I tried to go into CBS’s reboot of the Twilight Zone as open minded as possible. I used to obsessively watch Rod Serling’s original Twilight Zone television show as an immensely young lad (before I was even double digits) so going into this third reboot I made sure that I would critique it from a cautious yet, unbiased outlook. And how was the first episode that is titled The Comedian? Well, let’s just say, I’m not all too impressed. In fact, I’m quite disheartened.
• I, from top to bottom, dug the concept even though it is pretty much a rip off of the anime Death Note, just with a couple alterations here and there. There’s literally a journal where he writes the names of his victims. Ha.
• The cinematography is exceptional. I admittedly miss the black and white, but the new aesthetic is fitting. I really appreciated a lot of the lighting tricks and techniques they used to give the atmosphere a more cloak-and-dagger vibe.
• I like Jordan Peele as the host. He’s intimidating, and his voice is rather dope.
• Kumail Nanjiani! I was initially worried about this show because a ton of the main actors/actresses in these new episodes are actors/actresses who are known for comedic roles, but Nanjiani relieves my frets considering he dramatically kills it in this and gives it his all especially for what poor tools he was given by the filmmakers behind this episode.
• The new intro is neat. Yeah, that’s nice.
• The writing is primarily abominable. Most of it is lazily on the nose and blatantly obvious. There’s no subtlety, no cleverness to communicating its message, it just blurts its themes out through some truly cringy, horrendous dialogue. The script is, to a great degree, the major issue I have with this installment.
• We couldn’t at least get one legitimately good joke that would make me chuckle just a teensy-tiny bit in an episode with standup comedians performing comedy? Seriously? I get the purpose of the installment’s message and all and the shows intent in unveiling that it didn’t matter if the jokes were funny or not, but c’mon that’s so frustrating!
• Tracy Morgan’s character is goofy as hell. Literally, the only reason he’s in this episode is to preach some corny, life-lesson mumbo-jumbo and be the “strange and spiritually powerful” character that creates Nanjiani’s character’s curse. Cheesy, cheesy s***.
• The 55-minutes runtime is stretched out and way too overlong. Whole-heartedly, this story could’ve easily been condensed into a 20-25 minute runtime.
• This is sort of just a minor quibble, but the MA-rating feels so unearned in this episode. Was the excessive use of the f-word and having Morgan’s character vape really necessary?
• I don’t think it was a smart decision to release this show on April 1st. Not smart at all.
So, the first chapter in the newly rendered Twilight Zone saga is a mixed bag in the end. All in all though, I’ll still give the rest of the series a shot. I’m hoping that the next nine episodes diligently prove that their existence is in fact worthwhile. My review for the remaining episodes should be coming out once the whole season completely drops on CBS All Access.
“The Twilight Zone” is now streaming on CBS All Access