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Angelo Badalamenti's sweet theme begins as smokestacks billow, and a robin assures the viewer of the presence of love in a little town located through the pines, just this side of sanity...or reality. Either way you choose to look at it (and the choice is yours), every episode of this groundbreaking television show grabbed the viewer in its seductive and destructive web... and wouldn't let go. "Twin Peaks" began a string of weird television shows in the early 90's, but, unlike those later shows, "Twin Peaks" would be beloved and remembered long after it was off the air. "Twin Peaks" has earned a spot next to "The Twilight Zone", "Night Gallery", and "Star Trek" in terms of pioneering television and in terms of a cult following deserving of conventions and fanzines. I believe that F.B.I. Special Agent Dale Cooper is one of the most enjoyable and inspiring characters in television history. His simple passions and quirky behavior was a welcomed sight in our living rooms every week during the shows very short run in the late 80's and early 90's. "Twin Peaks" started out on fire, gaining exposure during the pilot's multiple airings. The mystery of Laura Palmer's murderer practically invented conversations at the water cooler. However, the shows second season was scheduled to air on Saturday nights at 10:00, an advertiser's no-man's land. And, with the shows fan base out on the late weekend nights, the shows network decided to cancel it. David Lynch, the shows co-creator, directed a theatrically released film prequel to "Twin Peaks", showing all who missed the shows airings what really happened to Laura the week of her death, and, finally, her killer. As a huge fan of "Twin Peaks", I will tell you that the circle of events that occur within the story enable the viewer to relive the events over and over, each time around with more intensity than before. When you view the movie prequel, diving right back into the series becomes the natural path, allowing one to see things again for what they really are... or aren't. I highly recommend owning the entire series. Without a network messing up your viewing time, you can see the mystery unfold at your own pace. Viewing "Twin Peaks-Fire Walk With Me", along with the television pilot and the entire 29 episode series (about 33 hours all together), is the most fascinating and satisfying viewing experience that the entertainment industry has offered me so far. The music, costumes, editing, acting, and direction all received Emmy nominations, leading one to conclude that "Twin Peaks" not only satisfied the public, but the critics as well. An incredible achievement, "Twin Peaks" is my all-time favorite television show.
Possibly one of the best TV dramas ever, "Twin Peaks" managed to be a
challenging and unique (not to mention intelligent) piece of
Daring and provocative, it shattered the boundaries of most standard soap operas/TV dramas.
Terrified of it by a child (and in particular by BOB) I have since returned to it on DVD, only to find myself just as terrified and intrigued by it as I was when I was twelve years old and crouching behind my late grandmother's couch.
A piece of groundbreaking television history... WATCH IT
Stunning and explosive, completely misunderstood by many when it ran from 1990-1991 and definitely trail-blazing for the art of television production, "Twin Peaks" is one of those could-have-been, should-have-been television series that ended up being remarkable anyway. A teenage girl (Sheryl Lee) is murdered. A strange police detective (Kyle MacLachlan) is brought in to solve the mystery as the local police just cannot cope with the crime. Strange situations continue to pop up all over the landscape of the titled Pacific Northwestern town though and it becomes sadly apparent that the crime will likely never be solved. Side-stories galore confuse and intrigue and the viewer is left wondering, "Does this have anything to do with the initial crime?". Then just when you think the puzzle is about solved, total chaos strikes with whacked dream sequences that make you question your own sanity. What is really happening in the town and do we really want to know or are we happier letting the mystery suck us in? "Twin Peaks" was created by David Lynch (arguably the finest American film-maker, along with Martin Scorsese, living today) and over two very abbreviated seasons (only 29 total episodes) television reached an age that may never be experienced again. At the time many (perhaps myself included) did not know what to make of the show and even more panned it completely. The fact that the series did not really end the way it should have is sad, but in another way it just adds to the legends and myths involved here. There were eight writers on this series and a mind-blowing 15 different directors (Lynch did some of the work and even Diane Keaton got an opportunity to add to the program). Performers like Ray Wise, Piper Laurie, Joan Chen, Lara Flynn Boyle, Sherilyn Fenn, Russ Tamblyn and Madchen Amick appear, disappear and re-appear so frequently that you become confused as to what their roles in the show truly are. Monumental, gigantic, legendary, interesting, dominant and definitely thought-provoking, "Twin Peaks" is one of those television shows that amazes and dazzles with its highly unique brand of commentary. Followed by a theatrical movie ("Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me") in 1992 that was made to answer the questions presented throughout the program, it was also sadly misunderstood by most in the viewing public (even being rubbished by some who loved the series). A real gem in the history of television art. 5 stars out of 5.
One of the truly great, original TV dramas, Twin Peaks was far from
however, quite a few of its run of 29 episodes undoubtedly were. Speaking
just after watching the finale, I'm torn between satisfaction at a superb
final episode, and tenterhooks over what is a stark cliffhanger
The initial Laura Palmer murder case is unravelled expertly, by episode
with many great surreal and shocking moments, notably the scenes involving
Bob. The show's brand of off-the-wall deadpan humour was perhaps at its
in the initial episodes, for example, Cooper's rock-throwing in the woods
and Leland's bizarre, impromptu dance with Ben and Jerry Horne. The main
characters were all well introduced; Kyle MacLachlan is on career-best
acting form here as Agent Dale Cooper. Jack Nance is lovably gruff and
likeable as Pete Martel, while Ben and Jerry Horne are wonderfully brought
to life by fine writing, and acting from Richard Beymer and David Patrick
Kelly. The strange spirit-like characters are introduced aptly; the Giant,
the backwards-dancing Dwarf, One-armed Man, the bizarre Tremonds and
Bob. Ray Wise deserves much credit for a sensitive portrayal of
Once the initial mystery is more than adequately resolved, the focus was
lost for a while. For around 7 episodes, the series comparatively treaded
water: the comedy became more laboured and conventional, some tedious
storylines dragged on and on - eg. Evelyn Marsh, Andy/Dick; the guiding
of David Lynch was missing. These episodes are still very watchable; as
other aspects of the mystery are mused over, but things move slowly. There
is welcome characterisation of Major Briggs, but the acting and writing is
at times more ordinary. While still a comfortably above-par TV show, the
sublime atmosphere had been squandered to an extent.
The arrival in the town of Windom Earle and, later, Annie Blackburn saw
stakes rise once more. Windom Earle is a truly sadistic, convincingly evil
character, with a dry wit, wild expression and an effective penchant for
disguise. His contribution to the series is immense, as a new focus is
provided; climaxing with the stunning end to the penultimate episode at
Miss Twin Peaks Contest. Annie Blackburn also helps to enliven the
programme, proving a subtle and effective character.
Gordon Cole, played by David Lynch himself is a wonderful creation, up
Pete Martel, Albert Rosenfeld and Jerry Horne in the comic mould. I love
that whole episode (c.25) where he enjoys life in the cafe, contemplating
writing an "epic poem" about the wonderful apple pie and kissing Shelly in
front of her boyfriend Bobby; "what you are witnessing is an intimate
between two consenting adult human beings!" or somesuch quote.
Ben Horne is well developed; the Civil War stuff fails to amuse quite as it should, yet once he is rehabilitated, the change in his character is refreshing and nicely handled. Twin Peaks is a beautiful series aesthetically, from the wonderful titles sequence, Angelo Badalamenti's stunningly evocative music scores to some wonderfully innovative photography and direction - usually in those episodes helmed by Lynch. Got to say the female quota of Twin Peaks is ample, with the beauty of Madchen Amick, Sheryl Lee, Lara Flynn Boyle and especially Sherilyn Fenn, adding poignancy. General negative comments seem irrelevant considering the overall quality of the series, but it's true tricks were missed. With the characters they had, some more imaginative situations and wit wouldn't have gone amiss. The comic possibilities of having Jerry Horne and, say, Gordon Cole interacting were unfulfilled. Some of the characters were bland - the spotless Norma Jennings, James Hurley, Audrey's boyfriend in the later episodes - and some failed to really work - Nadine I feel added little to the series.
The very final episode is, I would say, as good a series ending as they could have come up with; tantalisingly placed, as the battle between the good and evil forces in Twin Peaks is hotting up. I declare that there are some brilliant images and directorial touches in that final one. There were however loose ends untied; what happened to Leo, Audrey and especially Ben Horne and Doc Hayward? A moot point is the absurdity of its ill-availabilty on video; I wouldn't have caught it if it weren't for the Sci-Fi Channel UK. Got to say though, that while harbouring some fantastical elements, Twin Peaks is assuredly far from the realm of Sci-Fi. It is, to be pointless categorical, like a surreal soap opera with a strong flavour of its own. There are so many great scenes, moments, lines and nuances, coupled with a magnificently dreamy, tenderly moving atmosphere when at its best, that I must say Twin Peaks ranks pretty much up there with the finest TV dramas of all - Edge of Darkness & The Singing Detective. Majestic it is. Rating:- ***** (out of *****)
This is one of the shows that I started watching because many people,
whose opinions I valued, stated, repeatedly, that I "absolutely must
see this." Let me say that I was pretty much hooked from the first
scene when they discover the body. The one deputy crying at the body
was both touching and kind of funny. It perfectly introduced the entire
series which is serious and ridiculous all at once. There is so much to
talk about this incredible series which burned too bright to burn for
For starters, Agent Cooper is the single greatest character ever captured on film (go ahead, try and think of a better one). He's brilliant, genuinely caring, incredibly funny, exuberant to the nth degree, unbelievably likable, but also with a sordid past which haunts him. Nobody, but nobody, could have delivered the pie and coffee compliments with so much gusto.
However, he is just the brightest star in the sky. There are so many crazy, yet somehow believable characters that grace Lynch's universe. The swift descent of Ben Horn into madness is sad, pathetic, surreal and hilarious. No other series would have dared contain a man believing that he was General Lee commanding the south at Gettysburg (it also provides the funniest line from the show, when Audrey Horn is talking to his psychiatrist and he remarks that "What he (Ben Horn) needs now is our sympathy, understanding and a confederate victory."). All of the characters create a amazing tapestry where one is genuinely anticipating which character is going to lose it somehow (but one never anticipates correctly). In this reviewers opinion, the plot takes a backseat to the characters which are too strange, or too ordinary but never dull, to exist in any other show anywhere (minus James, who gets irritating right when he starts singing and never stops). Fantastic actors all around with more career launching cameos than any show or movie ever.
Sadly, the second season is not as good as the first, plot-wise, but still is as quirky and entertaining with an unbelievable ending to the series. Many have criticized the show for being excessively intellectual, but I never found the show pedantic or hopelessly cryptic. Rather, it seemed as though David Lynch just decided to employ every weird idea that popped into his febrile mind for the sheer joy of it.
To finish, one needs to watch this show. It's not uniformly brilliant and sometimes just plain weird, but always rewarding and truly one of the landmarks of American television. Go get a nice piece of cherry pie, a cup of coffee, take four days off work and start watching it.
I have to admit when I first watched the pilot episode of Twin Peaks a
couple of years ago, I wasn't sure what to think. I knew about David
having recently seen Blue Velvet, and I knew he was a director that was
the outlandish side. I borrowed the rest of the series from a friend,
after I watched the first 3 or 4 episodes, I was still scratching my
I thought the murder premise was well done but I kept asking myself "why
these characters so strange?"
However, as I got more into the series, I found myself obsessively hooked. The series, in it's own ominous way, was extremely funny and there were so many great one liners ("that's a damn good cup of coffee") and the characters kept you second guessing. Though some characters were obviously villains, others had intentions that were often indistinguishable.
As I relentlessly watched the show over a three week period, I found myself laughing out loud and being disturbed at the same time. Ben Horne's meltdown is one of the funniest things I have ever seen in any TV series, I chuckle just thinking about it. Only David Lynch could think of something that was so eccentric and funny at the same time.
So in the end, I must say I found this show endlessly amusing. Almost every person on the show has their own idiosyncrasy, appearances by future stars like Heather Graham and David Duchovny injected humor and depth into the show, and heck, there was a sheriff named Harry S Truman, what else do you need?
I am glad to see the first season is on DVD, I can't wait until the rest is released. I wish this show had been on much longer but it is such a bizarre show that I can understand why mainstream America did not understand it. I wouldn't recommend this show to anyone that likes TV shows which are light-hearted or straightforward. Be warned, the final episode is completely bizarre, and not necessarily funny.
As a whole, the show has a very alien feel to it and may chase many people away, but if you understand David Lynch's warped sense of humor and can see the sheer lunacy of the show, you will find it endlessly entertaining.
Nowadays it is commonly accepted that American television is becoming
better than movies, with edgier stories and more complex characters,
both in mainstream (CSI, 24, Lost) and cable shows (The Sopranos, Six
Feet Under, Deadwood). Twenty years ago, on the other hand, such a
thing was unthinkable, at least until Twin Peaks aired.
Created by David Lynch and Mark Frost, the series takes its name from a small American town where a grisly murder has been committed. The victim is local beauty Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), a girl who seemed to have a perfectly normal life, only it turns out that's not the case: she had a lot of secrets, and in one of them lies the key to finding her killer. That assignment is given to Special FBI Agent Dale Cooper (Lynch regular Kyle MacLachlan), who quickly earns the trust and friendship of Sheriff Truman (Michael Ontkean) and the rest of Twin Peaks'inhabitants thanks to his extraordinary deductive methods and fascination for the calm and peace around him. And he is going to need all the help he can get, as Laura's murder is just one of the many odd things causing trouble in the heavenly surroundings: there's Benjamin Horne (Richard Beymer) and his dangerous connection with a casino/brothel known as One-Eyed Jack's; there's his daughter Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn), whose interest in Agent Cooper might put her in a worse situation than she thinks; there's the dispute over the Packard sawmill between Catherine Martell (Piper Laurie) and Josie Packard (Joan Chen); and there are the bizarre creatures who populate Cooper's dreams, people like The Man From Another Place (a backwards-talking dwarf, played by Michael J. Anderson) or the terrifying Bob (Frank Silva), suggesting that most of the events in Twin Peaks may not have a rational explanation.
Back in 1990, a series like this had never been done before, so its success was a little unexpected (sadly, ratings dropped during the second season, leading to the show's premature cancellation). Now it can be seen as an anticipation of that great TV creation that is HBO: the dead interacting with the living (Six Feet Under), ambiguous characters and even more ambiguous relationships between them (Deadwood), a consistent balance between moving and funny, beautiful and shocking (The Sopranos), the seeds of all those elements can be found in Twin Peaks, a show that didn't hesitate when it came to playing with the format or crossing the line in terms of mature content (death, drug abuse, rape) or on-screen violence (the ending of Episode 8, where one of the villains is shown at the peak of his abilities, is still one of the most audacious scenes ever shown on mainstream television). More than any other series, it represents the seamless merger of big and small screen, a fact that is underlined by Lynch's decision to further explore the story in a feature film after the last episode had aired. Fans of the visionary filmmaker will find plenty of his recurring themes, some a direct reference to his previous works (the ugliness lying underneath the apparent perfection, as seen in Blue Velvet), others a hint of things to come (the duality of Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive, here embodied by Lee, who plays both the deceased Laura and her cousin).
As always with the Eraserhead director, the acting is exceptional: MacLachlan and Lee are the standouts, the former playing his best role to date, a cunning combination of palpable vulnerability and impeccable wit, the latter shining with a double performance that should have been the beginning of a great career (alas, apart from a minor role in John Carpenter's Vampires, she hasn't done much since). The supporting cast (Ontkean, Laurie, Lara Flynn Boyle and Ray Wise in particular) adds depth and emotion, making some episodes the most affecting ever seen on a TV screen. As for the guest stars, not all of them are well known, but every single one brings something special to the series: the most notable cameos include a then unknown Heather Graham, a pre-X-Files David Duchovny (a quite funny and ironic contrast to Fox Mulder) and Lynch himself as a half-deaf FBI Regional Chief (one of the show's best characters).
Those interested in American TV simply have to give Twin Peaks a look: it might be too weird or unsettling for some (but then again, that's always the case with Lynch's work), but it remains a landmark in contemporary television, and played a vital role in making the US small screen what it is today.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is definitely one of the best things David Lynch has ever done. What
attracted me to this series was it's quirkyness and surreal nature. If
there was ever a TV series that identified the 90's, this is one of
Personally, I think they should've stopped the series right after they solved Laura Palmer's murder, but oh well. I hope they someday make another movie to tie up some of the loose ends such as the way the series ended on a cliffhanger.
Anyways, onto my lunch of a baguette with butter and brie and some cherry pie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Twin Peaks... a very famous series - that really deserves all the
praise it gets!
The story begins as special FBI agent Dale Cooper (perfectly impersonated by Kyle MacLachlan) comes to the little town of Twin Peaks to investigate the murder of the local beauty queen, Laura Palmer.
As the series proceed, Laura's killer is eventually found and the main plot line turns and twists to eventually end in a place where you would never expect it to be...
Twin Peaks begins as a crime story with quite a lot of comical moments, the picturesque characters of this little town where everybody knows each other are very nicely sketched out and developed in a very interesting way, most of them having quite a lot of secrets, thus providing secondary story lines that come and go, more or less intertwined with the main one.
As the story proceeds, the comical tone slowly fades away, slight touches of sci-fi and paranormal events come in and as you grow more and more fond of all those lovely people of Twin Peaks, a much darker and intriguing plot comes to the surface, dipping the whole series into an ever more and more mysterious and sometimes even scary atmosphere...
And there suddenly comes the final episode. Of course, everyone expects the final episode to be something special, but no one could expect THIS! I will not get into the details of the story so as not to include any spoilers, but the final episode is a must see! It is a must see! Never ever in my life have I witnessed such an ending!!! surprising, unhappy, happy, good, bad... the ending of Twin Peaks is far beyond that. The only word I can find to describe it is ABSOLUTELY AND UTTERLY NEGATIVE, not leaving the faintest little spark of hope... I was still schocked by the end even a couple of hours after having seen it and still feel somewhat uneasy just recalling it... I admire the person (D. Lynch and M. Frost) who got the idea and - most importantly - had the guts to write a finale like that...
See if you have the guts...
See how far you can go...
See if you can cope with Twin Peaks...
A must see!
Twin Peaks, much like David Lynch's own Mulholland Drive and Blue
Velvet, among other great works of his, examines the main notion, idea
and scope behind what it is meant to conventionally be. Twin Peaks is a
murder-mystery show, yes, but this is not even scratching the surface
as an identifying measure to say what the show is. Another explanation,
as if it were possible, is that it is ABOUT mystery, and in the case of
murder of life. That might seem a little too preachy or didactic, but
as one goes deeper into the series, and deeper into the Black Lodge,
and deeper into every single backwards-ass character on the show, a
pattern emerges. Abstractions are Lynch's life blood, and even in the
weirdest moments of the show he and Mark Frost, along with their
writers and directors, make Twin Peaks a collection of abstractions,
but at the same time making them as much as possibly within reach of
human emotion. It's one of the rare times that the kind of artful
penetration into what is essentially good, essentially evil, and even
essentially gray-in-area in human beings that usually presides in
cinema is let out, practically in each episode, like some kind of
feverish worm that crawls in your mind and won't stop...Maybe it's the
But aside from the many, many, many layers to the show, to the dynamics between FBI Agent Cooper (Kyle MacLaughlin in his most recognizable role) and those he relates to everyday as well as in his dreams and Tibetan-inspired visions (the classic being the quintessential dream with the garbled-talking little-person), the teenagers with their own plots of neuroses and dramas and higher ambitions and darker demons, as well as those you'd least expect- the quiet ones- not to mention the ones residing on top in the little crevices we dare not usually seek out in small towns (i.e. the prostitution ring fronted by Mr. Horne), it's just a damn-well entertaining program. It's a superlative crossbreeding of the kind of inimitable melodrama that has the immediate feel of a soap-opera, but far more intelligent in the scope of acting and writing, and the classic absurdities that come up in the best of Lynch's work. Meaning that it will work, more or less, for two different audiences.
Fans of Lynch's will drink it up like damn-good coffee the endless quirks that become commonplace, where characters in any other show would get little no-note roles like the secretary Lucy, or the psychologist Jacobi, or even a classic nut-bar like the Log-Lady, who has the claim that the log is really her dead husband. This, plus enough dream sequences, elaborate lighting and set-design schemes, and the outrageous characterizations make it vintage Lynch/Frost work. For the other crowd, those who don't usually watch Lynch's movies and are more of just the regular TV potatoes, the series has an appeal for its more genuine side, the one that stays true to the ideas and dramatic tensions behind the characters. Even when it gets too weird, and especially in season 2 the feeling starts to get stronger and more nagging, one can't really totally pull away from it, like as if some old man with an old storybook was reading out something almost certifiable, but intriguing all the same. Laura Palmer's death brings out what her life was all about, and really what anyone connected to her is all about; there's an appeal to find out what's behind the lives of others, especially when it balances out between light and dark tendencies.
On top of this, the acting is par for the course top-notch. MacLaughlin, it seems could play this guy in his sleep after a while, and it doesn't take too long in the first season to get past his own odd-sense of awareness (and his regular reliance on dreams and visions) to get closer to solving the dreaded case of Laura Palmer. It's hard for me to think of any one performance that would be a bad one to knock-off, as even the more ludicrous ones- based on their characters- are played as believable as possible. Memorable guest appearances, however, are attributed to the likes of Michael Parks (known from the Tarantino/Rodriguez movies), David Duchovny (an excellent, far cry from Mulder) Frank Silva (as the one who, well, I won't say too much about him), and Lynch himself as the FBI regional chief who's a little hard of hearing. So much can be seen as the blackest of comedy, by turns very sudden and otherworldly and just plain strange (a signing and dancing Mr. Palmer and rows and rows of donuts just bits of what's in store), and it is often very funny. But there's also much in the way of what makes for the best TV: you want to keep watching each week, or now as is the case back to back on DVD, to see how this will turn out, however f***ed up it might get. Simply, it has something, if only in parts, for everybody/
So get yourself some pie and coffee, make sure to speak backwards and forwards again, and don't underestimate the power of a giant with some clues on hand. Twin Peaks is a world of secrets unveiled, and secrets that maybe shouldn't be unveiled yet sought after, and there's enough to keep fans talking for years to come as one of the great 'cult' show in modern TV.
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