"The Monsters are Due on Maple Street" is the twenty-second episode of the Twilight Zone, and was first broadcast in March of 1960. It starred Claude Akins, Barry Atwater, and several other actors, including Burt Metcalfe, later to be one of the lead writers on M*A*S*H.

The story is set (like so many other episodes of The Twilight Zone), in an idyllic version of mid-century America. But something happens: a meteor appears overhead, and soon all electrical devices fail to work, and the peaceful, friendly residents of the suburban street find themselves immersed in literal and metaphorical darkness. In trying to find the source of the disturbance, they quickly begin to suspect each other of subterfuge. The suspicion flashes from one to another, and then tragedy ensues: and then we are given the final twist.

While many Twilight Zone episodes depend on a feeling of the eerie and threats that are never quite explained, this episode is pretty explicit about its real world applicability: the red scare and witch hunts. The ending narration even entones that this type of threat is not only "confined to the Twilight Zone". While Serling's political and social concerns are praiseworthy, it only works because the episode works. Even knowing the point he was trying to make, it didn't take away the tension and mystery of the episode: even 54 years later, and knowing the tropes of the show, I was still in suspense trying to figure out what is going on. This is generally considered to be one of the better episodes of the show, and based on both its message and its execution, I have to agree with this assessment.

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