A few thoughts on Twin Peaks

Well, I have been checking out this show recently after having purchased the definitive gold box set, containing the complete seasons 1 & 2.  To the under-initiated, this is the story of high school sweetheart Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) who is found dead, washed up on the riverside, wrapped in plastic.  It’s an event that shocks the small community of Twin Peaks, a seemingly normal town that hides many dark secrets and a wealth of characters with plenty to hide.  Step in F.B.I. agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) whose goal is to uncover the seedy goings on and find the killer.

As this show is twenty years old, I was very much expecting it to look dated, and was pleasantly surprised to find it holds up quite well.  The characters are imaginative and unique and some of the casting is spot on, with a brilliantly dead-pan Kyle Maclachlan as well as worthy turns from the likes of Ray Wise, Lara Flynn Boyle and Madchen Amick, not to mention a seriously sexy Sherilyn Fenn.

Created by oddball surrealist David Lynch collaborating with Mark Frost, this at times bizarre show was a huge hit in the 1990’s, sparking an international cult following that exists to this day.  Re-watching it now, I feel that in between the ‘Lynch’ moments of surreal oddness, the show can feel somewhat melodrama and overly emotional, and the acting can feel very forced and camp – but perhaps that was intentional.  Angelo Badalamenti’s timeless score though still has a wondrously moving power to it that has lost none of its appeal over the years, and the moments of dream-sequences, freaky behaviour and the disturbing character of Bob remain very chilling – possibly more than any show before or since.  I feel somewhat surprised that this took off at all though, as Lynch is an acquired taste at times and some of his imagery can be very upsetting  – but then again, with the quality of the script and the effectiveness of the inital premise – perhaps it’s not quite so hard to understand why the show struck a cord.  Sadly though I also feel that the dwindling viewing figures for season two, leading to the shows cancellation had more to do with the limited appeal of David Lynch’s surreal style than any real failing with the show as a whole.

But if like me you ‘get’ Lynch, then this is a treat, as it has enough broad appeal to suck you in, and is bonkers enough to satisfy if you’ve seen the likes of Mulholland Drive and Lost Highway.  Just a shame the show didn’t continue for a few more seasons.

For more information on David Lynch and some recommendations of his work, check out my write up I did on him a while back, which amongst other things, has links to other sites that cover his career as a whole…

David Lynch: a retrospective


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