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Twilight Pwn: A Twilight Zone Podcast

By John & Fred

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The Twilight Pwn features a weekly review and discussion of each and every episode of Rod Serling's classic television show The Twilight Zone

Customer Reviews

The signpost up ahead, your next stop...

…The Twilight Pwn. Yes the title may have that distinct air of "unrelated leetspeak," but don't let that mislead you. This podcast is grade A material for fans of the Twilight Zone, Rod Serling, TV teleplays, short stories, or anything related to robots, however you choose to pronounce it.

For me, the Twilight Zone is the perfect representation of Americana during the probable height of her empire and at a cultural apex and turning point in popular media. The black and white filming. White men in black suits and ties. Mainstays of the times connote classic America. What is unique about the Twilight Zone though is its that it took on all aspects of the day and melded them into one medium. Encompassing the treat of the Soviets, the cultural and social fall out of the World Wars, and the novel prospects of technology and outer space all in the narrow framework of 20 minute episodes. The clear character of the show's moral was representative of the polarity in the culture, highlighted by the dramatic shift away from it at the end of the 60s. It was the last time when fiction writing had such clear-cut good guys and bad guys. Popular culture appreciated evil en carne with a symbol as simple as "the devil" or "the Nazis." It is, at its best, short story telling at its finest.

Maybe you're wondering if it's actually worth "listening" to a show about a fifty-something year old TV show, even a show with this much gusto. And clearly, for as much praise as I can afford the show, there are plenty of laughable and down right awful moments in the show's 156 episodes. However, as with any cult classic, there is plenty more to be loved that just the iconic moments. For the aficionado, the Twilight Pwn is the grail: a detailed dive into each episode, including Rod Serling's monologues and everything in between, each element of the show is picked apart and evaluated from the stand point of two well read (and watched) yet down to earth hosts, Fred and John.

The general structure goes: intro, plot, exit, character bios, twist, trivia, MST3K connection, and a final rating. Fred and John spend most of the time going through the episodes, beginning with Serling's intro and offering their own parodies. For anyone infatuated with Serling's overly wordy style, the parodies set a perfect tone. Next they move onto the general plot, stopping to play clips from the episode. Most times the clips are used to connect the plot commentary with the episode, but other times the clips are funny soundbites that the hosts can't help but poke fun at, the later of which will leave you laughing right along with the hosts. Finally, they conclude with Serling's outro and move onto general discussion. The flavor of the episode as well as the techniques used and style choices which have been threaded into the conversation through the recounting of the plot are more officially mentioned and delighted in (or disgusted at). After some character bios and trivia, the gang rates the show based on two principle elements: the twist and the show as a whole. The Twilight Zone is characterized by the stark or unexpected plot shifts --the cookbook in "To Serve Man" or the aliens in "Monsters Are Due On Maple Street" as some of the clear benchmarks at the high end. After the rankings, we are left with the title for the upcoming episode to look forward to on the following Thursday.

What makes this podcast so entertaining are the hosts. They are honest with their judgement; unclouded by any fanboyism. Their genuine affection for the show is evident, but this does not restrict them from evaluating each episode with nit picky eyes. Yet they do not have hostility towards the episodes. It seems that each episode falls between laughably bad, mediocre with some standout elements, and classic, lovable, Twilight Zoney goodness. While there are the duds, they are approached with hanging heads of two fans who have seen the heights reachable by a properly executed episode. Additionally, the hosts do a very good job of identifying the what really makes or breaks the episode. Sometimes its the writing, other times the acting, but whatever it is, Fred and John underscore the pitfalls throughout the episode with a laughing wince every time it's rehashed. A little less concretely speaking, the hosts' sense of humor makes the show worth coming back again and again. I personally can't help but laugh out loud at the dumb puns and cheesy clips, and chances are if you are drawn in by the Twilight Zone's hammy sensibility, you will find them just as funny. As with most good critiques, the quantifiable data is rather unimportant. The numbers they assign at the end are just as relevant as a thumbs up or down from Siskel or Ebert. I can't remember any specifics on the numeric ratings, but what stands out are their comments, their looks into the characters and the writings, and especially their parodies of Serling. There is a great dichotomy between Fred and John that always meets happily in the middle, and even if you are the sad soul who cannot get enough of "One For the Angels," I'm sure you will be laughing along and nodding your head as they explain themselves.

Anyone who has a place in their heart for the Twilight Zone probably has more than enough room for the Twilight Pwn as well. It's a perfect lens to review your favorites and your not-so-favorites. For me, it fills a hole for conversations about what I consider to be the most enjoyable TV show of all time. The key in the podcast's subtlety is its level of conversation. It's not an artistic view upon a classic, and it's not a soft spoken look into that iconic bug stuck in cultural amber. Rather, it's like chatting with friends who offer their opinions and evaluate a mutually loved show. Keep it up Fred and John!

Witty and fun Twilight Zone Podcast

"Flight attendant with the sweet cans" could be the line of the year. More of that....Keep up the good work. Appreciate the well balanced podcast.

Tee-hees for TZ

I was skeptical at first. There are a million podcasts of two dudes having discussions who imagine that they are interesting to listen to and they're so bad you end up wondering if they ever bothered listening to themselves. But since I'm such a fan of TZ I had to give this a try. I came in when there were ten episodes and even though I downloaded all ten I didn't expect to last more than two.

To my amazement these guys are the exception to the rule. They are genuinely funny without being fluffy or ridiculous. It's obvious that they love the show, so even when they "pwn" an episode or Rod Serling himself it is good-natured humor with no disrespect. And actually, everything they "pwn" about are based on thoughtful criticism without the annoyance of seeming nit-picky. There is both humor and substance. Even though these guys can be serious they don't take themselves too seriously. When they make mistakes they laugh at themselves. Sometimes they say they'll edit the mistakes out but I'm glad they leave them in. It makes the discussion sound more natural because in real discussions people don't have perfect memories. They don't get bogged down in the kind of trivia that some fans of TZ get obsessed with.

In each of the ten episodes I've heard there was much to laugh and think about. Seemingly without trying these guys offer fresh insights. The audio quality is very good, which is especially impressive considering that they are having their conversations in different states. The discussions are coherent and fluid as if they are scripted to some degree, or maybe they use cue cards. I have yet to hear any awkward silences or non sequiturs. So far they seem to be doing about one episode per week. I don't know if they'll be able to continue at that pace but I'm definitely coming back for more.

Twilight Pwn: A Twilight Zone Podcast
View in iTunes
  • Free
  • Category: TV & Film
  • Language: English

Customer Ratings