“There’s a man out there! Look, look he’s crawling on…”
The Twilight Zone reboot series heads to CBS All Access with some exciting prospects, with Jordan Peele – already involved behind-the-scenes – set to embrace his inner Rod Serling as host/narrator. However, it appears that the upcoming series iteration is planning to declare its place in the storied anthology horror franchise by remaking (yet again,) what is arguably the most famous episode, touting a “Nightmare at 30,000 Feet.”
CBS All Access has announced that Adam Scott (Big Little Lies, The Good Place, Ghosted) will star in an episode of the reboot series, titled “Nightmare at 30,000 Feet.” Of course, this entry is a remake of the iconic episode of the classic series, “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” which originally aired on CBS on October 11, 1963. Indeed, the gig will presumably see Scott inherit a role that was played in the classic episode by a pre-Star Trek William Shatner.
For now, details are scarce regarding The Twilight Zone reboot’s approach to the classic tale. The original series episode – written by prolific fantasy/sci-fi author Richard Matheson and directed by eventual Superman: The Movie, The Goonies and Lethal Weapon franchise helmer Richard Donner – utilized a deceptively basic premise. Shatner played Bob, a passenger on a thundery and rainy night flight, whose window seat allows him to see what appears to be a furry “gremlin” on the wing that’s trying to sabotage the plane. Unfortunately, Bob is the only one who sees that creature, which leads the flight crew and his fellow passengers to think he’s delirious as the urgency of his alarms start to escalate. Consequently, Bob – like a certain Starfleet captain – is forced to resort to extreme measures to protect the safety of the vessel’s manifest. However, the crux of the episode’s drama hinges on the ambiguous veracity of Bob’s gremlin visions.
The episode has been parodied and referenced in myriad form over the years. It was famously remade for director George Miller’s segment of 1983’s The Twilight Zone: The Movie – under the original “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” title – with John Lithgow playing a version of the agitated gremlin-gawker, renamed John. Interestingly, years later, when William Shatner debuted on Lithgow’s sitcom, 3rd Rock from the Sun, there was a scene in which Shatner – who was getting off a plane to be met by Lithgow – jokes that he thought he saw something on the wing, to which Lithgow replies, “The same thing happened to me.” Even host/executive producer Jordan Peele himself parodied the moment in a 2015 episode of his sketch comedy series, Key & Peele.
The Twilight Zone reboot series is expected to premiere on streaming platform CBS All Access sometime in 2019.
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