Tag Archive: The Twilight Zone


Hansen Quality of Mercy    Don Carter Nick of Time

Toymaker Bif Bang Pow! has revealed the fourth series of its Kenner style action figure line for The Twilight Zone.  The new series will be sold as San Diego Comic-Con exclusives.  Partnering with online superstore Entertainment Earth, the figures, limited to a run of only 672 pieces each, will first be sold during San Diego Comic-Con next month at the Entertainment Earth booth #2343.

The new figures include color versions of William Shatner’s Don Carter (“Nick of Time”), Jerry and Willie (“The Dummy”), and Leonard Nimoy’s Hansen (“A Quality of Mercy), plus the almost-a-borg female robot Alicia from “The Lonely” and Anne Francis’s Marsha White from “The After Hours.”

Alicia Lonely    Jerry and Willie Dummy

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Ex Machina trailer

Jurassic Park was not only Michael Crichton’s most popular novel, it finally allowed him to synthesize all the elements he had worked out over the course of his career into a perfect story.  Crichton could easily have been the writer behind the examination of man vs. machine that is this year’s big screen release Ex Machina, now in Digital HD and Blu-ray.  Writer-director Alex Garland (28 Days Later) could have taken us on another bland adventure about man’s fascination with technology and mortality, but instead he creates a morality play that is eerily simple yet surprisingly profound.  Behind Ex Machina is a modern Victor Frankenstein complete with a reclusive laboratory and spectacular creations.  Oscar Isaac (Sucker Punch, Star Wars: The Force Awakens) is Nathan, the uber-wealthy CEO inventor atop a Google-inspired enterprise, who secretly is using his company’s collective search data to create artificial intelligence–and more.  Is he the classic mad scientist?

In the spirit of Willy Wonka’s golden ticket, Nathan launches a contest for employees with the prize being a weeklong visit to his own Skywalker Ranch.  The winner is the smart and amiable Caleb, played by Domnhall Gleeson (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Star Wars: The Force Awakens).  All is not what it seems.  Someone here is being played and it’s for the audience to figure it all out.  Nathan has really brought Caleb to his lair to test out his new humanoid robot, Ava, played by Alicia Vikander (The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Seventh Son), and give her a battery of ad hoc tests to see if she passes the Turing test–to confirm whether Nathan has really created the ultimate intelligent machine.  Loosely inspired by more than one classic fairy tale, the seemingly simple story and strange circumstances quickly grow dark.  Who is manipulating who?

Isaac and Gleeson

Garland doesn’t need to rely on his fascinating, humanoid, robotic creations–arguably cybernetic or borg, and eminently believable–to carry the picture.  Its backbone is a well-paced story with a satisfying payoff.  Fans of Neill Blomkamp will love Garland’s study of class and society in the post-modern future: relations between employee and boss, scientist and subject, and master and servant.  In a world of secrets and locked doors, who can you trust?

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Wayward Pines

“We gotta get out of this place, if it’s the last thing we ever do.” —The Animals

Claustrophobic?  Then maybe the new Fox series Wayward Pines is not for you.  But the previews for the new series make us think you might be miss out on something good.

Wrong place, wrong time.  We’ve all encountered circumstances we wish we could reverse, but most of us haven’t stumbled into an entire town we wished we could escape from, but couldn’t.  In comedy we’ve seen this on television with shows like Northern Exposure and Green Acres.  In classic cinema we’ve seen it with George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life.  But that’s not the kind of town we’ll be visiting soon in Wayward Pines.  The obvious comparison is to that quirky Pacific Northwest town of Twin Peaks–like that cult favorite series, the protagonist is an FBI agent following up on a case in a forested town.  The characters in Wayward Pines don’t appear to be as odd as the Log Lady, but we’ll learn this town is much, much darker.  In fact it might have more in common with the Midwest town in Children of the Corn, the British village in Wicker Man, or Stephen King’s seaside town of Haven.

Wayward Pines Matt Dillon

Somehow the townspeople of Wayward Pines are trapped.  Like a plot pulled from an episode of sci-fi television–think The Twilight Zone’s “Nick of Time” (1960) with William Shatner, The X-Files’s episode “Arcadia” (1999), or the reboot The Twilight Zone episode “Evergreen” (2002) with Amber Tamblyn.  In movies no director knows “trapped” like M. Night Shyamalan, as seen in his moody Signs (2002), The Village (2004), and The Happening (2008).  So it’s no wonder his next director/executive producer project is Wayward Pines. 

After the break, check out the trailer for Wayward Pines:

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Billy Mumy You're a Very Bad Man   Anthony Fremont Its a Good Life Billy Mumy A

Two classic episodes of The Twilight Zone that consistently get rated in the top ten by fans will be featured in new action figures coming this year.  Toymaker Bif Bang Pow! has released new images of the next installment of their 1970s Kenner-inspired retro action figure line.

We first discussed the first wave of figures here at borg.com back in July 2014.  Three of the new figures are based on characters seen in the classic “Eye of the Beholder,” including Billy Mumy’s vile little boy Anthony from fan favorite episode “It’s a Good Life.”  And his accessory?  Erm… his neighbor turned-Jack-in-the-Box.  Oh, Anthony.  You’re a very bad little boy.  Yikes.

Eye of the Beholder Donna Douglas A Eye of the Beholder Nurse A Dr Bernardi Eye of the Beholder A

Donna Douglas, who passed away last month, and was known primarily for her role as Elly May Clampett on The Beverly Hillbillies, gets her image on an action figure finally.  Sort of.  She played the patient whose face was unwrapped to reveal her mutant image in a land of alien-faced folks in “Eye of the Beholder.”  The line of figures also includes the doctor and nurse from that episode.

Donna Douglas Eye of the BeholderEye of the Beholder Nurse BDr Bernardi Eye of the Beholder B

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New metallic Alien figure   New Ripley figure Funko

Entertainment Earth is now shipping pretty much all of its gigantic, multi-franchise line of action figures inspired by the Kenner line of Star Wars action figures from the 1970s.  Many aren’t aware that Ridley Scott’s Alien had its own line of figures by Kenner, developed and ready to produce until someone realized they were marketing toys to kids based on an R-rated movie most wouldn’t get to see.  Those figures were finally remade by Funko toys and discussed here at borg.com last November.

The success of the Alien line prompted figures from nearly every great sci-fi and horror franchise you can think of except Star Wars:  Firefly, Back to the Future, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Predator, Escape from New York, and Terminator.  Blockbuster horror films including Friday the 13th, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, and even the cult classic The Crow.  And classic monster films including Dracula, Phantom of the Opera, and The Wolfman.  We previewed all of them here.and here and here.  A similar but unrelated toy line is producing its own line of Six Million Dollar Man and The Twilight Zone figures, too.

Facehugger figure   Kane chestburst figure

Make no mistake, these figures aren’t for the discerning high-end collector of photo-real sculpts.  These figures celebrate all things retro in their dated styling and five-points of articulation in a world of figures made today with far more movement and features.

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TZ01CovExcluMidtown TZ01CovFrancavilla

Review by C.J. Bunce

If you spent any part of the 72 hours this week getting caught up on the best of The Twilight Zone, courtesy of the Syfy Channel’s annual marathon pilgrimage to the land of Rod Serling, you may find that returning to the real world takes a bit of an effort.  A new comic book series by the critically acclaimed J. Michael Straczynski may help you in your transition.  Dynamite Comics’ Issue #1 of The Twilight Zone is in comic book stores this week, and you’re likely to find it in stock because of low turnouts in stores due to the mid-week holiday.

What does it take to make for a classic tale from The Twilight Zone?  Straczynski’s first issue has the story off to the right start.  He includes a well-concocted Serling-esque introduction.  It’s hard to imagine some of the subjects from the original series being current since they are so far removed from today, but in their initial run each episode dealt with some current political, social, or scientific question.  Issue #1 has the required currency–although anti-Wall Street stories are abundant these days, it’s still a worthy subject and the additional twists make for an intriguing set-up.  Trevor Richmond has taken his company and increased profits well above expectations.  So much so that the feds are sniffing around and Richmond’s methods are soon to be uncovered.

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Bionic action figures sets

Today at Entertainment Earth the retro-styled Six Million Dollar Man action figure pairings are on sale for up to fifty percent off.  You can choose either the 8-inch Bionic Man with 9 5/8-inch Bigfoot set, or the 8-inch Oscar Goldman with Fembot set–or pick up both sets.  The Bionic Man set comes with sound effects key chains, and Oscar comes with his signature briefcase.  Scare your friends with the freakish Fembot.  Wreak havoc with your own Bigfoot (originally played on the TV series by Andre the Giant).  The sale runs today only and since each set is regularly nearly $40, now’s the time to grab these if you ever were considering checking them out.

Click here to order the Bionic Man/Bigfoot set, and here to order the Oscar Goldman/Fembot set.

Flash Gordon and Twilight Zone

This series is produced by Bif Bang Pow! with EMCE toy company, who has also released Mego-style carded action figures from the classic Battlestar Galactica, Doctor Who, The Twilight Zone, Flash Gordon, and recent series Big Bang Theory, Dexter, and Lost Yes, now you can pit Hurley and Locke from Lost and Prince Barin from Flash Gordon against a large-headed Sontaran from Doctor Who, the airplane wing gremlin from The Twilight Zone, and a chrome Cylon from Battlestar Galactica.

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Torchwood Miracle Day

After a long wait the Starz 10-episode mini-series Torchwood: Miracle Day has been picked up by BBC America beginning with the first episode last Saturday, September 14, 2013.  Originally airing on pay-cable channel Starz in 2011, it received a lukewarm reaction from some, a hostile reaction from others.  Maybe it’s just the absence of any Torchwood for most of the country since 2008, but finding old friends Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) and Torchwood agent Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) and even hubby Rhys (Kai Owen) back in a “new” series is a welcome sight.

More than that, actor Bill Pullman (Independence Day, Deceived) is a series regular, and we quickly learn he is a serial killer getting the death penalty carried out in the series’ first scene.  True to Torchwood’s roots as a spinoff of Doctor Who, the focus of the new series is a world where only the strange is the norm.  Ripped from the files of The Twilight Zone (specifically the Jason Alexander episode “One Night at Mercy”), it is no longer possible for anyone on Earth to die.

torchwood-miracle-day Gwen Cooper

Torchwood, the agency, is no more, thanks to Torchwood: Children of Men, except for Gwen and Captain Jack.  Gwen and Rhys and baby are living the quiet life away from all the X-Files-esque world.  But the Americans see the word “Torchwood” pop up on their secure networks then it vanishes, prompting a hunt by CIA analyst Esther Drummond (Alexa Havins) and partner Rex Matheson (Mekhi Phifer)–one of the dead that is still alive, and he’s not happy he needs to go all the way to Wales to extradite Jack and Gwen to the U.S.  Two Brits and two Yankees in a buddy cop team-up?  Good idea!  On top of that, the immortality of humans translates to mortality for Jack.

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Escape from Tomorrow banner

Something peculiar lurks in the shadows behind the critically acclaimed 2013 Sundance release Escape from Tomorrow.  You can even make out the shape of two giant ears and a large white gloved hand forming one of the shadows.  The story behind the film is a story surprisingly underreported by the mainstream press, and when it has found coverage since the film’s festival release it typically centers around expressions of shock and surprise at a filmmaker who would dare to cast Disney–yes, Disney–in anything other than a sugar-coated, happy-go-lucky light.  This week was no different with the news that Escape from Tomorrow has found a distributor and is on its way to theaters across America.  Shock and awe again.  “No one really believes it will actually get released” and similar sentiments abound.

The response seems so much like the family and “friends” of Billy Mumy’s character Anthony in the classic episode of The Twilight Zone, “It’s a Good Life.”  If you haven’t seen the episode, drop everything and get thee to a Netflix.  Little, sweet boy Anthony has the power to destroy anyone around him and everyone treats him with love and care not because they want to but because they have to.  Disney’s power is like that of Anthony, the Mob, the Crown, the Pope, the Company… all rolled into one.  American families happily hand over their children to Disney as they would their church or pastor.  After all Disney is all about “families,” isn’t it?  They really do know best, don’t they?  We’re safe leaving our kids in the care of Disney videos, right?  Disney is synonymous with love.

Escape From Tomorrow - 2013 - film poster

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Station to Station cover

Readers of the anthology series Dark Horse Presents will have already read it in serial form, but those who haven’t will be in for a sci-fi TV inspired treat with this week’s release of the one-shot Station to Station.  Co-written by Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Sara Bechko with art by Hardman, this Outer Limits-inspired tale chronicles the aftermath of a laboratory experiment into parallel universes when the experiment goes incredibly wrong.  Set in San Francisco Bay’s Treasure Island, Station to Station reads like a short story from a sci-fi compilation like Philip K. Dick’s Short Stories or Ray Bradbury’s Short Stories, only in graphic novel form.  It begs the question:  Why not take a bunch of sci-fi stories like these and make an ongoing monthly comic book series out of them?

Station to Station from GabrielHardman website

As to genre, Station to Station fits in the mix of sci-fi that crosses over into horror, like many of the best tales from The Twilight Zone–the cool thrilling and chilling kind of horror as opposed to the goopy gory kind.  Unlike a lot that comes out of Dark Horse Presents that have grown into ongoing series, Station to Station doesn’t need a series because it does what it needs in a single issue.

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