Following World War II, the U.S. was in the midst of several major political and social movements, and the entertainment industry wasn’t shy about exploiting it. “The Twilight Zone” is a classic example, because it created some fantastical and horrifying scenarios of what the future of mankind might look like.
Some might look at the series — that was shot completely in black and white and first released just shy of 1960 — and think that they won’t be able to relate to its themes and messages. However, after watching a few episodes, they would come to the realization that the reality of the show’s undertones is quite the contrary.
The basis of the show primarily questions the meaning of our way of life as humans, and can be taken even further to question what being human means. Themes that follow this train of thought will always be applicable, and the concepts aged effortlessly when entering the 21st century.
With the timelessness of the show in mind, many artists, writers and filmmakers were inspired by the show and what it represents. To capture the appeal of social awareness and nostalgia, many TV shows have taken after the cult-classic series. Four of the most notable of these series are “Love, Death and Robots,” “Black Mirror,” “Inside No. 9” and “American Horror Story.”
Bringing a refreshing take on both animation and the anthology series, “Love, Death and Robots” is major eye-candy for the thriller-enthusiast. Each episode of this Netflix original showcases a different cast, crew and animation style.
The first season consists of 18 stand-alone episodes, each depicting its own take on a current social or political issue. In a similar fashion, each episode has its own style of animation, ranging from cartoonish art similar to “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” to hyper-realistic with sci-fi undertones.
“Love, Death and Robots” primarily takes after “The Twilight Zone” in its episodes following individual storylines with fast-paced character arcs. While some critics commented about the gruesomeness of some episodes overshadowing the moral, most had nothing but praise for the series.
2. “Black Mirror”
This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning “Black Mirror,” the singular most popular anthology on Netflix. Most classify the series as a modern-day “Twilight Zone,” making the inspiration for the show obvious. The series only became known as a Netflix Original series after Season 3. Before this, it was produced solely in the U.K.
Just like the TV show it’s based off, “Black Mirror” addresses some pretty racy, but important, topics with its audience. With a new cast cycled out with each episode, the five season series features a wide variety of talent. This gives the casting director the opportunity to fill each role with passionate actors in order to satisfy their equally-as-passionate viewers.
3. “Inside No. 9”
First aired in 2014, “Inside No. 9” is a dark British comedy anthology written by Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton and produced by BBC. The series has slowly gained a cult following in the U.K. but is starting to accumulate fans in the U.S. and Canada.
“Inside No. 9” follows the stories of the residents inside an establishment with the same name, whether it be an apartment, dressing room or elaborate mansion. A new cast is cycled through each episode, leaving room for some notable actors to make cameos on the show. Despite having four seasons, the series only has 25 episodes in total, each 30 minutes long.
Like “The Twilight Zone”, each episode has a dark theme, addressing some hard-to-swallow topics. The writers took the series as an opportunity to make waves in the film world by saying what others will not. This gives the show an intoxicating appeal to the forward-thinking Netflix binger.
Unlike the first three series mentioned, “American Horror Story” exchanges its funky cast of characters every season instead of every episode. Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, this eight season anthology has elements of comedy, drama and horror that almost any film lover can enjoy.
The series has accumulated a dedicated cult following, all while producing quite a few iconic characters. The second, first and seventh seasons, named “Asylum,” “Murder House” and “Cult” are the most highly rated, bringing its fans thrilling characters, subtle messages and sporadic plotlines.
“The Twilight Zone” is a thought-provoking and thrilling show to put on your binge list. But when you come to the end of the series and you’re still thirsty for more, any of these four shows will have the ability quench your sci-fi, horror and anthology thirst. Whether you’re looking for an eye-opening experience or a blast from the past, you have more than one option, and as always, Netflix has got your back.