'The Twilight Zone' is one of the most quietly bingeable shows on Netflix

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Image: cbs via getty images

It is a binge as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between watching yet another season of Gilmore Girls and an ill-advised, impromptu viewing of The Grudge. Its duration lies between “No way do I have time for that!” and “Yeah, I’ve got an afternoon to kill.” It is an area of Netflix known only to your queue as… The Twilight Zone.

With Jordan Peele’s reimagining coming to CBS next month and four of the series’ five seasons currently available on Netflix, now is the perfect time to revisit the iconic 1960s sci-fi anthology The Twilight Zone

But be forewarned, this is one streaming sleeper cell that can and will suck you into its twisted, black-and-white hellscape, an interdimensional place of obsession that you (and all of your spare time) will likely struggle to escape. I should know — I’m still there.

If you’ve previously caught Twilight Zone re-runs on the odd hotel channel, it is unlikely you regard them as particularly addicting. Clocking in at only 25 minutes a pop, these self-contained stories were designed to be seen one at a time by the series’ original weekly audience and, as a result, remain satisfyingly bite-sized for modern viewers.

However, when the anthology and its namesake universe are presented to you all at once as an illustrious wonderland of effective storytelling and deep-seeded nightmares, it’s surprisingly easy to get lost in the antiquated terror.

It's no 'Time Enough at Last,' but 'Eye of the Beholder' holds up.

It’s no ‘Time Enough at Last,’ but ‘Eye of the Beholder’ holds up.

Image: CBS via Getty Images

As Mashable’s Senior Entertainment Reporter Alexis Nedd explained, bingeworthy shows often provide juicy cliffhangers or twists at the end of each episode, developments that impose upon the viewer an immediate need to further uncover the series’ plot by watching the next chapter. While The Twilight Zone lacks a central storyline to employ this exact method of guiding viewers further into its clutches, it achieves the same effect through its unique formatting. 

The anthology’s 138 episodes occasionally overlap to retread themes, but remain primarily connected by host and creator Rod Serling’s cryptic intros and outros. Serling and his bookend monologues act as a kind of central circuit breaker to the Twilight Zone’s horrors. His mesmerizing voice and chillingly calm demeanor weave these seemingly separate narratives into one carefully crafted world, designed to poach human fear with deft expertise while providing little explanation for its cruelty.

It will become increasingly difficult to resist breaking out the murder boards and tinfoil hats.

When you binge The Twilight Zone, you finish each episode under the ominous hang of the non-answers provided by Serling. You are repeatedly forced to believe that whatever terrors you have just witnessed occurred to these characters for some indescribable, yet cosmically justifiable reason — and, even more troublingly, accept that similar fates will soon befall others.

As the pressure to swallow the unforgiving nature of the Twilight Zone mounts episode-by-episode, it becomes increasingly difficult to resist breaking out the murder boards and tinfoil hats. In its complete form, The Twilight Zone demands answers with alarming urgency. Despite knowing such answers can never be found, you will want to suss them out, digging deeper and deeper into the series’ archived tales for non-existent clues.

Moreover, watching The Twilight Zone‘s grainy, black-and-white scenes unfold on a modern device adds to the unsettling yet gripping nature of the series. Watching actors and actresses in the 1960s, many of whom are now deceased, portray horror stories with no knowledge that you would be watching their performances decades later feels at best creepy and at worst voyeuristic. The sensation that you shouldn’t be seeing what you’re seeing quickly makes devouring episode-after-episode that much more tempting. 

With all that in mind, it may seem as though your Twilight Zone binge is an inevitability. And while that may be true, I implore you, when you do take a moment of reprieve from your streaming marathon, take stock in reality. Appreciate the color of your surroundings, watch a few cat videos, order PostMates, or otherwise indulge in your 2019 luxuries. 

If you don’t, the next time Netflix asks, “Are you still watching?you may begin to wonder whether it’s you or the binge hitting “next” in… The Twilight Zone. 

The Twilight Zone: Seasons 1-3 and 5 are now streaming on Netflix. Seasons 1-5 are available on Hulu.

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CBS All Access releases a spooky, star-studded trailer for Jordan Peele’s ‘Twilight Zone’

A new version of “The Twilight Zone,” hosted and executive produced by “Get Out” director Jordan Peele, is set to premiere on CBS All Access on April 1.

CBS aired a teaser during the Super Bowl, but it didn’t include any actual footage. So this is the first time we’re getting a real taste of what the show will be like.

This trailer is still pretty fast-paced, not going in-depth on any of the stories. Basically, it’s a montage of famous people — including Kumail Nanjiani, John Cho, Sanaa Lathan, Adam Scott, Allison Tolman and Steven Yeun — looking scared or alarmed, accompanied by that oh-so-recognizable theme music.

CBS All Access has had fewer big, splashy content announcements than some of the other new (or yet-to-launch) streaming services, but with “Twilight Zone” and an entire lineup of Star Trek spin-offs, it could become a real destination for science fiction fans.

Peele, meanwhile, has been pretty busy. He’s got a new movie (“Us”) set for release in March, and “Weird City,” a series he co-created, just launched on YouTube Premium.

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CBS All Access releases a spooky, star-studded trailer for Jordan Peele’s ‘Twilight Zone’

A new version of “The Twilight Zone,” hosted and executive produced by “Get Out” director Jordan Peele, is set to premiere on CBS All Access on April 1.

CBS aired a teaser during the Super Bowl, but it didn’t include any actual footage. So this is the first time we’re getting a real taste of what the show will be like.

This trailer is still pretty fast-paced, not going in-depth on any of the stories. Basically, it’s a montage of famous people — including Kumail Nanjiani, John Cho, Sanaa Lathan, Adam Scott, Allison Tolman and Steven Yeun — looking scared or alarmed, accompanied by that oh-so-recognizable theme music.

CBS All Access has had fewer big, splashy content announcements than some of the other new (or yet-to-launch) streaming services, but with “Twilight Zone” and an entire lineup of Star Trek spin-offs, it could become a real destination for science fiction fans.

Peele, meanwhile, has been pretty busy. He’s got a new movie (“Us”) set for release in March, and “Weird City,” a series he co-created, just launched on YouTube Premium.

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The first trailer for Jordan Peele's 'Twilight Zone' reboot will creep you the hell out

“It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity…” — now, with Jordan Peele at the helm. 

The first trailer for CBS’s new take on the legendary sci-fi series, The Twilight Zone, hit the web Thursday afternoon, revealing a stellar cast and a few vague plot points for where the dark anthology will be taking us this April.

While we’re thrilled to be getting a glimpse at the highly hyped project (and Peele’s creepy Rod Serling vibes), we have so many new questions. 

A brief list: Why is the cute boy from The Predator pulling a full The Shining? What is happening to poor, sweet Adam Scott? Where is Kumail Nanjiani’s non-existent dog? Is Archie Andrews’ dad the new Jim Hopper? Will Glenn from The Walking Dead be evil now? And how is this not happening sooner?!

Get ready to re-enter The Twilight Zone, streaming April 1. 

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First look at Jordan Peele in 'The Twilight Zone' in Super Bowl ad

Jordan Peele has stepped well into Rod Serling’s shoes in a new teaser for the upcoming reboot of The Twilight Zone.

The latest TV spot for the CBS series dropped during the Super Bowl on Sunday. Although it didn’t give too much away, the sound of those unmistakeable theme song notes will be enough to get fans old and new geared up.

Peele, the host and showrunner for the series, is seen in the iconic narrator role for the first time, wandering through Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium, emptied of Super Bowl fans. 

The best bit? Sitting on the 50-yard line is that fabled door to the Twilight Zone itself. 

The Twilight Zone premieres on CBS All Access on April 1.

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