The Twilight Zone executive producer looks back on the experience of making the UPN series

Created by Rod Serling, the TV series The Twilight Zone really shook its viewers during its first five seasons back in 1959 to 1964, which is why we keep watching new versions of it. There was Twilight Zone: The Movie back in 1983, a revival series that ran for three seasons in the ’80s, the most recent Jordan Peele-fronted revival that ran for two seasons and more. Including a season run on the UPN network back in 2002–’03. Ira Behr was an executive producer at UPN The Twilight Zonewhich was hosted by Forest Whitakerand during a recent interview with Syfy Wire he revealed that working on the series’ 43 episodes was not a very good experience.

Behr said:When they offered it to me, I just thought, ‘This is it The Twilight Zone!’ I like The Twilight Zone!’ I’m always looking for something new to do, so an anthology sounded good. And it went downhill from there.

Things quickly went downhill when network executives shot down the idea that Behr and his collaborators wanted to bring to the screen as the first episode of this new version of The Twilight Zone, a story about a genetically engineered fetus that plots to kill its parents. “The answer was: ‘No! We’re not doing that episode. It makes us uneasy’. It’s the hell The Twilight Zone, it must make you uneasy. And from there it became a bit of hell to get stories past that were The Twilight Zone– specific according to them. And since they were throwing out stories left and right, you’re trying to find time to produce a show and produce scripts. Anthologies don’t need all those chefs. … After they stuck us in a hole so deep that we couldn’t see daylight, they said, ‘Oh, now we’re going to help you! (Restore the original The Twilight Zone episode)Eye of the beholder.’ [We said:] ‘We will not do’Eye of the beholder.’ [And they said:] (Replay the original episode) The monsters are going on Maple Street!’ [We said:] ‘We don’t want to do that.’ [And they said:] ‘No, you have to because that’s what you need and we make your life easier.’

Behr admitted that some good episodes came out of the match and they were able to get a lot of good actors to appear on the show. So even though he thought there was a lot of stress and frustration, he still wanted to do another season. “I asked the staff, I said, ‘Look, if by some miracle we come back, is there anyone willing to do this a second time?’ And each of them said, “Yes.” Despite all the crap that went down, it was like, ‘No, we survived. The second season might be better. Maybe they’ll leave us alone. It is still The Twilight Zone. It’s still a chance to do something different every week. It is still a challenge’.

But they didn’t get the chance. That was the end of their version of The Twilight Zoneand UPN ceased broadcasting just three years later.

Are you a fan of the 2002-’03 season of The Twilight Zone? Share your thoughts on this one by leaving a comment below. I have to admit I haven’t seen any episodes of UPN running.

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