Beats 'The Twilight Zone' -- and most everything else-- oddly enough
Jan 21, 2000
Pros: Simply brilliant television
Cons: The years of one's life when it is not on in re-runs
I am a bit unnerved to find Alfred Hitchcock Presents under the "Adolescent" television category, but that's either (a) a temporary Epinions glitch, or (b) a deliberate poke at parents who are letting kids get away with watching Saved By The Bell: The New Class.
This was a great favourite of mine as a kid and I am happy to see it once again in regular re-runs. I was also a juvenile Twilight Zone junkie, and, no longer being completely immature, I'm forced to notice that The Twilight Zone has a few Star Trek-like failings: predictability, some weak episodes, some outright laughable scenes that weren't meant to be laughable.
There is an incredibly unfair advantage to Alfred Hitchcock Presents in both having, well, Alfred Hitchcock presenting, and a different story with each episode -- it isn't afforded the luxury of repetition. The shows are remarkably even: most anyone can rattle off their favourite Twilight Zone and, for that matter, Star Trek episodes, but people will draw a blank at a "favourite" for this show -- there's just the vague knowledge that they like it. It's smart, it's edge-of-your-seat television; it's a complete half-hour vacuum. I am not a mystery fan or even a great suspense aficionado (ditto science fiction), but something about this consistently clever show had me hooked as a child and hooked again now. The plots aren't predictable and the show has stood up to the test of time well.
Ninety-nine per cent of everything you like about Hitchcock films, delivered in easy-to-digest television format. Like the movies, the show doesn't take comparisons or imitations easily: I mentioned The Twilight Zone and Star Trek just because they happen to occupy a corner of my brain adjacent to the Hitchcock part, not because they're similar. Little else delivers the fun and excitement of this show, and little else really sticks with you like a good Hitchcock show.
The novelist Graham Greene once asserted that some of his novels were serious literary works, and others mere "entertainments." Greene's "entertainments" don't even begin to lower themselves, and most stand out as capital-L-literature, like it or not. Few can straddle this line between highbrow and entertainment, but Alfred Hitchcock Presents does so quite reliably. Well recommended.
With apologies for a rather trite review that does the reviewed subject a disservice. It's hard, for me, to straddle the line between honesty -- "Anyone who doesn't 'get' this is a bozo!" -- and a credible "This is what X is like" review for some subjects, and this is one of them. I suspect the last thing people want to see on Epinions is something that reads like an undergraduate's film studies paper, but how else does one write about Hitchcock? You see the difficulty...
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About the reviewer
K. Mennie (kmennie)
Oct 27, 2010
Nov 23, 2010 02:45 PM UTC
Alfred Hitchcock Presents made its television debut October 2, 1955 and forever changed the course of television history. The series marked the first time a director of Hitchcock's caliber had involved himself so deeply in the infant medium of television. Not only did Hitchcock introduce every episode and direct several shows in the series, but he also served as its executive producer.