet it’s hard not to feel like a little bit of my childhood just died.

If you’re as miffed as I am, you can kill some time on July 4th while the grill’s getting hot watching The Twilight Zone courtesy of the network of its origin, CBS; they’ve actually got quite a few classic episodes streaming in HQ. Start with “Nothing In the Dark“, an underrated gem from Season 3 featuring a tremendous performance by actress Gladys Cooper and a very young (and smokin’ hot) Robert Redford. (You can also join the Facebook protest group, if that kinda thing’s your bag.)

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  1. Scott says:

    Sorry, but GAH belongs on TVLand not Sci-Fi (still refuse to the accept the re-branding). What’s next, Murder She Wrote?

    Just sayin…

  2. Melanie says:

    They filmed an episode of GAH near my house when I was growing up. A whole bunch of homes were slated for demo to make way for the 105 freeway, so GAH decided to crash a car through one of them. The whole neighborhood went down to watch. All I remember was falling in the street, skinning my knee bad enough to have to go home to clean it up, and then missing the big crash. FML.

  3. Believe it or not, I’m flying on air. I can make it to New Year’s Ee-ee-eve.
    [all I got, couldn’t rhyme past this point…]

    But if this happens on New Year’s Eve, Mrs. Magnifico will think we’ve actually entered the Twilight Zone. I’ll be spending the last hours of the year trying to convince her that I’m really not a martian with two heads and a large cardboard body for a box. Sheesh.

  4. Elaine says:

    I don’t think anybody has anything against GAH… I think it would be great for Labor Day, or Presidents Day or Arbor Day or everyday- once a day, but as evidenced by the large amount of protest tweets, there is a sizable, loyal viewer base for TZ on the 4th. When I was a kid they would air The Honeymooners and Groucho Marx’s You Bet Your Life. These were shows that originally aired before I was born and were rediscovered by a new generation, in reruns. Then they stopped showing them… and now hardly anyone knows what they are. I hope another network will pick up the July 4th tradition or that SyFy will reconsider. I’d hate to see TZ phased out into oblivion.
    It’s fun, it’s great writing, great storytelling and it’s become a tradition!

  5. Elizabeth says:

    I understand SyFy’s choice, but I’m with Nicole. I remember running around, getting food, and swimming, then coming inside the ice cold, air conditioned living room and huddling under a towel while I dried off and watched the classics with my dad.

    Good times.

  6. deb says:

    “Dildos for the Elderly!” (What a great band name that would be….)
    But would the cost be covered by Medicare?!
    But on to the actual topic, I guess:
    I do see the point of selecting Greatest American Hero for Independence Day, and I am thrilled to be able to watch one of my favorite shows from my adolescence once again. (Could SyFy also get The Phoenix?!?)
    That said, I grew up with the Twilight Zone, and am glad it is not vanishing completely!

  7. Nicole Campos says:

    Like I said, Craig, I got nothin’ against Tommy Ross, he can be my prom date any day. 😉 I’m mourning the traditions of my youth, not bashing Syfy’s choice of replacement programming.

    That said – when can we expect the “Misfits of Science” marathon, anyway? I’ve been waiting soooo loooong…

  8. Chris Hardwick says:

    Craig, while I do miss the marathon I am pleased about GAH. I just Netflixed the first few eps and it really is terrific. U-S-A!!!

    Neal, you’ve just made me think that LifeAlert should make dildos for the elderly.

  9. Neal Dawson says:

    Well,I guess grandma wasted her retirement money on that dildo that looks like Rod Serling.

  10. Jeff says:

    Syfy changed their name so they could brand it. Because everything’s moving online.

    And they can’t trademark “sci-fi”.

  11. Craig says:

    Unfortunately the ratings for the July 4 marathon have been declining in recent years, which is the TV audience’s way of signaling us that they might like to see something else. At the same time we have Greatest American Hero in our inventory for the first time, and July 4 is just about the perfect day to air the show. TZ will continue to be on our schedule and there will be a New Years marathon. Craig (@syfy)

  12. john cardwell says:

    WTF syfy first you change your name from sci-fi which is short for science fiction to syfy which is short for nothing, which is bull crap, now you are cutting the marathon of The Twilight Zone how un-awesome can you get whats next hmmm? no seriously whats next? you suck syfy you use to be awesome but now? YOU SUCK….at least until new episodes of warehouse 13 and stargate universe begin then you’re okay.

  13. mandcost says:

    Truly a loss to the tradition! That’s like not having A Christmas Story playing non-stop all day Christmas.

  14. Horton says:


    There goes my whole weekend. 🙁