Why Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Owes a Big Debt to The Twilight Zone

But the history between the two franchises goes back much further than that.

The Twilight Zone and the Final Frontier

We have talked before about the pivotal role Lucille Ball played in the birth of Star Trek, but The Twilight Zone also started life as a pilot in CBS’s Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse anthology series, with Lucille Ball’s business partner and then-husband playing Rod Serling’s role of providing the opening and concluding narration of the episode.

The Twilight Zone paved the way for more than just bringing science fiction to the small screen. It also pioneered Star Trek’s technique of using aliens with antennae and funny hats to talk about the kind of real-world political issues that advertisers and network heads alike wanted no part of.

As well as Leonard Nimoy, The Twilight Zone also gave roles to actors including William Shatner, George Takei (who also appeared in the recent Jordan Peele-fronted reboot), James Doohan, Arlene Martel (the original actor to play Spock’s fiancée, T’Pring), and Susan Oliver, who played the stranded human Captain Pike met in the original Star Trek pilot (and who the character is destined to end up with in “The Menagerie.”)

There was also plenty of talent cross-pollination behind the camera, with Jerome Bixby writing Star Trek’s “Mirror, Mirror,” “By Any Other Name,” “Day of the Dove,” and “Requiem for Methuselah,” as well as The Twilight Zone episode “It’s A Good Life” (which had a premise very similar to Star Trek’s “Charlie X”). “The Man Trap,” one of about three episodes to have a claim on being the first-ever Star Trek episode (depending on how you count) was written by George Clayton Johnson. It was an episode about a doomed, predatory shape-shifter, similar to “The Four of Us Are Dying,” which is based on a story written by Johnson.

Richard Matheson was a science fiction heavyweight in his own right, and crewed the typewriter behind Star Trek’s “The Enemy Within,” as well as Twilight Zone episodes “And When the Sky Was Opened,” “Third from the Sun,” “The Last Flight,” and the classic, William Shatner-starring, “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.”

Source : https://www.denofgeek.com/tv/star-trek-strange-new-worlds-big-debt-the-twilight-zone/

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