There’s not much to add. Over the last 25 years or more, Twin Peaks has shoehorned a place in cult TV history, there are countless reviews, blogs and websites out there that give in-depth analysis and no doubt with season 3 on the way it’ll find more fans along the way.
Herk Harvey’s Carnival of Souls, Alan Parker’s Angel Heart, Ray Bradbury’s anthology shows, The Fugitive, Outer Limits, The Twilight Light Zone, to name a few all touched on the themes contained in Mark Frost and David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. In 1990 for TV it was ahead of its time, its atmosphere mixed with mystery and symbolism hadn’t been merged in quite the same way. The horror and ‘who is the killer?’ plot was stretched over two seasons, even popping in an abundance of subplots including a who shot J.R-like story – it was also followed by Fire Walk with Me a prequel, part sequel film.
In retrospect it was ground breaking cult TV. It’s unorthodox, somewhat non linear storytelling with a supernatural element is now mainstream, common place and has been tuned and honed since. That said, it’s quirky, operatic, coffee, log and stool humour, maniacal creepy moments, red suited dwarf, a giant and retro 50s style has not been equaled since.
It’s slow paced and off beat. Nevertheless, to its credit it’s impact undoubtedly still resonates right through into the likes of Bates Motel and Hannibal. It’s difficult to judge performances given its nature and script style, but it’s a show that contained some of the prettiest and most wonderfully odd looking characters to grace the tubes of television. Coffee drinking FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper was Kyle MacLachlan’s defining role, dual role Sheryl Lee played homecoming queen Laura Palmer and Madeleine Ferguson who featured briefly throughout. The excellent supporting casting included the likes of Ray Wise, Sherilyn Fenn,Lara Flynn Boyle and Mädchen Amick to name just a few.
Some critic’s and fans have since grumbled it ended on an unforgiving cliffhanger. Personally I never thought that, and liked the bleak ending, you know who killed Laura Palmer and that Agent Cooper is trapped in the Red Room having been replaced by Bob. Yes it does leave loose ends, what happens to this character? What happened to that character? And so on, but none pressing to the main story thread. If you like, Fire Walk with Me gives Cooper’s character hope of escape in the clues that lay in Laura’s foresight laced diary.
Twin Peaks is not as polished as the likes of Mullholland Drive (what originally was intended as another spin off film) and neither should it be coming 11 years later. If there is a crime it’s that it didn’t conclude sooner, rather meandering through a drawn out second season which alienated new viewers and those who wanted focus on the killer plot, not the subplots of minor characters.
The thing is with Lynch’s work, and Twin Peaks with its rural population is no exception – you either buy into it or you don’t.
Recommended slice of TV history for its intended type of viewer only.