Night Gallery – Midnight Never Ends / Brenda (S2E7)

ngmidnightn everends01Wow, I have to combine these two vacuous segments to really have anything to grab onto.

Midnight Never Ends

In the first segment, Rod Serling is actually the subject of the featured painting.  His one meta-appearance in TZ was awesome, so you might think that would indicate this was something special; but consider how god-awful most of these oil slicks are.  And WTF is he holding a guitar?

The lovely Susan Strasburg is driving through a pitch-black night — and I mean that literally. The minimalist sets in this segment, including the car, are lit only in the immediate area where the actors are.  Anything outside of the car or the room they occupy is completely black.

She picks up a soldier holding a sign for Camp Pendleton.  They are perplexed that they seem to know things about each other.  It takes 20 minutes to get to an ending somewhat similar to Five Characters in Search of an Exit.

The sets are interesting, and Strasburg is good (however, the soldier is pretty bad), but the whole thing just feels like Serling phoning it in again.  And I think I saw this same premise as a sketch on a variety show many years ago.  Played more seriously, the build-up could have worked, but then the let down at the ending would have been just that  much greater (think M. Night Gallery Shyamalan’s The Village).

Even the synopsis on the DVD menu is half-assed:  “Two men can’t shake the uncanny feeling they’ve shared previous experiences.”  Yes, there are other men in the episode, but the soldier and the woman are really the main characters.

Brenda

ngbrenda03aA lot of potential in this one.  Laurie Prang plays a lonely young girl who has her moments of bitchiness — being rude, trampling over sand-castles, etc.  She encounters a monster in the woods — or is it a manifestation of her inner demons?  It is a menacing creature, but not horrific; it mostly just looks like a compost heap, not having any discernible head or limbs.

Laurie Prang is excellent in the role, and also sells her transformation when a year elapses and she ages from maybe 12 to 13.  There really is nothing wrong with this segment, and I actually enjoyed it as I watched it.  It just has kind of a meh ending; and after the first segment, I really needed something more.

Post-Post:

  • Twilight Zone Legacy:  Robert Karnes was in The Arrival, and Robert Hogan was in Spur of the Moment.  I saw Hogan in something a long time ago and wondered why they would have used the same name for the character in Hogan’s Heroes.  It also bugged me as a kid that there was a Sgt. Carter on both Hogan’s Heroes and Gomer Pyle.
  • There is more of a connection to Star Trek, where four of the actors in the episode appeared; most notably, Glenn Corbett as Zefram Cochrane (before Farmer Hoggett got the gig).

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