In their heyday, television shows like The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits were an honest spectacle, introducing rapt viewers to tropes that have since become staples of science fiction and thrillers. At the time, though, they were fresh and unheard of: talking dolls, cameras that predicted the future, even terrifying premonitions of certain death. The storytelling, single-sentence premises that hinged on what ifs? were inventive, and there was something to pique everyone’s interest.
Recent attempts to bring back TV anthologies have mostly resulted in forgettable one-season duds, but there was a time when they stayed on air for years and reached over 100 episodes. During its initial two-year run, Black Mirror appeared to be doomed to an obscurity bemoaned by its fans. But after a two-year hiatus, it was revived by Netflix — and became the massive hit it was meant to be.
This popularity, coupled with continued efforts to push what can be done on TV, has brought the biggest plot twist yet: a renaissance of sci-fi and horror anthologies. And it looks like they’re here to stay.
Settle in with these five spiritual successors to the legacy of Rod Serling and the Cryptkeeper. Your binge isn’t over quite yet.