The Twilight Zone

Common Sense Media says

Classic morality tales still make you think.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Though the tales in this anthology series are all different, many focus on mean, selfish, or generally despicable people getting their comeuppance.

Positive role models

Given the anthology format, it's a mixed bag. But characters usually have complex motives -- and the personalities to go along with them. Some are clearly bad; some are clearly good; many are a little of both.


Most episodes are very eerie, and some are scary, but there's very little actual violence. The occasional fistfights and shoot-outs that do happen are all tame by today's standards. Violence really isn't the point here; creepiness is.


Some characters have relationships, but all are very chaste.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some characters smoke and drink, but rarely to excess.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that it might be hard to get kids to sit through episodes of this classic TV show. The complex, thoughtful scripts require viewers to pay attention, the pacing is much slower than just about anything on the air today (even some adults who enjoyed the show when it originally aired say that it sometimes seems sluggish by current standards), and there are rarely any big action sequences. To top it off, the show was shot in black and white. But if you can convince your kids to follow an entire episode (and you usually have to watch the whole thing to really get the point), they should find themselves pleasantly surprised by how much they enjoyed it. Bottom line? It's a classic for a reason.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Anything can happen in THE TWILIGHT ZONE: People may actually be aliens, and the characters you thought were aliens may turn out to be human; beautiful people turn out to be ugly; and the characters you're sure are crazy turn out to be the only ones who actually know what's going on. The creation of legendary writer Rod Serling, who also introduced every episode, The Twilight Zone was designed to tweak viewers' notions of reality and present issues from a new, and usually unexpected, perspective. Because each episode was entirely self-contained, these 30-minute morality plays covered an amazing amount of ground. Some were set in the past, some in the future, some in space, some in the then-contemporary era of the late 1950s and early 1960s, but all of them ended with a surprising twist that always managed to shed some light on the human condition. An added bonus are the guest appearances by many young actors who later became major stars, including Robert Redford, William Shatner, and Martin Landau.

Is it any good?


Despite passing the five-decade mark, these stories have aged surprisingly well. That said, today's kids may be put off by the show's black-and-white images, outdated clothes, and rather straitlaced moral conventions. And anyone used to the fast-paced editing of modern action shows or music videos may find The Twilight Zone's pacing overly slow. But don't mistake any of these quibbles for flaws; this show is a true classic, and it deserves to be appreciated by each new generation of viewers. Once your kids watch a few episodes (it should only take a few), they'll be hooked.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about ... just about anything. This series is famous for its unexpected twists, which are ready-made for discussions about who saw it coming, who was completely surprised, and how the story made viewers see things from a totally different perspective. The episodes are all different, but many center on common themes, such as selfish people finally getting what they deserve, or the unexpected rewards of doing the right thing. Did the characters merit their punishments? Why or why not? What might you have done in a similar situation? What point is the show trying to make?

TV details

Cast:Rod Serling
Networks:Syfy, Syndicated
Genre:Science Fiction
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of The Twilight Zone was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 12 years old March 14, 2010
Parent of a 7, 9, and 11 year old Written bysmcummings95 January 14, 2010
My kids love to watch this show, because they know that I watched it as a kid.
Teen, 15 years old Written byThe Person Guy October 29, 2011

Classic, but scary

This is a really good classic show. It is quite interesting but many episodes can be scary. I'm 15 and still get creeped out sometimes. If your young kids watch it, avoid these episodes: It's a Good Life, New Exhibit, I am the Night, Nick of Time, Long Distance Call, The Dummy, The Hitchhiker, and The Howling Man. They scared me to death!


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