Review: The Twilight Man: Rod Serling and the Birth of Television
When one thinks about The Twilight Zone, you cannot help but be reminded of the show’s narrator Rod Serling. The two are inextricably connected for the rest of time and for good reason. The show has had major influences on every anthology that followed and is by far what all will be judged by in comparison. The Twilight Man: Rod Serling and the Birth of Television explores his creation of the show and beyond.
It’s no wonder that the show has been rebooted and reimagined at least three times, eachwith varying success no matter who is at the helm. Needless to say, the one helmed by the originator is the one that has preserved throughout the ages and by far is the gold standard.
Serling’s infinite imagination and genius to recognize the void on television in the first place is what made the show his legacy is most known for. He’s been made more iconic with every passing decade. Under Koren Shadmi’s skillful portrayal of a life both normal and extraordinary, we find out exactly who Sterling was in The Twilight Man: Rod Serling And The Birth Of Television.
The graphic novel dives into Serling’s life. Like one of his most celebrated episodes, the graphic novel opens with him sitting next to a women who has no clue who he is. He recounts his time in the military, the fighting to become a paratrooper, the missions he went on, and te distraction that comics and listening to broadcasts provided him.
His time in the military and the horrors of war would impact him and haunt his life as he witnessed the carnage that the Allies and the people of the Philippines faced in World War II. This would lead to PTSD and night terrors, something he’d have to deal with for the rest of his life.
In an effort to make strides to move forward, he would enroll in Antioch College, which fueled his writing and where he met his wife while he worked as a manager at the school radio station. He would go on to write an anthology radio show, one that would be of great success, thanks to his wife, Carol, which would start him on a path to his dream. This lead to him entering a national competition and then a job as a staff writer at a local news station in Cincinnati.
He would continue to write pitches until one day, one of his teleplays got bought and he would make his way onto television, which was a new medium at the time, one which would change how people would consume entertainment forever. He would go on to create The Twilight Zone, only for the pilot to be shelved by CBS until Desi Arnez stepped in and recognized Serling’s genius in the pilot script itself.
The graphic novel explores his landmark deal that would influence television for years to come and the pressure that built due to expectations. This lead to drama behind the camera physically and mentally which is all explored.
Shadmi takes on interesting tidbits like his work on Planet of the Apes and Night Gallery. And it explores his later years teaching at a local college in Ithaca, New York.
Overall, The Twilight Man: Rod Serling and the Birth of Television is an excellent and engrossing depiction of Serling’s life and legacy. The story by Shadmi is brisk, intellectual, and well developed. The art by Shadmi I breathtaking. Altogether, if you’ve never watched one episode of The Twilight Zoe, you will more than enjoy this tribute to this legend.
Story: Koren Shadmi Art: Koren Shadmi
Story: 10 Art: 9.6 Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy