Shakes On A Plane
After establishing both the tone and style for The Twilight Zone with its opening episode The Comedian, Jordan Peele’s sci-fi anthology returns for a contemporary spin on an old classic. With a shortened run time and a much better pacing this time around, Nightmare At 30,000 Feet is a promising step forward and a really well written episode in its own right.
A brief introduction to our main character Justin sets the mood for what’s to follow. This investigative journalist boards a flight headed back home, remarking to his girlfriend on the phone about the strange coincidences around the number 1015. Boarding Flight 1015 at 10:15pm on the 15th October, Justin sits in his seat only to find a strange MP3 player stashed away in the seat pocket. As he puts his headphones on and the flight takes off, he’s greeted by a strange podcast chronicling the events leading up to the disappearance of the very plane he’s sitting on.
From here the story sees Justin slowly descend into panicked madness, unable to decipher whether what he’s listening to is real or not and hoping to avoid certain disaster. In true Twilight Zone fashion, it’s the dread-inducing tension that really makes this episode so endearing. The imaginative spin on this episode helps too, diving into some deliciously thought provoking themes along the way.
Once again, Jordan Peele returns to narrate this one, showing up on the airline computers whilst hinting that this is all taking place in the not-too-distant future. The slight technological upgrades and various neon lights throughout the episode really help sell this effect too. Given most of the episode is shot almost exclusively inside the plane itself, there’s a surprising amount of originality in every frame, as Justin moves around the plane and tries to piece together what’s going on.
The Twilight Zone won’t be for everyone and those die-hard fans of the original may not take to this contemporary style, especially with the well-known actors cropping up through the episodes. Despite this, there’s some good acting throughout and tonally, The Twilight Zone does well to add a modern twist to an age-old format. The shortened run-time this time around helps, making for a much better paced episode overall. It’s not perfect, but it is good TV and this episode really does well to pay homage to the original series.