It’s national Twilight Zone Day (no one knows why), and what better way to mark the occasion than with the official trailer for the second season of Jordan Peele’s reboot of The Twilight Zone? We got our first look at still photos a few days ago, and, combined with the trailer, we’re optimistic that Peele can pull off another strong season and do this classic science fiction series proud.
(Some spoilers for S1 below.)
Rod Serling created the original Twilight Zone anthology series for CBS in 1959, and it was an instant hit with viewers. Serling was a fan of both pulp fiction and science fiction, and he combined those passions with a strong interest in social commentary on topics such as nuclear war and McCarthyism. And he loved a good twist ending. The series was successfully revived in the 1980s and again (less successfully) in 2002. There was also a 1983 feature film, notorious because star Vic Morrow and two child actors were killed in a freak helicopter accident during filming.
The first season of Peele’s latest reboot stayed pretty true to the spirit of the original series, including a remake of the classic episode, “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” starring Adam Scott, which first aired in 1963 and is based on a short story by sci-fi author and screenwriter Richard Matheson. In fact, the finale was a meta-episode, “Blurryman,” that featured a young screenwriter named Sophie who finds herself inside an iconic 1959 episode (“Time Enough at Last“). She discovers that the “Blurryman” she has been seeing throughout the episode is Serling himself, who leads her through a door into the Twilight Zone.
S1 had its share of darkly morbid delights, with several strong episodes, most notably the heartbreaking “Replay.” And let’s be frank, Peele’s narration as host is better than Serling’s stiff, clipped delivery, for all the latter’s nostalgic charms. In addition to Scott, the all-star cast included Steven Yeun, Greg Kinnear, Kumail Nanjiani, John Cho, Sanaa Lathan, Ginnifer Goodwin, Seth Rogen, Zazie Beetz, John Larroquette, and Tracy Morgan, among others. Nanjiani was nominated for an Emmy for his performance in the pilot episode, “The Comedian.”
The second season will boast its own impressive slate of all-stars anchoring each episode. The roster includes Morena Baccarin, Kylie Bunbury, Jenna Elfman, Ethan Embry, Sky Ferreira, Tavi Gevinson, Topher Grace, Tony Hale, Gillian Jacobs, David Krumholtz, Thomas Lennon, Sophia Macy, Natalie Martinez, Joel McHale, Christopher Meloni, Gretchen Mol, Paula Newsome, Billy Porter, Jimmi Simpson, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Daniel Sunjata, and Damon Wayans Jr., among others.
According to CBS All Access, “The series’ second season uses introspection and self-exploration to usher viewers into a dimension filled with endless possibilities.” So the trailer opens with an ominous voiceover intoning, “You are not who you appear to be.” There’s a lot of spooky music and a rapid montage of visually striking scenes, with little sense of any coherent narrative—it is an anthology series, after all, and no information has been released yet, other than cast members and titles for the season’s 10 episodes. S2 definitely looks terrific. And the theme of identity and self-exploration comes back in a haunting reprise at the trailer’s end, as we hear a woman say, “I’m not what I started as. Whatever I am, it’s something new.”
The Twilight Zone S2 premieres on CBS All Access June 25, 2020. While CBS released S1 episodes week by week, for S2, the network will drop all the episodes at once.
Listing image by YouTube/CBS All Access