Imagine a Twilight Zone episode that goes something like this: An individual regularly takes to the internet in the hopes of making himself heard, railing against everything from the “hatefulness” of Democrats to the degradation of modern society. All he wants is an audience. But then the hapless individual complains on Twitter that the new CBS All Access reboot of The Twilight Zone is yet another beloved cultural property that’s been ruined by leftist cultural warriors. Finally, his wish has come true: He goes viral, and is subsequently roasted by journalists and internet celebrities and comedians with millions of followers. He’s dragged so mercilessly, in fact, that the individual eventually has to set his profile to private—depriving himself of the one outlet he had for communicating with the world.
Versions of this scenario did actually happen recently, as disgruntled viewers responding to new episodes of The Twilight Zone found themselves given short shrift for expressing dismay that the update, produced by Jordan Peele and Simon Kinberg, is too “political.” The Twilight Zone, of course, has always had something to say about the state of the world—not since the time of Jesus himself have center-left parables with clear moral lessons been so efficiently disseminated. Rod Serling devised the concept for the show precisely because 1950s network producers were so skittish about overt political messages in the wake of McCarthyism. On television in 1956, Serling later wrote in his book Patterns, “to say a single thing germane to the current political scene was absolutely prohibited.”