Story by Carter Scholz and Alan Brennert
Directed by Claudia Weill
Original Airdate - January 24, 1986
John Glover - Alien Ambassador
Peter Michael Goetz - American Ambassador
Stefan Gierasch - Russian Diplomat
Fran Bennett - UN Chairman
Jose Santara - Aide
Gillian Eaton - British Delegate
Richard Brestoff - British Aide

On a regular day at the United Nations, Russia and the US are arguing, trying not to declare war on each other.  Suddenly, a figure appears in their midst, announcing itself as the alien ambassador of a race of beings who seeded Earth eons ago, bringing forth life.  They've kept an eye on Earth, and have decided to rid it of all lifeforms and start again.  It seems humans have a small talent for war, and the beings are disappointed in us.

The representatives from Russia and the US ask for 24 hours to try and show the ambassador just how great they can be.  The alien tells them that they have not made this decision lightly; they are an incredibly long-lived species, and feel the Earthlings will never amount to anything.  But, he gives them 24 hours, and vanishes.  The entire UN assembly feverishly works all night to draft a unilateral peace treaty, denouncing all war and destroying all weapons, nuclear and otherwise.

The alien ambassador returns exactly 24 hours later.  He listens as the humans tell him they've crafted world-wide peace for the first time.  The alien look unbelievingly at them, then laughs.  He reminds them he said "You have a small talent for war…too small for our needs."  In their hearts humans long for peace, but they were bred to wage war so they are of no use to the aliens.  The alien ambassador says it's of no consequence…they'll just start again."  As he says this, metal projectiles move into place all over the earth to wipe it clean.



"A Small Talent for War" is a marvelously designed segment.  It shows a masterly hand at the medium of television.  Short, sweet, and deadly, it runs only about ten minutes, but there is a wealth of detail in that ten minutes.  This is what the new Twilight Zone was made for.  Quality writing adapted to the medium.  The story was written by Alan Brennert and Carter Scholz.  Scholz has only one other credit on the IMDB, the first episode of the little seen but very lamented series "Darkroom," which ran for only 16 episodes in 1981.  Alan Brennert also worked on this series and if you can find copies of it, it's worth the price.  iOffer usually has some for sale, but the series was also released in 2010 in Australia in DVD region 4. If you have an all region player you can get a professional set.  Hopefully this means it might also be released here in the US. 

John Glover as the alien ambassador is a particular delight.  He's shiny and silvery, and wierdly dressed, with a punk sort of hairdo.  His smirks and condecension are enjoyable. His sudden appearances and exits are announced by flaring burst of sound, which enhances the segment.  This is one of the best of the series, and is usually in my top ten.