I know not many remember, but there was a revival The Twilight Zone series that started in 1985. Originally it ran for an hour and each episode would have one, two or three stories in it, which allowed them to tell shorter or longer stories than the half hour format would.

(If you're not familiar with this series, read the Background section below for the details and the unusual situations involved that led to this question.)

I've been watching the syndicated version of this series recently on Chiller and found a list of all the episodes and stories for this version of The Twilight Zone. I've found six stories from the first season seem to be missing from the syndicated package:

I haven't seen these stories in the syndicated package on Chiller and in the Wikipedia, there is no Syndication heading in the entries for these stories, as there are for all the other stories that I've seen in syndication.

Were these stories just left out of the syndication package? If so, was there a reason for that? (It'd be cheaper to include them and produce fewer half hour episodes to fill out the package, wouldn't it?) Is there any way to see these stories now (other than buying the DVD) or are they out of syndication forever?

If anyone has any information on these episodes, I'd like to hear about what happened.


CBS was so sure the series would be a hit and run for years that it pre-signed deals for syndication for 100 episodes even before the first season was done, but due to ratings, the series was cancelled after 11 episodes in the 2nd season. CBS hired a new production team and produced 30 episodes (these were one half hour each) so there would be enough episodes for syndication.

When they did that, they also took most of the stories from the one hour episodes and edited them. Some were combined into one 30 minute episode with two stories, others were given added footage to extend them to a half hour. Longer episodes were edited down to half an hour.


Don't know if you're a Netflix subscriber, but if you are, the series is available. All of the episodes you mention are available. http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/The_Twilight_Zone_Season_1_The_80s/70018590?trkid=2361637 If you're not a member, might be worth it to join for a month ($8) if you want to see the episodes badly enough.


I believe this was purely a business decision.

In Epi-log #36, Nov. 1993, William E. Anchors, Jr. wrote of the editing down of the CBS episodes -- it began as a one-hour show, with multiple segments per hour -- to a half-hour series for syndication:

This proved to be a major undertaking, as some stories needed to be shortened, while others were actually made longer by adding in unshown footage not aired during the CBS run.

There were hard feelings, e.g., writer Alan Brennert's response to the syndicated version of his "Message From Charity":

they put in a sequence of [character] Peter running ... for what seems like half an hour.

(Twilight Zone Companion, 2nd edition, p. 457)

This Twilight Zone had censorship battles, but that was CBS. I've found no evidence for censorship during the transition to syndication. The listed episodes could offend some, but no more so than disturbing episodes such as "Nightcrawlers," "The Shadow Man" and "The Cold Equations."

The production history: the high-profile revival was a disappointment in the ratings. During Season 2, the rights-holders returned to the familiar Zone format of half-hour stories. The third season debuted in syndication, being produced only to fill out the syndication order (although the quality is comparable to seasons 1-2, imo).

All together (if my math is correct), they had material for 93 half-hour shows, plenty for syndication. Most likely, the omissions saved post-production costs, while avoiding further padding. On the dvd's, all of the above episodes lack (a break) for opening narration. Also, five of the six run 17-19 minutes each, a few minutes short for half-hour play ("Children's Zoo" is shorter).

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