Real Steel, which opens this Friday, is based on a Twilight Zone episode called "Steel" (which in turn was based on a Richard Matheson short story). The TV episode and the Hugh Jackman movie are both set in a future when boxing is a sport for robots; both also center around a down-on-his-luck fighter turned robo trainer. But the similarities end there: The 1963 episode had the struggling Steel Kelly (Lee Marvin) donning a robot costume and getting in the ring after his old, obsolete 'bot breaks down before a fight. He is pummeled mercilessly and only gets half the payday, leaving the viewer with the pessimistic feeling that indefatigability be damned, humans will never defeat machines. The new film will not brook such pessimism: In Real Steel, Jackman's deadbeat dad trains a broken-down robot to be a champion in order to impress his young son. Let's see a machine do that! Yay, humans; boo, cynicism! With the recent news that Warner Bros. is looking at big-name directors to do a Twilight Zone movie based on one story (as opposed to the 1983 anthology version), we wonder if they'll be taking a Real Steel approach to the classic series, wringing out all the pesky irony from the series in order to come up with a feel-good four-quadrant hit. Sorry, Rod Serling, your downer twists have no place in today's multiplexes! As a service to the studios, here are pitches for five classic Twilight Zone episodes that can be updated the Jackman way.BEGIN SLIDESHOW
Most Watched on Vulture
Most Viewed Stories
HGTV Is a Never-ending Fantasy Loop. Look Deeper, and It Gets Pretty Ugly.
Honestly, Interviewing With SNL’s Lorne Michaels Sounds Like a Surprisingly Chill Experience
What’s New on Netflix: September 2017
Ain’t It Cool News Founder Harry Knowles Accused of Sexual Assault
The 100 Hardest Video-Game Bosses, Ranked
Will I Hate Mother!? A Serious Quiz
The Saddest Moment in Lady Gaga’s Netflix Doc Involves Taylor Kinney
Before Coming Back to Will & Grace, Debra Messing Asked That Grace ‘Be a Feminist’
Every Star Trek TV Show, Ranked
What’s Leaving Netflix: October 2017
Latest News from VultureOutlander Recap: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Randall?
Caitriona Balfe’s best work of the season.Jennifer Lopez Donates $1 Million to Puerto Rico in the Wake of Hurricane Maria
The island remains without power following the Category 4 storm.The American Idol Reboot Finally Landed Its Second Celebrity Judge
Auditions start in a week. No pressure!Star Trek: Discovery’s Gorgeous Opening Sequence Looks Like It Was Sketched by Michelangelo
May these images live long and prosper.Before Coming Back to Will & Grace, Debra Messing Asked That Grace ‘Be a Feminist’
When Megan Mullally was asked if she wanted to change anything about her character, she answered simply: “No.”J. Cole Is Encouraging Everyone to Boycott the NFL
“Repeat this with another company, and another.”Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season 3 Trailer: Josh Chan Must Die!
Payback is a real bitch.Stevie Wonder Takes ‘Both Knees’ on Behalf of America
Yeah, he doesn’t like you, Trump.Ain’t It Cool News Founder Harry Knowles Accused of Sexual Assault
Knowles “categorically” denies the claims.Halt and Catch Fire Recap: The Broken Places
“A Connection Is Made” is a joyful episode.
“They just don’t seem interested in coming.”Soul Legend Charles Bradley Dead at 68
The singer was battling cancer over the past year.Mike Schur Solidifies His ‘King of NBC Comedy’ Status With Two More Pilots
When does this man have time to sleep?We Wouldn’t Mind Spending 25 Years With Kyle MacLachlan in The Late Late Show’s Red Room
Enunciate your words, damnit!Miss Blair, Dorota Isn’t Amused That She Didn’t Turn Out to Be Gossip Girl
“I felt like nobody knew who Gossip Girl was going to be till the day we did it.”Honestly, Interviewing With SNL’s Lorne Michaels Sounds Like a Surprisingly Chill Experience
Colin Jost didn’t do himself any favors.Matthew Vaughn Gave the Kingsman: The Golden Circle Actors Altitude Sickness
The director of the spy sequel reveals the hardest scenes to nail.Mel Brooks Thinks Blazing Saddles Never Could Have Been Made in Today’s ‘Stupidly Politically Correct’ Climate
“Comedy is the lecherous little elf whispering in the king’s ear, always telling the truth about human behavior.”Seth Meyers Says If You Can’t Connect the Dots When It Comes to Russia, It’s Because They’ve Basically Fused Into One Giant Dot
With North Korea and repealing Obamacare grabbing the limelight, it’s easy to forget there’s an investigation bubbling on the back burner.Theater Review: KPOP Is Gangnam Style With Substance Beneath
Under the glam, it’s a discomfiting looks at the struggles faced by Asian artists.