Even before Bridget Carpenter was asked to adapt Stephen King’s time travel novel 11.22.63 into an 8-part event series for Hulu, the Friday Night Lights writer/producer had one of the best educations possible in all things mind-bending sci-fi.
“Twilight Zone and Night Gallery were the shows I watched more than any other as a child,” says Carpenter. “On Memorial Day Weekend and the Fourth of July, our local TV station would run Twilight Zone marathons and I would watch twelve, fifteen episodes in a row. Even now, the opening music thrills me.”
The Twilight Zone, which ran for five seasons on CBS from 1959-1964, was both a critical and cultural success, introducing many Americans to common science fiction and fantasy tropes (and inspiring many of today’s TV heavy hitters, including none other than J.J. Abrams and Stephen King). But of all 156 episodes over the show’s run, five episodes in particular left the biggest impression on Bridget. Check out her top episodes below, then be sure to watch new episodes of 11.22.63 every Monday, now streaming only on Hulu.
Season 1, Episode 5
Summary: A man time travels back to his childhood, when he’s just a few miles away from his native town.
Carpenter: “My first conversation with JJ Abrams [about 11.22.63] was all about this episode.”
Season 5, Episode 6
Summary: A frustrated father battl with his stepdaughter’s talking doll, whose vocabulary includes such phrases as “I hate you” and “I’m going to kill you”.
Carpenter : “Dolls are scary.” [Ed Note – Yes. Yes they are.]
IT’S A GOOD LIFE
Season 3, episode 8
Summary: On an isolated farm, a young boy with vast mental powers but no emotional development, holds his family hostage to his every juvenile wish.
Carpenter: “This has one of the best repeatable phrases in all of ‘Twilight Zone’ history. ‘It’s a GOOD thing! A REAL good thing!’”
Season 3, episode 33
Summary: A ventriloquist is convinced that his dummy, Willie, is alive and evil so he locks Willie in a trunk and makes plans for a new act. Too bad he didn’t clear those plans with Willie first.
Carpenter: “Like I said, dolls are scary.”
AN OCCURRENCE AT OWL CREEK BRIDGE
Season 5, episode 22
Summary: It is the end of the Civil War and Union troops have occupied the South.
Carpetner: “I watched this in high school and LOVED it — and had no idea that it was aired on the Twilight Zone. It is an astonishing short film.”
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