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SUNDAY CINEMA: “The Obsolete Man,” a Must-See Twilight Zone Episode

I thought I had seen all the episodes of The Twilight Zone. My Tivo proved me wrong.

It recorded the 1961 episode titled “The Obsolete Man,” a fantastic story about an Orwellian future and the one man who dared stand against it. It’s low-key, being largely dialogue-driven, but it’s nonetheless captivating thanks to a marvelous script written by Rod Serling himself. Excellent performance are given by Burgess Meredith (he of another excellent episode, “Time Enough at Last”) as Romney Wordsworth and Fritz Weaver as The Chancellor.

Great stuff. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

11 Comments on SUNDAY CINEMA: “The Obsolete Man,” a Must-See Twilight Zone Episode

  1. What a coincidence. I caught “The Obsolete Man” a few weeks ago on my local over the air TV. I had not seen it before, and was equally impressed. “Time Enough At Last” has always been my favorite Twilight Zone episode, so I was surprised that Burgess Meredith and done two great TZ episodes.

  2. Hmm. This episode doesn’t seem to be in my “complete” collection of TZ discs! How did that happen?

    • Terry, that makes me nervous. After I read this post, I went to Amazon to research the complete collections of Twilight Zone. The Blu-Ray edition is awful tempting. I’d hate to buy it and find out they forgot some episodes.

      • Terry, “The Obsolete Man” is in the “complete” collection of Twilight Zone discs. It’s the very last episode of the Second season. On disc five.

        The second season also has another great Burgess Meredith episode: “Mr. Dingle, the Strong.”

  3. I liked this episode when I first saw it but on subsequent viewings found the ending a bit heavy handed especially the, “Yes. For God’s sake, I will.” I know it was the Cold War and it was us God-fearing Murricans versus those Godless Commies, but I didn’t like that little addition.

    Now, “The Howling Man”…that one rocks.

    • Paul Weimer (@PrinceJvstin) // August 25, 2014 at 5:15 am //

      The religious angle of the story is a bit ham handed. The story isn’t quite as perfect as Time Enough at Last. But its damn good

    • I had a similar reaction. It’s very well done for a TV show, but I can’t help but to notice what’s apparently an anti-establishment/authority piece conforms with exactly the establishment mindset of the time it was produced, right now to the invocation of god, and the anti-dictatorship slant.

      Not saying either are good (godlessness or dictatorship), just that it seems to take some of it’s angle from the dominant mindset of the times.

  4. Looks like John Scalzi etc at the SFWA meeting,attacking Mike Resnick.


  5. I caught this one on the last SyFy TZ marathon, so this is what, 3 episodes for Burgess?

  6. Not ham-handed, but true to the times and the story. The closer we get to accepting the “State” thought processes, the more hokey that ending will seem. Or should I say, obsolete.

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