But now, 21 years after the fact, I’m checking it out. Gotta love Netflix streaming. I’ll write about this more when I’ve viewed the entire show, but for now, I’ll share some initial impressions after the first six or seven episodes:
1. The first two are brilliant, and in them I can see how and why Twin Peaks had such an influence on TV for the next couple of decades. Shows as diverse The X-Files, The Sopranos, Justified and the Canadian series Durham County all owe a blood debt to Twin Peaks. So does every Quentin Tarantino movie ever made.
2. The influence is not all positive. In particular, I hate dream sequences. I hated them in The Sopranos and I hate them in Twin Peaks. They are the mark of lazy writing and to see them popping up in later episodes is not encouraging.
3. Love that soundtrack, even though it strains credibility that all those sensual, slightly sinister jazz tunes are supposed to be playing on the jukebox and radio stations in a Northwest logging town. Trust me, they wouldn’t be. Especially in 1989.
4. Hints at supernatural phenomena — via dream sequences or otherwise — are OK, but only if used sparingly. Once you realize that Dale Cooper gets as many clues from sleeping as investigating, it tends to undermine the part of the show that is a crime drama. For me, that’s a very big part.
5. The Log Lady. Come on. Absurdist and surreal humor works best when it retains some slight basis in reality. The beloved log is so clearly an affectation by the writing team that it doesn’t work. At least, it doesn’t work now, 21 years after the fact.
Despite the nitpicks, we’re enjoying the show. It holds up surprisingly well a couple of decades later. I’m thinking now that I might even get that wretched 1992 Twin Peaks movie, Fire Walk With Me, once I’m done. Thoughts?
John H. says
I watched Twin Peaks when it came out. I don’t like David Lynch’s movies, but I enjoyed Twin Peaks. I think the restrictions of TV kept out most of the stuff I dislike about his work.
I too found the overly-quirky characters (e.g. Log Lady) to be tiresome, but I don’t remember them taking up that much screen time. Also, the teen angst/romance sub-plots were much less interesting than the mystery.
I tried to watch some episodes again when they came on TV (Bravo, or Sci Fi, maybe?) a few years ago. They were considerably less interesting the second time, so I think not knowing what would happen must have been a big part of my enjoyment.
For me, the most memorable aspect of the show is the characters. Agent Cooper, Sheriff Truman, et al. I particularly liked Miguel Ferrer’s pathologist. Some years after Twin Peaks, I came across a 1987 movie called “The Hidden” where Kyle MacLachlan played an alien in the guise of an FBI agent. I thought the character was similar to, and possibly the inspiration for, his character in Twin Peaks.
I didn’t care for the way David Lynch ended the series, but I’ll keep my comments to myself for now since you haven’t seen it.
Dave Knadler says
I’ve heard from others that the show kind of fizzles out in the last couple of episodes. But really, what show doesn’t? I’m still bummed out over that lame ending of The Sopranos …