So, I saw the episode “The Comedian”, which is free on YouTube. Without spoilers, I’d like to say this: the episode wasn’t bad, but I don’t think it was particularly good, either. The writing was really weak at certain points and the mood lighting was laid on way too thick for me. It felt incredibly cliche at times. On the other hand, I think the premise was interesting enough and was used to actually say something interesting about fame and interpersonal relations. Also Jordan Peele filling Rod Serling’s shoes like no other could
Spoilers for the entire episode: So the premise is kind of a neat idea. But the whole “erased from existence” bit has been done before, and this episode hit a lot of the cliches. The changing photograph, the “you’re-in-on-this-joke” line. Almost all the turns of the story were predictable, too, yet it insisted on filling that time.
This going to sound silly, but I actually think its important: I didn’t really appreciate the amount of obscenity in the writing. I’m usually all totally fine with that kind of humor, but it bothers me because it means that a lot of younger audiences will be gate kept from it. I was introduced to The Twilight Zone when I was a tween, which is probably the best age for it. And my parents had no issue with me watching that kind of content A show with lines like “Suck my vagina” is a much different flavor and might not get that kind of audience.
Also, I mentioned this, but the direction started to bother me pretty fast? I have no chance to be disarmed by the dark turns the episode took because even the casual scenes are lit like a horror sequence? That direction starts to come together near the end, though. Specifically Sahir’s on-stage break down was really effective.
I really appreciated, though, that the episode didn’t feel the need to have a twist. One of The Twilight Zone’s biggest weaknesses was its insistence on having a twist in every episode. “The Comedian” doesn’t, and while the ending of Sahir’s story wasn’t unpredictable, it gave meaningful closure to his character arc.
I think one of my biggest takeaways was actually that I don’t think this episode needed to be an hour long. The Twilight Zone’s format of a 30-minute drama is hard to find nowadays, especially as an anthology. But one of the emergent qualities of that is that the episodes are incredibly compact stories. Sure, there are episodes of The Twilight Zone that could and perhaps should be extended. But a lot of them are only enjoyable because they’re such short watches. I think “The Comedian” could have been a much shorter episode, and maybe better. But I don’t know!
I don’t need or want this series to be a direct parallel in all its styling to the original series. But I do think some of what I’ve seen’s failing’s are due to some of its diversions.