The best sci-fi show ever made is streaming free on Amazon — and there’s 156 episodes to binge-watch now

Rod Serling hosts The Twilight Zone
(Image credit: Alamy)

As somebody born more than 30 years after the final episode of “The Twilight Zone” aired on CBS, I naturally discovered the sci-fi anthology series late. In fact, I’m a little ashamed to say, that it was only around four years ago that I finally gave this legendary TV show a shot, and within just a few minutes of the very first episode, I was completely hooked. 

I’ve since binged my way through almost the entire original run, and it’s become one of my favorite shows of all time. And even putting my personal opinion aside, it’s undeniably one of the most influential pieces of media ever created. Its fingerprints can be felt across the sci-fi genre even today with current favorites like “Black Mirror” owing creator Rod Serling a huge debt. 

“The Twilight Zone” is so good, that I felt compelled to purchase the seasons digitally so that I’d have immediate access to all of my favorite episodes. But right now you can enjoy the entire five-season run (comprised of 156 episodes total) without spending a single dime. That’s because the complete run of “The Twilight Zone” is streaming on Amazon Freevee

If you’ve somewhere never heard of this masterful TV show (how is that even possible?), or you just need an excuse to step back into the middle ground between science and superstition, here’s why “The Twilight Zone” remains an essential watch even in 2024.

“The Twilight Zone” is a television titan

An image from "The Twilight Zone" season 2 episode 6 "Eye of the Beholder"

(Image credit: TCD/Prod.DB / Alamy Stock Photo / CBS)

Airing between 1959 and 1964 on CBS, “The Twilight Zone” is an anthology series, which if you’re unfamiliar with the term, means that each episode is a standalone story with a new setting, fresh characters and a unique plot. There are no two-parters here, and the show even refrains from cute callbacks or winking references. Every episode is wholly original. 

Across the 156 episodes, viewers explore various settings. There are episodes set in space (usually with astronauts touching down on strange unfamiliar planets), alongside many taking place on (at the time) present-day Earth. There are flashbacks to historical periods like the American Civil War, followed by installments that travel to the far-flung future where mankind’s relationship with technology has progressed to a frightening degree, or at least what was considered frightening in the 1950s. By 2024 standards they’re almost quaint concerns. 

While you never know where an episode will transport you, most of them include some sort of moral message (But don’t worry, “The Twilight Zone” usually avoids being overly preachy), and satisfying twist endings are especially common. The focus on unexpected reveals gives the show a marvelous sense of unpredictability, you never know when the rug will be pulled and an episode spun on its head. No spoilers here but the final shocking moment of the season 3 episode “Five Characters in Search of an Exit” is a personal favorite of mine. 

An image from "The Twilight Zone" season 1 episode 22 "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street"

(Image credit: TCD/Prod.DB / Alamy Stock Photo / CBS)

Rod Serling narrates each episode. Kicking things off with an appropriately eerie monologue, before wrapping up with some words of wisdom that usually sum up the lesson the viewer should take away from what’s just been presented. Serling’s dulcet tones add an element of familiarity to the proceedings, and his inclusion helps subtly tie all the episodes together.  

While there are no recurring characters — as noted, every episode is presented as a standalone story — “The Twilight Zone” still managed to attract a host of famous names from the period including Buster Keaton, Robert Redford, Dennis Hopper, Burt Reynolds, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, George Takei, Carol Burnett and loads more recognizable faces. 

“The Twilight Zone” is the perfect binge-watch

Of the many things I love about “The Twilight Zone" (my praise above is just scratching the surface), its suitability for binge-watching is very high on the list. As an anthology series, it’s easy to watch a handful of episodes in a row without burnout. 

An image from "The Twilight Zone" season 4 episode 6 "Death Ship"

(Image credit: TCD/Prod.DB / Alamy Stock Photo / CBS)

Even better, you can very easily hop around seasons, picking out the real cream of the crop and avoiding some of the duds (episodes like “The Mighty Casey” and “The Whole Truth” are notoriously weak). Being able to pick any of the 156 episodes to watch is liberating, even if I sometimes find myself returning to old favorites like “A Stop at Willoughby” or "Time Enough at Last". 

If you’re brand new to the series and need some advice on where to start watching, check out our list of the seven best "Twilight" Zone" episodes (I didn’t compile the list myself but can verify it’s full of excellent picks). And if you want an overview of the entire show, this ranking of every single episode based on IMDb user score is pretty useful.  

Stream “The Twilight Zone” on Amazon Freevee now

When a TV show has the sort of reputation enjoyed by “The Twilight Zone” it's natural to wonder if it’s not perhaps a little overhyped, but in this case, I will firmly argue that this acclaimed series deserves every ounce of praise it's received over the last 65 years.  

Without “The Twilight Zone” our modern media landscape would be unrecognizable, and it’s no surprise that when “best TV shows of all time” lists are circulated, you can practically always find Rod Serling’s renowned sci-fi anthology show somewhere in the ranking. And if you can’t, well that’s a clear indication that something is amiss. 

You can stream every episode of “The Twilight Zone” for free on Amazon Freevee (you'll have to tolerate a few ads), which should keep you busy for the rest of the summer. However, if you tear through the entire original series in record time, you’ll also find both seasons of the Jordon Peele-helmed “Twilight Zone” reboot on the streaming service

More from Tom's Guide

Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team. 

  • The Green Hornet
    admin said:
    "The Twilight Zone" is one of the most legendary TV shows ever made — and you can watch every episode on Amazon Freeve.

    The best sci-fi show ever made is streaming free on Amazon — and there’s 156 episodes to binge-watch now : Read more
    Well-written & justifiably enthusiastic review of The Twilight Zone (The Original Series). While I concur with every word of your glowing review of objectively the single greatest Sci-Fi series in television history, I respectfully submit that it overlooked a key element; specifically that of Rod Serling's writing contribution. In addition to his having solely conceived, created, pitched and infamously narrated every episode of this groundbreaking anthology series, of the 158 episodes that comprised it's 5-year run, Rod Serling actually wrote 91 of them himself ( Original Story & Screenplay (63), Screenplay Only (23)), a truly astounding feat by any standard and a testament to the unparalleled creative genius of arguably the most influential pioneer of the medium.

    Additionally, the review may well have benefited from a few words about the series' consistently haunting background scores, written by legendary Hollywood film composers, including Bernard Herrmann (Psycho, Vertigo, North by Northwest, The Birds, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons, Cape Fear, Taxi Driver, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour...), Jerry Goldsmith (Poltergeist, The Omen, Alien, Basic Instinct, Patton, Chinatown, Total Recall, Logan's Run, Air Force One, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Waltons (theme), Room 222 (theme)...) and Van Cleave (Jailhouse Rock, Easter Parade, White Christmas, Gunsmoke, The Twilight Zone Theme...)

    Otherwise, in every other conceivable respect, Rory, a terrific review!

    For anyone who has yet to experience this mesmerizingly addictive series, Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone is an absolute must-see!