10 classic Twilight Zone episodes to watch before CBS All-Access launch

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Twilight Zone “To Serve Man” – Image by CBS

10. To Serve Man

Originally aired: March 2, 1962 – Season 3, episode 24

Written by: Rod Serling, based on the story “To Serve Man” by Damon Knight

Opening narration: “Respectfully submitted for your perusal – a Kanamit. Height: a little over nine feet. Weight: in the neighborhood of three hundred and fifty pounds. Origin: unknown.

Motives? Therein hangs the tale, for in just a moment, we’re going to ask you to shake hands, figuratively, with a Christopher Columbus from another galaxy and another time. This is the Twilight Zone.”

Plot: An alien race arrives on earth and, despite initial wariness from humans, wins the planet over by using its advanced technology to end hunger and energy shortages. After all, they’re just here to help humans out.

This leads to humans volunteering to go the alien planet to check out the alien homeworld. Meanwhile, the U.S. government has gotten its hands on a book in the alien language. Translating the book leads to a troubling discovery.

Why it’s a classic: It’s hard to not like this episode, despite its logical fallacies. (If you think about it too much, many of the key plot points don’t make sense). But man that twist feels satisfying none the less. If you don’t leave the episode wanting to scream that twist, I don’t know what to tell you.

TIME has it among their Top 10 Twilight Zone episodes. The episode is referenced or parodied in The Simpsons, Futurama, Madagascar and The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear.

Anyway, sit back and enjoy this episode about how quick to trust humans can be when someone comes along who makes their lives easier.