Following a packed schedule of shooting for the first season while also battling wayward sponsors and censors, Rod Serling came back in full force in Season 2 of The Twilight Zone for more of the show’s iconic brand of story-telling. In addition, his image as a television personality had only increased, thanks in part to Orson Welles declining to serve as narrator of the show. For the second season, CBS decided to increase Rod Serling’s visibility and so we see more scenes of Serling setting the scene for each episode audience as the recognizably suave cigarette-smoking erudite gentleman in a suit beckoning us into The Twilight Zone. The structure of the show itself became an icon in the American consciousness, it was followed by comic books, board games, and other Twilight Zone-themed commodities.
By now, The Twilight Zone had a small but loyal group of fans across the country, though it was highly praised by critics. Its standing lured talented actors who were willing to accept lower pay just to be featured on the program. Surprisingly to both Rod Serling and Buck Houghton, the show’s fanbase primarily consisted mainly of young adults and children.
There were a few changes made for the second season, for starters Serling and Houghton replaced Bernard Herrmann’s opening theme music with the now instantly-recognizable music by French composer Marius Constant along with accompanying opening animation scenes. Also in addition to the army of talented writers introduced in the first season, George Clayton Johnson made his triumphant entry into The Twilight Zone in the second season. However, there were a few cost-cutting measures employed in the second season and six episodes were on notably poor quality videotape (those episodes included “The Lateness of the Hour,” “Static,” “The Whole Truth,” “Night of the Meek,” “Twenty-Two,” “Long Distance Call”).
Some of the classic episodes in season 2 include: “King Nine Will Not Return,” “A Thing About Machines,” “The Howling Man,” “Eye of the Beholder,” “The Lateness of the Hour,” “The Trouble With Templeton,” “The Invaders,” “The Odyssey of Flight 33,” “Static,” “A Hundred Yards Over The Rim,” “Will The Real Martian Please Stand Up?” and “The Obsolete Man.” Though in all honest there is not a bad episode in all of season 2.
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Seasons 1 and 2 were the best for the classic Twilight Zone in retrospect. Particularly with all the impactful issues that Serling was aiming via Season 2 for with Eye Of The Beholder, The Obsolete Man, The Howling Man, The Invaders and King Nine Will Not Return.
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