Episode Reviews (8)
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A linguistic lesson in thinking objectively
Let's say aliens came to Earth offering us everything. What could their motives be? In this classic episode of Rod Serling's Twilight Zone we are (as always) put into the shoes of the people in the alternate dimension who actually experience this, and along with them, we feel conflicted, on the one hand fearing we're "looking a gift horse in the mouth", while on the other, knowing full well that NOBODY'S motives are 100% pure.
When the alien representative leaves behind a book whose translated title is: "To Serve Man", the people in the episode -- as well as we ourselves -- interpret the word "serve" the way they want to? But of course there's another perfectly grammatical, unavoidably logical meaning of "serve"...What makes this such a classic is that this is the PRIMARY meaning of the word, the most basic one. Therefore, (as in all the other best episodes of The Twilight Zone) the message ends up crystal clear: think objectively, or pay the ultimate price. FANTASTIC Watch it again and see if you don't think it gets even better! Utterly believable, relentlessly possible -- this one's a series classic indeed.moreless
TO SERVE MAN...MY THOUGHTS THIS PAST ELECTION NIGHT...IT WAS A COOK BOOK...WE'RE ARE DINNER
I remember the night of the last Presidential election...I sat my sons down to watch this.One is in med school. one is in law school and the youngest has started his political career."To serve man" this was each of their ideals in selecting a career path. Now approaching 2 years later they understand the reason I sat them down to see this tale. Each wonder why so many people do not see thay are the lunch. People who would not stand for themselves, have never spoken up and follow like sheep. Jim Jones is a great example of the "followers"
I hope you can see the message here and avoid becoming the "free lunch"
Or are you still waiting for the free trip to the promised land?moreless
When tree-tall aliens, called Kanamits, from another planet visit the earth claiming to be able to wipe out everything that ails our planet and its inhabitants, they are greeted with guarded optimism. When they succeed in doing just that, any suspicion that may have existed is erased. When they first land, they leave behind a book in their own language, and when the title is deciphered, it reads "To Serve Man". These guys are heaven sent, end of story!
The story's main earth characters are scientists Susan Cummings and Michael Chambers, the latter who guides us through the story in flashback while on the Kanamit ship. When these space angels start allowing excursions to their own planet, Chambers, feeling there's nothing much more to do since history is at an end and the earth is now a paradise, decides to take one. Cummings, however, is not content with leaving the rest of the book alone, and painstakingly deciphers it. What she finds is that the word "Man" in the title is gramatically the direct object, and it implies a third party, an indirect object. That is, man is to be served AS A DISH. Her warnings to Chambers are too late, so, breaking the fourth wall, he looks into the camera to ask what we will do, resigning himself to his own fate, and that of the planet.
Some sci-fi stories, including a few on TZ, see space aliens as messiahs. Episodes "The Gift" and "Valley of the Shadow" are two examples, as well as movies like "The Day the Earth Stood Still" and "Cocoon". Then there are others, like the story "War of the Worlds" and the 80s TV series "V", which has been remade and is currently airing, which, like "To Serve Man", remind us that while we should not be unduly suspicious of "visitors", we should not be unduly trusting of them either.moreless
Alien and Human Miscommunication
This episode is the greatest episode in the Twilight Zone because it pulls the rug from under you when you least expect it to. It's both blackly funny and scary and fills and builds up a sense of dread. But most of all the episode solves a potential problem with most Alien Invasion stories, it's always cleche that aliens would always come down to Earth and take the reckless agressive approach by blowing everything away with their flying saucers. In this one they take a more tactical and silent approch, they go into their back door.
We pritty much see a little of the ending a doomed man is imprisoned in one of the space crafts. We don't know why he's their but it's obvious it's for a reason. The protagonist then narates the story. And it goes back to the begins where we see the melon headed aliens negotiate coexistance with humans and as a peace offering they leave the book "To Serve Man". At first we sort of have a confortable feeling about the aliens they actually provide a lot of things we only can dream of solving. From stopping all wars, stoping fammine, providing technologies that are now modern convenences, and the opportunity to travel to other planets. It's seems like a paradise but of course there is that book that is still undecoded which knaws on both the protagonist and our minds, it's sort of that feeling like someone knows something you don't but you can't put your finger on it. May'be what we should of picked up on was the use of the scale before people traveled in the flying saucers, which seems rather odd but their was obviously a more significant reason for them and we discover it at the very last moment, when we discover the main protagionst desides to take a space trip unfortunately finds out too late it's actually a trip to the slaghterhouse.moreless
To Serve Man is in some respects the greatest episode of any television show in the history of television.
To Serve Man is one of my personal favorite episodes of The Twilight Zone. The casting is great and the aliens aren't to fake looking either which is good. The story is good and is just so classic I think of told the same people the story like ten times it is just that great. The show was actually compelling and just so good nay excellent.
One of the best "Twilight Zone" episodes, and that is saying a lot because the entire series is another level of excellence as compared to other television programs.
What separates one tv show or episode from another is innovation. How many "Twilight Zone" copies have been made? But the original had this knack to take you along a path, and then surprise you at the end. While this episode is awesome overall, it is the last couple of minutes that surprise the viewer in an almsst M. Night Shyamalan fashion (the director of "The Sixth Sense" and "Unbreakable). In fact, M. Night may have taken some of his style from the "Twilight Zone".
What an awesome play on words this episode presented, and while the viewer knew from the beginning that it would end badly for humanity, many did not suspect or expect the ending and how it would happen. It took viewers by surprise, and even holds up today. Great storytelling is the key to good television, and this episode is one of the series finests.
In the new "Twilight Zone," they did a similar take off on it and while the surprise element was not there because it was a remake, the play on words was just a little better ("A Little Thing for War"). Even though this one came first, the fact that they did a clever remake, made me take out some points in the overall review, but still almost perfection.
Visitors From Outer Space descend Upon Earth With The Intent To Bring Good Things To One And All.
Another 10 & easily one of the best episodes of the series. Aliens (called Kanamits) a little over 9 feet tall come to earth & immediately set out to make it a better place to live. They also offer the people of earth a chance to visit their planet & many of them take them up on the offer. The leader of the Kanamits accidentally or perhaps on purpose leaves a book behind during one of his interrogations. The Government get's the notion that if they can translate the book, they can find out exactly what the Kanamits are up to. The book is eventually translated but I don't believe in giving away endings like the last person to write a review for this episode so we'll just leave at at that.moreless
This episode is probably my favorite episode of the original Twilight Zone series. The premise of tall freakish-looking aliens coming to Earth has been done before, but never in this way. \\\"To serve man, to end world hunger,\\\" the mission of these aliens seems harmless enough. The episode includes someone funny instances of alien, like in the UN scene. However, the legendary part of the episode is the final minute or so. All of a sudden the woman runs up and says not to go because \\\"IT\\\'S A COOKBOOK!!\\\" The classic twist in the end is so surprising and at the same time grotesquely funny that it makes this episode the Twilight Zone\\\'s finest.moreless