News

The Twilight Zone Early Reviews: Critics Gush Over Jordan Peele's Reboot of a Classic

Find out what critics are saying about the red-hot producer-director's update of the sci-fi series for streaming.

by | March 28, 2019 | Comments

Industry observers squealed like giddy preteens when they heard that Jordan Peele, director of horror films Get Out and just-released Us, planned to reboot the sci-fi/fantasy/psychological thriller/horror TV series, The Twilight Zone. And, judging by the early reviews, the auteur did not disappoint.

The CBS All Access anthology series’ cast includes some of today’s most celebrated actors, including Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick), Jessica Williams (2 Dope Queens), Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation), Taissa Farmiga (American Horror Story), John Cho (Star Trek Beyond), DeWanda Wise (She’s Gotta Have It), Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead), and more, and Peele himself hosts and narrates the series.

While the original Twilight Zone series has an 80% Tomatometer score, Peele has scored an excellent 95% (based on 20 reviews of the four screeners sent to critics) and Certified Fresh status on his adaptation right out the gate.

Can The Twilight Zone: Season 1 (2019) 70% sustain its lofty early Tomatometer score? Check out what critics have to say about the series so far:


Does the series live up to or surpass the original? 

Jordan Peele as The Narrator of the CBS All Access series THE TWILIGHT ZONE. Photo Cr: Robert Falconer/CBS © 2018 CBS Interactive. All Rights Reserved.

(Photo by Robert Falconer/CBS)

The Twilight Zone reboot is exciting for both being an homage to the original and updated in all the right places. Some of the episodes are going to work well while others aren’t. Just like the original.” — Tim Surette, TV Guide

“This new Twilight Zone doesn’t have its own stamp yet, merely aping Serling’s, but it has potential. The changes and updates, even when not perfectly executed, are where the show can shine going forward.” — Kyle Anderson, Nerdist

“Jordan Peele proves that you can reboot a show and make it just as good as the original while updating it for a whole new audience. The Twilight Zone is back and, out of the gate, as good as it’s ever been.” — Rafael Motamayor, Bloody Disgusting

“This take on The Twilight Zone is nothing short of masterful and Rod Serling would be proud. Everything about this show is excellent and will make you question your reality in a way that only a rare piece of entertainment can.” — Alex Maidy, JoBlo’s Movie Emporium

“Reworking ideas from the original series in his own inimitable style, Peele’s riff on The Twilight Zone is mesmerizing and unforgettable.” — Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com


What if I haven’t seen the original series?

TWILIGHT ZONE, William Shatner, in the ep: 'Nightmare At 20,000 Feet,' 10/11/63. Season 5

(Photo by Everett Collection)

“It’s an inclusive space as much as a creative one, making the 2019 Twilight Zone a new machine built to last.” — Ben Travers, indieWire

“Proves itself a worthy successor to the original while updating its familiar formula for the modern world we live in.” — Dave Nemetz, TV Line

“In Serling’s original, characters had to look inward before they could discover the truth of their nightmarish circumstances. Despite its moments of levity, the CBS reboot is faithful to Serling in that fundamental respect.” — Adam Epstein, Quartz

“Jordan Peele brings a unique vision to Rod Serling’s landmark series, all without losing the tone, the finesse, and the smoky swagger that made it so iconic and enduring.” — Michael Roffman, Consequence of Sound



How is Peele as the host and narrator?

“The one performer we don’t get enough of is Peele, who admirably fills Rod Serling’s shoes as the onscreen narrator. With a rich, measured voice, and a steady gaze, Peele is so magnetic he immediately draws us in.” — Kristi Turnquist, Oregonian

“Maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise that the last few years also saw the rise of the ideal person to replace the original sci-fi philosopher, Rod Serling. I’m talking about Jordan Peele, the sketch comedian turned modern day horror maestro who — fresh off the record-breaking success of his sophomore feature, Us — is shepherding us back through the spinning door into a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. (Also known as CBS All Access.) ” — Vinnie Mancuso, Collider


How’s the acting?

"Nightmare at 30,000 Feet" -- Pictured: Adam Scott as Justin Sanderson of the CBS All Access series THE TWILIGHT ZONE available to stream on Monday, April 1st. Photo Cr: Robert Falconer/CBS © 2018 CBS Interactive. All Rights Reserved.

“The cast is spectacular, with great actors like Kumail Nanjiani, Adam Scott, Sanaa Lathan, Greg Kinnear, and Steven Yeun as the leads in their respective episodes.” — Kevin Lever, Tell-Tale TV

“‘A Traveler’ is dark, mean, and imaginative. It also has the benefit of being anchored by a spectacular performance from Steven Yeun, an actor who’s star continues to rise and should be bracing for major things.” — Meghan O’Keefe, Decider



Are there any negatives? 

“Peele’s Twilight Zone feels neither like the best of Peele nor much like The Twilight Zone. It’s a mismatch of talents that, in the four episodes provided to critics, falls short of justifying its presence.” — Daniel D’Addario, Variety

“The 2019 Twilight Zone often dabbles in topics that are painfully relevant to today, but the real tragedy is, they were just as prevalent in Serling’s time, too. Our progress has been minimal.” — Chris Evangelista, Slashfilm

“It’s frustrating to see The Twilight Zone end up on CBS All Access instead of cable TV. While CBS gives primetime slots to conservative crime procedurals like NCIS and CSI, it cloisters away its best (and most racially diverse) programming on a subscription service that most people just aren’t going to pay for. That’s why Star Trek: Discovery isn’t the pop culture touchstone it should be, and why The Good Fight isn’t widely recognized as the best ongoing political drama of the Trump era. Maybe Peele’s brand is strong enough to invite an influx of new subscribers, proving CBS’s strategy right.” — Gavia Baker-Whitelaw, The Daily Dot


Any final thoughts? 

"Replay" -- Sanaa Lathan as Nina Harrison and Damson Idris as Dorian Harrison of THE TWILIGHT ZONE for CBS All Access. Photo Cr: Robert Falconer/CBS © 2018 CBS Interactive. All Rights Reserved.

(Photo by Robert Falconer/CBS)

“Like Peele’s films, the show works on multiple levels, weaving together the personal and the political to craft characters as nuanced as its themes.” — Judy Berman, TIME Magazine

“That this series has already figured out that it can be political simply by virtue of the stories it tells, the points of view it adopts, and the actors it employs is further proof that magic can happen in The Twilight Zone.” — Matt Zoller Seitz, New York Magazine/Vulture


Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.

Tag Cloud

Pride Month blaxploitation Chernobyl hispanic Ellie Kemper movie films Pop TV name the review TV One PaleyFest screen actors guild FOX ABC Signature OWN historical drama werewolf Interview FX FX on Hulu toronto TV movies Syfy Arrowverse breaking bad fast and furious sag awards Oscars television MTV mockumentary boxoffice Mary Tyler Moore Cannes Premiere Dates cancelled TV series Marathons BBC America Fox News BET Awards classics TCA Awards Awards Tour blockbuster Teen independent Disney Channel versus know your critic Disney streaming service Mystery christmas movies jamie lee curtis RT History CW Seed medical drama Polls and Games hidden camera based on movie scorecard game of thrones dc superhero Nominations police drama TV renewals Film Festival 72 Emmy Awards monster movies ViacomCBS LGBT renewed TV shows TBS cats Tomatazos new zealand Binge Guide Drama streaming cartoon spanish language USA Tubi marvel cinematic universe 2019 Bravo E! composers X-Men trailers 99% sports football reviews Apple quibi Hallmark Apple TV Plus Emmys Image Comics children's TV San Diego Comic-Con south america singing competition AMC Amazon Prime Video Sneak Peek rotten nbcuniversal Amazon Studios The Purge ratings Travel Channel australia worst movies Thanksgiving The Arrangement deadpool Trophy Talk Shondaland superman finale Alien Spectrum Originals disaster Disney+ Disney Plus romance parents Captain marvel Holiday Summer 71st Emmy Awards Best and Worst Action Pet Sematary comiccon natural history Animation cancelled pirates of the caribbean DC Universe Rom-Com The CW Schedule GLAAD diversity DirecTV comic Cosplay 4/20 biography TCA TV Land Adult Swim Watching Series rt archives Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Opinion 2017 documentaries adaptation crime First Reviews documentary Ghostbusters Shudder venice Black Mirror docudrama Esquire YA Marvel Studios toy story psycho Nat Geo El Rey Kids & Family discovery TCM blockbusters golden globes USA Network Song of Ice and Fire Super Bowl Pop universal monsters Exclusive Video WarnerMedia spy thriller prank Mudbound The Academy Quiz Musical RT21 CNN IFC Hear Us Out cinemax strong female leads Masterpiece spanish ITV free movies TLC screenings APB Creative Arts Emmys MCU Comedy Central Disney Plus stand-up comedy Food Network Logo asian-american crime thriller 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards WGN Extras Rocketman heist movie ID satire chucky crossover slashers ghosts transformers canceled OneApp halloween stop motion Netflix MSNBC laika king kong Turner Classic Movies VICE Walt Disney Pictures Lifetime Sundance TV Spike video on demand serial killer nature The Witch Christmas VOD YouTube BBC comic books live action popular robots CMT HBO Go kaiju festivals Star Trek SXSW Film Funimation cancelled television Martial Arts worst PBS Nickelodeon DC streaming service thriller indie dogs harry potter saw Hulu anime Certified Fresh all-time true crime Lifetime Christmas movies Winners Country A24 Comics on TV mutant Sundance Now jurassic park travel A&E spinoff a nightmare on elm street halloween tv remakes Biopics indiana jones aliens CBS All Access ABC Family Broadway mission: impossible unscripted elevated horror binge aapi Western Vudu ABC Amazon Tumblr Amazon Prime Starz political drama Set visit Fox Searchlight Pacific Islander New York Comic Con IFC Films History italian Television Critics Association miniseries The Walking Dead scene in color cancelled TV shows SDCC Dark Horse Comics dramedy Endgame Election YouTube Premium zombie First Look new star wars movies child's play Brie Larson See It Skip It Baby Yoda dark Sony Pictures Avengers Lucasfilm Box Office fresh Spring TV french Paramount Network Writers Guild of America Disney Warner Bros. Pirates 21st Century Fox Legendary Family Musicals Emmy Nominations DGA Marvel Crackle what to watch Superheroe cops Mary Poppins Returns TCA 2017 directors lord of the rings space twilight 2016 E3 obituary Year in Review Photos Discovery Channel YouTube Red science fiction 2015 Sci-Fi 2021 period drama Stephen King Podcast Marvel Television sequel sitcom Academy Awards series Universal Pixar romantic comedy james bond anthology Valentine's Day GoT BBC One video Britbox Mary poppins Comic Book Netflix Christmas movies golden globe awards TIFF Trivia Reality Competition black Turner VH1 Music Paramount Plus foreign psychological thriller Holidays Infographic dragons President book doctor who Fall TV streaming movies Anna Paquin Awards archives book adaptation 20th Century Fox comedies DC Comics Character Guide Apple TV+ technology festival Columbia Pictures Countdown TCA Winter 2020 adventure Superheroes stoner witnail 93rd Oscars kong Calendar franchise spider-man The Walt Disney Company Television Academy kids scary movies award winner war international razzies emmy awards spain Showtime hist HBO target rotten movies we love reboot cooking boxing Reality TruTV nfl Tarantino hollywood Cartoon Network animated godzilla CBS tv talk game show Mindy Kaling die hard sequels Women's History Month concert criterion facebook Chilling Adventures of Sabrina latino Crunchyroll joker comics Elton John HBO Max zero dark thirty TNT American Society of Cinematographers Rocky cars Hallmark Christmas movies NYCC Peacock rom-coms Heroines japanese Epix Trailer 2018 dceu crime drama Red Carpet teaser Horror SundanceTV Acorn TV NBC 2020 Star Wars vampires best Fantasy Black History Month supernatural green book zombies batman National Geographic casting Freeform Rock Grammys cults politics docuseries Toys LGBTQ richard e. Grant revenge BET canceled TV shows 24 frames GIFs new york Ovation Lionsgate ESPN women critics Comedy BAFTA FXX talk show Classic Film movies 007 PlayStation news justice league theme song social media Winter TV Sundance TV high school Video Games telelvision Paramount 45