As you all know, I am prone to a bit of hyperbole, but I’m pretty sure that Twin peaks is the greatest show ever aired. Lauren and I started watching it about a year ago. Some of you may have watched the show when it actually aired (1990-91), but I doubt it. The show was created by David Lynch (whose best films are Blue Velvet, The Straight Story, and Mulholland Drive) and Mark Frost (who I know nothing about). David Lynch wrote and directed many episodes, but grew tired of the show toward the end of its 30 episode run, as ABC’s interference grew more severe.
As a side note, I recently found out that David Lynch, who lives most of the year in Los Angeles, spends his summers in Madison. Apparently his partner is from here and he is taken with the wholesome midwestern spirit of the place (speaking of The Straight Story’s main character, he says: “Getting a feeling for Madison and the people there helped me to understand Alvin, and it showed me that the America of his story really does exist”). Lynch apparently drinks at this divey-looking bar right off the interstate called Le Tigre Lounge. Next summer I plan to spend many a night there in hopes of drinking with the man himself.
Twin Peaks is as hilarious as Seinfeld in its best episodes and as scary as Blue Velvet. It centers on the sexual abuse and murder of a high school prom queen, Laura Palmer (her corpse washes ashore in the pilot episode). FBI agents are brought in to investigate because another victim was found across the border in Canada. When watching the show, I sometimes find it hard to believe that it was actually aired on network television, in prime time, 15 years ago. Mainly because it’s so good, but also because it’s so freaky and contains at least references to horrendous violence.
If you’re a fan of Lynch, you may have rented Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, a feature film prequel to the television show that Lynch wrote and directed after the show’s run. This was probably a mistake. The film lacks the humor and quirkiness of the series, and is much darker. It is only for the initiated, who have seen all the episodes already, and want more of a backstory.
Here’s what sucks, though: Most of the episodes are still only available on videotape. The first season is available on DVD (though it is out of print), but it lacks the pilot episode because it was produced by another company or something. The pilot episode (2 hours long) is available as a standalone DVD, though it is out of print and rare. The second season (episodes 8 through 29) has not been released on DVD, though a release is planned for April of next year. The good news, though, is that if you have a decent public library, they will likely have all of the above on videotape or DVD.