"Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the Night Gallery."
An (initially) hour-long horror and Speculative Fictionanthology series, hosted by Rod Serling, which ran on NBC for three seasons (1970-1973). Each episode includes multiple segments tied together by the Framing Device of a gallery of paintings inspired by the featured stories. The stories include both originals (many written by Serling) and adaptations of works by the likes of Richard Matheson, Basil Copper, and HP Lovecraft. (The segments "Cool Air" and "Pickman's Model" are the first and still most famous Lovecraft adaptations made for television.)Unusually for the formatnote and, oddly, bearing a certain resemblance to Sketch Comedy, the individual segments are not of a set length. They range from one-minute vignettes to long stories that take up most of the episode's run time (and everything in between); the number of segments per episode varies accordingly.Although the show was subject to Executive Meddling from the beginning (much to Rod Serling's displeasure - unlike The Twilight Zone, he didn't have creative control) the third season saw the most of this (and possibly a bit of Screwed by the Network), with the episode length reduced to a half hour and the timeslot moved from Wednesday to Sunday. It was cancelled midway through the season.In syndication, the run was stretched by adding repackaged stories from the short-lived Paranormal Investigation show The Sixth Sense and by splitting the first two seasons' episodes into half hours. The latter change led to heavy re-editing, with longer stories cut down and shorter ones padded to fit the new length.
This series provides examples of:
Creator Backlash: Rod Serling didn't mind being blamed when things went wrong on The Twilight Zone, but it was a different matter here because "when it was bad (he) had nothing to do with it."
Darker and Edgier: The show leans more towards horror than Serling's previous show Twilight Zone.
Wheel Program: The show was part of NBC's Four in One in its first season before becoming a stand-alone program in season 2.
Episodes of this series provide examples of:
Academy of Evil: "Class of 99" and "The Academy," where it's implied the students never graduate, in the case of The Academy, because Its actually a prison for juvenile criminals, where they are simply left to rot rather than reformed. In the case of the Class Of 99, the students are robots that are being trained to replace humans
Phyllis Diller, known for her piercing voice and laugh, plays the titular Pamela in "Pamela's Voice." That is, she's a dead woman who is haunting the husband (John Astin) that killed her because, among all the things he hated about her, her voice was the number one thing he couldn't stand. It turns out he's dead too, and his punishment in Hell is her heaven, where she can just keep talking, and talking, and talking, and he can't do a thing about it.
Bratty Half-Pint: "Brenda." The only true friend she makes is a shambling monster that gets trapped in a pit.
Breaking and Bloodsucking: Subverted and parodied in "A Midnight Visit to the Neighborhood Blood Bank." A vampire breaks into a woman's room and goes down to suck her blood. At the last second, she wakes up and says "I gave at the office." He apologizes, makes a note in his book, and flies off.
Caustic Critic: "A Fear of Spiders," although the critic in question is a subversion. He's not shown writing pointlessly cruel gourmet reviews, but he's pointedly cruel to a female suitor and the building supervisor.
Even Evil Has Standards: "The Devil Is Not Mocked". It turns out that the resistance force that the Nazis have been looking for is made up of vampires, and led by none other than Count Dracula. They may feed on human blood, but that doesn't mean they condone Adolf Hitler attempting to wipe out an entire race in mass genocides.
Informed Attractiveness: "The Different Ones". A hideously deformed young man is part of an exchange program with a student from another planet who is part of the program for the same reason. Only the student from the other planet looks like a normal human, and the natives of his planet all look like the student from Earth- and the alien girls all think the new arrival is pretty cute, leading to a surprise Happy Ending.
Ironic Hell: "Hell's Bells", Certain Shadows on the Wall", "Pamela's Voice", "Lone Survivor".
Nothing Is Scarier: "The Cemetery." We never actually see the old man rise from his grave, but just seeing it happening on the painting and imagining it happening for real makes it all the more frightening. The same occurs for his nephew at the end. And unlike the previous case, this time it's happening for real.
Obfuscating Disability: One episode had a con man faking being crippled to collect a fat settlement visiting a shrine in Mexico with reputed miraculous healing powers visited by sick and infirm pilgrims - he intends to get "cured" and walk out scot-free in front of an insurance investigator. As he saunters out, a miracle does occur - just as a blind child gains sight again, the con man's miraculously stricken blind.
The Power of Hate: In "The Cemetery", the butler deliberately plants the idea that his current master's grandfather may have a hatred strong enough to outlast the grave. The idea turns out to be true, but it's not the grandfather's.
Sadist Teacher: "Class of '99". The teacher, played by Vincent Price, is instilling in his graduating class lessons in bigotry and hatred. It helps that they're robots.
Shout-Out: Lovecraft is repeatedly mentioned if his works aren't the basis of one of the stories. "Miss Lovecraft Sent Me," is one of the shorter stories, and in "Professor Peabody's Last Lecture," the eponymous Professor is reading off the names of numerous Lovecraftian deities, and one his students has the last name "Lovecraft".