TV: The Twilight Zone
In the world of television, shows often have a shelf-life measured in months. Even relatively popular series can fade away into obscurity a decade later. "The Twilight Zone," the archetypical TV sci-fi anthology show, is one of the few shows from the early 1960s that is still on the air. No "Twilight Zone" tribute would be complete without the classic opening sequence:
My first real exposure to TZ comes from the marathons that were run regularly, usually around New Year's Eve. There's just something about watching a huge block of TZ episodes that is different from watching them piecemeal, especially when said viewing is done late into the night (I think New Year's Eve is the one night when grade-school kids are commonly allowed to stay awake into the wee hours of the night). I remember curling up in a small bedroom in my Grandpa's old house to watch the TZ marathons, with the sounds of the adults' party outside.
The first three seasons were the best, of course - most of these were written by Rod Serling himself, before the fatigue of writing for the show got to him. The fourth season's hourlong episodes, with the exception of "On Thursday We Leave for Home," were mostly misses, and many of the stories frankly didn't hold up to a full hourlong treatment (contrast this with "The Outer Limits"). The fifth season was mostly garbage.
Like any truly popular show, TZ has spawned innumerable parodies and homages. Some of the funniest of these are animated, from "The Simpsons" and "Futurama."
The Simpson's "Treehouse of Horror" parody of "Little Girl Lost:
Futurama's "The Scary Door" TZ parodies: