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Twilight Zone: Short Trailers Released For Two Episodes Of Upcoming Series

Jordan Peele is in the Zone.

CBS All Access has released teaser trailers for two episodes of its forthcoming Twilight Zone revival, both of which feature Peele in his role as onscreen host. The spots dropped this morning on the streamer's YouTube channel.

The episodes in question are "The Comedian," which stars Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley) as a struggling standup comic whose whose fortunes take a turn when he comes into the orbit of a mysterious man (Tracy Morgan); and "Nightmare at 30,000 Feet," featuring Adam Scott (Big Little Lies) as an airline traveler who is convinced that his flight is headed for disaster. Brief as they are, the teasers give us a better idea of their respective episodes' plots than we've gotten thus far. Footage from both was featured in the official series trailer that was released last month, which was light on detail and heavy on atmosphere and unsettling imagery. They both suggest that the reboot will sport a crisply updated look and tone while remaining quite faithful to the spirit of Rod Serling's classic series; let's dig into 'em.

First up, "The Comedian," which opens with Nunjiani's character taking the stage at a nightclub to a less-than-warm response from the sparse audience. Intercut with scenes of the comic canoodling at home and riding on a bus with his girlfriend, we get portions of a conversation he has at a bar with Morgan's character, who counsels him, "The audience don't care about what you think. They care about you." The mystery man then grills him: "What do you want? You happy with your life, with your career? Don't you want it all?" "More than anything," the comic replies, and the pair have a little toast to success... which suddenly seems to come easy. The crowds start getting bigger and more welcoming, but of course, there's got to be a catch. "You will get laughs," Morgan's character says in voiceover. "You will be successful." Then, a scene of the comic inquiring of his girlfriend as to the whereabouts of their dog. "We don't have a dog," she replies, and in the following shots of those lively crowds, the laughs seem just a bit too enthusiastic. "What did you do to me?" Nunjiani's character demands in voiceover, as we see an ominous, slow-motion mic drop — followed with an appearance by Mr. Peele, who informs us, "Next stop — the Twilight Zone."

Next, we have "Nightmare at 30,000 Feet," a reimagining of the classic episode which previously got an update with the George Miller-directed final segment of 1983's Twilight Zone: The Movie. In both the original episode and the film, a passenger on a commercial flight (William Shatner and John Lithgow, respectively) begins to lose his grip on sanity when he observes a horrifyingly ugly gremlin on the wing of the plane, trying to sabotage the craft — but he's the only only one who seems to be able to see it. It was already apparent from the footage we got in the series trailer that this "Nightmare" will not be a direct retelling, and indeed, there's nary a gremlin to be seen in the teaser. 

We open with Scott's character going through security, then looking a bit anxious while boarding his flight as his voiceover intones, "The past is the past... and that will help me get through the now." He's seen examining an mp3 player which looks to be playing a tune by a band called "Enigmatique" (simply French for "enigmatic"), and then — after liftoff — telling himself, "We're running out of time." A shower of sparks flies from one of the engines, and after a brief cut to black, we get a wide shot of the other passengers, who all look to be asleep. 

"You're gonna want to listen to me," the hapless guy is seen sternly telling the skeptical-looking crew. "This is real, and I have evidence to prove what's going on here." Then, a decidedly new wrinkle from the previous tellings of this story: a fellow passenger who soothingly assures our hero that he believes him. "Right now, we're up 30,000 feet, where no human was ever meant to be," the man says. As a series of quick cuts suggest some kind of commotion aboard the aircraft, his voiceover continues, "Just the fact that we're in this plane means anything is possible." Another cut to black, followed by a shot of a helpful flight attendant letting our protagonist know that he's here to help if he needs anything. But the in-flight entertainment isn't too reassuring... it's Peele, letting us know once again what our next stop is.

These spots serve to validate our notion that this show will sport something of a Black Mirror vibe, which (if you ask us) is more than appropriate. The venerable Netflix series was strongly influenced by Serling's original, and according to Simon Kinberg — who, along with Peele, is an executive producer on the reboot — this fact wasn't lost on the creative forces behind the new Zone. Speaking with Collider last year, Kinberg said, "We look at something like Black Mirror obviously as not just the competition but the inspiration, and we want to do something that is cool and different and edgy and, like the original show, has social relevance. So [the new Twilight Zone] is something that is socio-political and tackles big themes, but in a fun, science fiction, genre way, the same way that [Peele's 2017 film] Get Out did."

They certainly seem to be on the right track; what The Twilight Zone's promotional materials so far have lacked in detail, they've made up for in paranoid, nerve-jangling intensity. Fortunately, we don't have long to wait before those details start to get filled in: the first two episodes of Peele's mind-bending reboot drop on CBS All Access on April 1, followed by new entries on April 11 and every Thursday thereafter. Hey look, there's a signpost up ahead — you may want to buckle in, because we have the distinct feeling that things are about to get crazy.