How The Twilight Zone Reflected American Society in the 1950s

4909 Words20 Pages
How The Twilight Zone Reflected American Society in the 1950s

Imagine, if you will, a time that seemed innocent... almost too innocent. Imagine a nation under whose seemingly conformist and conservative surface dramatic social changes were brewing, changes as obvious as integration and as subtle as fast food. And imagine, if you will, a radical television show that scrutinized, criticized, and most importantly, publicized these changes, making the social turmoil of a nation apparent to its post-world war, self-contented middle-class citizens. But what if this television show was not as it appeared? What if it masqueraded as simple science fiction, and did not reveal its true agenda until viewers took a closer look? Let us examine how
…show more content…
The Cold War, the Bomb, space travel, aliens, technology -- even morality in general -- are all themes that appear frequently in The Twilight Zone. What sets The Twilight Zone apart, however, is the way in which these topics were presented. In a time of Communist witch-hunts and finger-pointing, it was difficult to present objectively the flaws in American culture without putting oneself at risk. So, Serling disguised his social commentary as science fiction; he hid the shocking facts behind even more shocking fantasy. Radical in its own time and still admired and emulated today, The Twilight Zone set the standard for thoughtful television and inspired a generation to think differently about the changes it was witnessing.

There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle-ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area we call the 'Twilight Zone.' (Engel)

With these words, and some famously eerie music, Rod Serling ushered America into The Twilight Zone. The

More about How The Twilight Zone Reflected American Society in the 1950s

Get Access