For many people in the United States, New Year's Eve is a night filled with champagne, kisses, televised musical performances straight from Times Square, or -- for the lucky ones -- extravagant trips to glamorous places around the world.
This marathon, in addition to being 40-ish hours of great television, gives you the perfect chance to brush up on your knowledge of the "Twilight Zone" episodes that aren't the same three to five episodes everybody lists when you ask them what their favorite "Twilight Zone" episode. You know, the one with the lady and the pigs ("Eye of the Beholder"), the one with Billy sending people to the cornfield ("It's a Good Life"), the one with the dummy ("The Dummy"), the one with the hungry aliens that "The Simpsons" parodied ("To Serve Man"), and the one with the murder-doll ("Living Doll").
These are all so widely known for a damn good reason, but still -- there are a whole lot of other episodes airing this week that are equally impressive, if slightly forgotten by history. Here are some of the ones you should definitely try to check out:
This is a great, claustrophobic episode that zeroes in on a few commonly shared fears: the fear of being trapped somewhere while you're sick, the fear of losing your mind, and -- perhaps worst of all -- the fear of knowing you're right about something but no one will take you seriously. In it, a stripper named Liz is hospitalized due to fatigue, but she soon becomes plagued by a mysterious dream; a dream where she walks to a door marked "22" (the door leads to the morgue), and a nurse answers her, saying "Room for one more, honey."
"Number 12 Looks Just Like You"CBS
Fans of dystopian fare like "Brave New World," "1984," and "The Hunger Games" should love this one, which is a spot-on commentary on society's obsession with looks. In it, a plucky teen named Marilyn fights back when it's time for her to get the "Transformation" society requires when kids turn 19 -- a surgical transformation into a physically attractive specimen, based on a dozen or so beautiful models. Actress Collin Wilcox is so fiercely intelligent and likable as Marilyn, that it makes what eventually happens to her just that much more chilling.
"The After Hours"CBS
A recurring theme of "Twilight Zone" episodes is people who think they have free will, only to slowly but surely realize (over the course of a 22-minute episode) that they're a cog trapped in someone else's machine. "After Hours" is one of the best examples of this, since it also features the terror that is mannequins come to life.
"A Stop at Willoughby"CBS
Most people can probably relate to this episode's theme of feeling burnt out and stuck, and the current state of the Internet confirms that people can definitely relate to romanticized nostalgia. But hopefully, they don't take it as far as the New York advertising executive does in this episode; which was reportedly one of Rod Serling's favorites.
Is there anything better than cruel 1 percenters turning on each other, and finally getting their just desserts? Absolutely not, and this episode combines this with terrifying voodoo masks, so obviously it's a giant win.
"Little Girl Lost"CBS
This episode is very simple, but effective -- especially for little kids who have always feared that their bed might just be a portal to another dimension.
“Five Characters In Search Of An Exit”CBS
An army major, a clown, a ballerina, a Scotsman, and a hobo wake up with their memories erased, in a room with no exit. Who are they, how did they get there, and why can't they feel heat, cold, or hunger? You'll have fun finding out.
"The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street"CBS
This episode is from the Cold War era -- but during a time when a serious presidential candidate is suggesting we ban people from our country due to their religious beliefs, its message that a little bit of fear can destroy a healthy, striving community is still eerily powerful. (And creepy, since it's about monsters from outer space.) The lights and power go out on Maple Street, and everything gets real dystopian, real fast.
This episode breaks the "Twilight Zone" format entirely, as its first 20-ish minutes are entirely silent. It's a lonely, isolating battle between an old women in a cabin and tiny but seemingly vicious space invaders -- and its twist ending, much like "Time Enough at Last," is one for the ages.