More on New TZ: A Fresh Look at an Old Idea

In today’s installment of the new Twilight Zone series (“Six Degrees of Freedom”) a crew that is just about to launch for Mars finds out that there has been a break out of nuclear war that has decimated cities. Mission control advises the crew that they in the control room are about to evacuate. The crew decides to launch for Mars rather than be nuked on the launch pad. On their way to Mars they realize that there’s a good chance that they are what is left of the human race. Some crew members don’t seem to be able to handle this well.

So here’s the deal: Most of the plot seems very similar to the 1972 film, Doomsday Machine (most of which was shot in the late 1960’s), although that crew was on its way to Venus. Although we already knew in the 1960’s that Venus was quite inhospitable, it still remained as potential habitable planet in science fiction for a few years. A bit of a humorous touch here: this film was know as one of biggest train wrecks in cinema history. The film had very low production values with heavy reliance on stock footage that led to lack of continuity and general overall lack of quality. It probably wouldn’t be a surprise to you to find out that attention to science was also quite poor. For instance, when the air lock of the space craft accidentally opens in that film, they not only lose air, but seem to lose simulated gravity. There’s no scientific reason why the two would be connected, though its understandable that people would make this mistake and why viewers would buy in because airless worlds generally have low gravity (and they are airless because gravity is weak). Its less excusable that a modern science fiction series with high production values would then mimic this same error! And this was after they went through earlier pains to show that they indeed have simulated rotationally induced “gravity.” Perhaps it was meant as an homage to the earlier film. Maybe the tethered satellites that aided in creating the gravity were destroyed. Although, if that were so, why do the women who don’t have their long hair tied back have their hair dropped to the side of their heads normally? Or perhaps it is a clue regarding the final twist (which I will not reveal).

Nonetheless, I thought that this was the best episode since “Replay”…so there’s hope!


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