In January 2017, online viewers were captured by an image that seemingly showed a television guide’s preview for the telecast of Donald Trump’s upcoming U.S. presidential inauguration, a preview that cast the event as if it were an episode of the classic 1959-64 U.S. science-fiction/fantasy television series The Twilight Zone:
After a long absence, The Twilight Zone returns with one of the most ambitious, expensive and controversial productions in broadcast history. Sci-fi writers have dabbled often with alternative history stories – among the most common is the “What If The Nazis Had Won The Second World War” setting – but this huge interactive virtual reality project, which will unfold on TV, in the press, and on Twitter over the next four years, sets out to build an ongoing alternative present. The story begins in a nightmarish version of 2017 in which huge sections of the US electorate have somehow been duped into voting to make Donald Trump president. It sounds far-fetched, and it is, but as it goes on it becomes more and more chillingly plausible. Today’s feature-length opener concentrates on the gaudy inauguration of President Trump, and the stirrings of protest and despair surrounding the ceremony, while pundits speculate gravely on what lies ahead. It’s a flawed piece, but a disturbing glimpse of the horrors we could stumble into, if we’re not careful.
Love wasn’t the first to image Donald Trump’s presidency as some sort of Twilight Zone spin-off. An image showing Trump sitting in the Oval Office, with Twilight Zone creator and host Rod Serling prominent in the foreground (as if he were introducing an episode of the show) has been circulating via social media since at least December 2016: