With over 50 years of retrospect, it’s easy to see that Serling was playing games here. He flatly denied The Twilight Zone intended to provide any sort of social commentary or address any sort of contentious theme.
Mike Wallace: “You’ve got a new series coming up called the Twilight Zone. You’re writing as well as acting as executive producer on this one. Is pre-censorship though involved? Are you simply writing easy?”
Rod Serling: “Well, these are very adult, I think, high quality half hour, extremely polished films. But because they deal in the areas of fantasy, and imagination and science fiction, and all of those things, there’s no opportunity to cop a plea or chop an axe or anything.“
Rod was covering his own ass with evasion and white lies.
Beneath the blanket of The Twilight Zone, Rod was secretly slipping America social criticisms, and universal truths, as he delved into the then mostly untouched goldmine of science fiction literature. Which ended up being the perfect trojan horse for Serling to sow philosophical seeds, whilst maintaining the audience’s attention and keeping the sponsors happy.
The Twilight Zone was a true weekly half an hour headfuck treat. A few examples of the many great episodes the show produced:
THE OBSOLETE MAN
THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER
Characters he liked were not beyond redemption. And characters he detested usually got their comeuppance.
His villains were life size, petty, greedy, cruel, selfish, small time characters with all the human weaknesses but no real humanity.
“On The Twilight Zone, I knew that I could get away with Martians saying things that Republicans and Democrats couldn’t”.
– Rod Serling