These Twilight Zone Episodes Will Have You Hooked In No Time

We are now entering a national holiday. Not one of sight and sound, but of mind. That’s right: Today, May 11, is National Twilight Zone Day. And before there was Black Mirror, there was The Twilight Zone.
If you’re not a sci-fi nerd like me, your mind might be glazing over by now, thinking of all the other (more colorful) shows you could be watching instead. But that would be a mistake. While TV has progressed in terms of technology, there’s never been a show about ideas as poignant and haunting as The Twilight Zone.
My sister and I discovered The Twilight Zone during SyFy’s July 4 marathon many years ago. We sat rapt in front of the TV, watching creepy story after creepy story. Constructing far-out premises, each episode compells the audience to confront some truth about themselves, or the human condition.
Netflix is the key to unlocking The Twilight Zone. But before you get put off by the anthology show's hundreds of episodes, these are the essentials any newbie should start with.
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"Living Dolls"
Season 5, Episode 6

If you're afraid of dolls, and you have every right to be, avoid this chilling episode about a man whose daughter's Talking Tina doll is out to get him.
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"The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street"
Season 1, Episode 22

Maple Street is another generic swath of suburban America, until mysterious occurrences and electrical outbursts panic its residents. Soon, neighbors succumb to paranoia and begin to turn on each other.
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Courtesy of MGM
"To Serve Man"
Season 3, Episode 24

Aliens teach humankind to do something we've never been able to do ourselves: Coexist peacefully. But the newcomers have a gruesome ulterior motive.
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"The Invaders"
Season 2, Episode 15

After hearing mysterious noises from her roof, a woman investigates and comes upon a miniature UFO and tiny astronauts. When the space aliens turn violent, she fights them valiantly. But this is not the invasion you think it is.
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Courtesy of MGM
"The Eye of the Beholder"
Season 2, Episode 6

A woman lies on a hospital bed with her head wrapped in bandages. At last, she's receiving surgery to make her beautiful and fit in with the rest of her futuristic society — buts she's reluctant to make the change.
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"The Hitch-Hiker"
Season 1, Episode 16

A 27-year-old woman on a cross-country road trip finds she's being followed by the same hitchhiker, no matter what route she takes.
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Courtesy of MGM
"Time Enough At Last"
Season 1, Episode 8

The only survivor of an H-Bomb explosion, a meek bank teller finally has "time enough at last" to read all the books he ever wanted.
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Courtesy of MGM
"Five Characters In Search Of An Exit"
Season 3, Episode 14

Like the start of a Beckett play (and named after one by Pirandello), an Army Major finds himself trapped in a large metal cylinder, along with an unnamed hobo, ballerina, bagpiper, and clown. No character can remember his or her name or history. The only thing they all know? They want to get out.
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Courtesy of MGM
"Walking Distance"
Season 1, Episode 5

In this episode that speaks to the post-grad soul, a weathered, jaded businessman discovers that his childhood is actually within — you guessed it — walking distance.
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Courtesy of MGM
"The Masks"
Season 5, Episode 25

On his death bed, a wealthy man invites his greedy heirs to a party at his house. His only stipulation? The guests must wear Mardi Gras masks if they want to receive their inheritance. Each specially-made mask reflects some aspect of their flawed personalities. This game of dress-up will leave a lasting mark on Jason Foster's guests.
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Courtesy of MGM
"Kick The Can"
Season 3, Episode 21

My personal favorite Twilight Zone episode, "Kick the Can" tells the story of an old man who's found the secret to being young again: playing.
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"The Midnight Sun"
Season 3, Episode 10

After the Earth falls out of its natural orbit, it hurtles toward the sun at a rapid place. Earthlings must contend with a trajectory toward sun-drenched doom. Talk about global warming.