The Twilight Zone

Season 1 Episode 1

Shatterday

2
Aired Friday 8:00 PM Sep 27, 1985 on CBS
7.5
out of 10
User Rating
60 votes
3

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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Shatterday
AIRED:
A man named Peter Jay Novins accidentally dials his home phone number, and it's answered by Peter Jay Novins.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Whats wrong with this ep? Well it doesnt move at all.

    6.0
    Oh my was i surprised when i saw Bruce Willis as the main character in this season's starter. This episode starts very promising with a regular guy using a regular phone to make a regular phone call but since this is the Twilight Zone, guess what, he calls his own phone number by mistake (that has never happened to me or to anybody else ever for that matter) and who else can answer the phone but himself, you heard it right, HIMSELF answers the phone.



    Well from there the story goes down hill, simply because all we see is Bruce Willis phoning all the time (reminds me of a teenager on the phone) Not truly a classic but neither a brick.moreless
  • Bruce Willis stars as Peter Novins who while waiting for his date and trying to call her accidently calls his own number and is answered by himself.

    7.0
    Shatterday is a compelling look at one man battling himself for his own soul. Bruce Willis stars in this episode who accidently calls his own phone number and is answered by himself. This story was cleverly plotted as a man battles for his life and is slowly falling apart. Bruce Willis does an ecellent job playing two chacter who are essentially the same person. This episode is entertaining and one of those episodes that will keep you interested until the final conclusion. Wes Crave is a great director and keeps te story moving at a moderate pace. Everything comes together to create an ntertaining episode which is one of the top episodes of the series.moreless
  • A Fantastic Start to a New Twilight Zone.

    10
    The 1980's version of the Twilight Zone starts off with this gem based on a short story by Harlan Ellison. The episode is a modern take on the Jekyll and Hyde theme. It focuses on Bruce Willis (Die Hard, Moonlighting) in the dual role of Peter Jay Novins and his alter ego.



    All in all, the episode is excellent. The writing based on a short story by sci-fi writer Harlan Ellison is great and director Wes Craven (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream, The People Under the Stairs) really does a good job of keeping your attention in what is essentially a one-man show. Willis's acting is great in scenes where he has to essentially play off himself over a telephone.



    Novins is presented as a modern flawed man. His is imperfect, yet very human. Through his behavior he has alienated his sick mother and several important women in his life. He is a hypocrite who complains about others when he is just as irresponsible and callous as anyone else. Novins is small and petty. In the world of The Twilight Zone such behavior can get you into trouble. An alter ego of Mr. Novins appears and he discovers this in a clever scene where Novins accidentally calls his own apartment and his alter ego answers the phone. Novins's alter ego is his moral better. He wants to make amends with his mother. He wants to make peace with the women in Novins life. He isn't going to tolerate Novins's moral hypocrisy and callousness. He wants to live a better life than the real Peter Jay Novins. In the end, the alter ego wins out.



    What makes this episode so good is its deep ambiguity. Novins's doesn't reform and doesn't defeat his alter ego. Rather, Novins fades away. The alter ego assumes Novins life and you get the impression that his alter ego is going to live a better life. In the last scene this comes out when Novins alter ego appears and asks Novins if he'd do anything different. Novins says that he wouldn't. He is resigned to his fate. What is interesting about this scene is that Novins's alter ego, the good Novins, is conscientious enough to confront his other half. Its something that he has to do to demonstrate that he is Novins's better. You get the impression that if Novins's asked him to do something, he would do it.



    Some have said that the 80's version of the Twilight Zone didn't have the moral center of the original. If that's true, this episode doesn't demonstrate it. Here the Twilight Zone of the 80's may be a crueler and more ironic, but this episode shows that it has a moral center in some cases. Novins is a better man in the end. He may not be the same man at the beginning, but he is a better man nonetheless.



    Rating 10/10



    Best Scene: The opening moments when Novins calls himself by mistake.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (1)

  • QUOTES (4)

    • (Opening Narration)
      Narrator: Some push for what they need; some push for what they want. Some people, like Peter Jay Novins, just push. If they do it hard enough and long enough, something might just push back... from the Twilight Zone.

    • Peter Jay Novins: Yeah, it's me. So, how'd you enjoy your first day being in my skin?
      Alter Ego: Fine. How'd you enjoy your first day out of it?

    • Peter Jay Novins: Why are you doing this to me?!?
      Alter Ego: You got it all wrong, Novins. You did this to yourself.

    • (Closing Narration)
      Narrator: Peter Jay Novins, both victor and victim, of a brief struggle for custody of a man's soul. A man who lost himself... and found himself... on a lonely battlefield, somewhere in the Twilight Zone.

  • NOTES (4)

    • In its original run in its first two seasons, Twilight Zone ran for an hour with typically two half-hour segments. However, occasionally three shorter segments would run in a single show, and occasionally there would be one "full-length" episode. Individual segments are sequentially listed as individual "episodes" - check air date to see what other episode/segments they aired with.

    • Narrator Charles Aidman has a distinguished pedigree: he appeared in two episodes of the original Twilight Zone: "And When the Sky Was Opened" and "Little Girl Lost."

    • This episode is based on the short story "Shatterday" by Harlan Ellison. The story was first published in Gallery (September, 1975).

    • Episode Length: 24 minutes

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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