Twin Peaks Season 1 (1990)
Director: David Lynch/Mark Frost
Kyle MacLachlan/Agent Dale Cooper
Michael Ontkean/Sherrif Truman
When the body of Laura Palmer (Lee) is found wrapped in plastic in the quiet town of Twin Peaks, special agent Dale Cooper (MacLachlan) is brought in to find the murderer and solve the mystery. It sounds simple but trust me...it isn’t. Enter the spellbinding world of “Twin Peaks”.
"She's filled with secrets." - The Man From Another Place
“Who Killed Laura Palmer” was a question that haunted me daily and nightly. Yes, I followed “Twin Peaks” like a mad dog when it first aired on television. I never missed one single episode, bought the Laura Palmer diary (written by Jennifer Lynch, daughter of David) and was totally consumed (maybe obsessed) with everything about the show. To this day, I can safely say that I believe “Twin Peaks” to be the finest television show to ever grace the small screen ("X-Files" comes in second). Every year or so, I like to pour myself a cup of Joe (blacker than black on a moonless night, of course) and re-visit my favorite small town. This year I flew in first class because I got my hands on Artisan's DVD set release of the first season. Seeing the first 7 episodes bathed in so much quality made my Christmas. Forget Santa and viva la “Log Lady”!
I’m thrilled to say that the “Twin Peaks” magic still worked wonders on me like a finger snapping midget in a red room. I watched all 7 episodes back to back and was fully engulfed by the world of the show. I didn’t want it to end!!! What makes this series so special, you may ask? Well...it’s everything. First off, the setting is novel. Think of a small town that’s set in the present but that feels timeless with its 50s-like ambiance. Who wouldn’t want to live there? The surrounding is absolutely gorgeous with its awe-inspiring waterfalls and its skyscraping mountaintops. Now take that serene setting and inject a mysterious but omnipresent dose of pure evil underneath it and you get an idea of the vibe that “Twin Peaks” gives off. David Lynch pulled off a similar hat trick with “Blue Velvet” where he slowly uncovered the layers of evil under the happy-go-lucky surface of “Middle America”. Here, with the help of Mark Frost...he does it again.
The storyline that fills the scenes is equally gripping. You’ve never seen a whodunit treated this way. The show takes you to places that you’d never think you’d visit. And I mean NEVER! Twin Peaks’ unpredictable nature weaved a web around my brain and made everything so much more engaging. The murder mystery is the main storyline but around it, we also have a multitude of other tales being told simultaneously. You’ll never get bored here. The very likeable and quirky characters also helped keep me anchored to the show. Agent Dale Cooper (McClachlan), for example, is a favorite of mine. You just can’t go wrong with this guy. He’s super positive, his intuition is uncanny, his investigating methods are unique and his “Buddhist” philosophies make him such an original character. The show also sports top-notch writing and manages to balance all kinds of different moods effortlessly at the same time without ever dropping a ball. Take Laura’s funeral scene for example. It's incredibly sad but when Leland (Wise) loses his marbles, it winds up being genuinely funny. I was feeling both emotions at the exact same time…now that’s a feat!
“Twin Peaks” also has the courage to venture where no other TV show ever dared tread ground before. On a surface level, it may have the same ingredients as your average “soap opera” including murder, adultery, betrayal, a surprise twin, a one-armed man (a nod to "The Fugitive") and cliffhangers galore, but “Twin Peaks” takes those conventions and spins them on their head. The show is spiritual, humanistic, supernatural, sexy, scary (think Bob…brrr), deals with dark issues and also likes to use the simplest things to charm us or to communicate emotion. I have never seen a show use “eating” or “dancing” the way “Twin Peaks” does. They are mundane events...yes, but in this world, they mean so much more. Dance Leland...dance you crazy bastard!
This first season has a lot of classic “Twin Peaks” moments in it. We get our first visit to the “Red Room” with that backward talking, dancing midget. We get to check out a cozy brothel called “One Eyed Jacks”. We get Nadine’s (Robie) obsession with silent “drape runners”. We get those loud Islander party animals keeping Coop awake. And we also get to see Audrey (Fenn) put a cherry stem in her mouth and turn it into a knot with her tongue. I can write about Twin Peaks for pages and pages but I’ll end with this: You just gotta love “Twin Peaks”!
The shows are not gory. The violence is suggested and a lot is left to our imagination. The subtle approach worked on me and made it all scarier.
Casting director Johanna Ray deserves a hot cup of Joe and a slice of pie for her astounding casting of the show. Kyle MacLachlan (Agent Dale Cooper) is a delight as the enthusiastic, coffee loving, spiritual FBI agent. Michael Ontkean (Sherrif Truman) is dead-on as the no-bull Sheriff. Madchen Amick (Shelly) is radiantly beautiful and solid as the beaten wife. Sheryl Lee (Laura/Maddie) is all charm as the dead chick filled with secrets and comes through as her look-alike cousin. Dana Ashbrook (Bobby) gives a very groovy performance as the kool cat, rebellious dude. Richard Beymer (Benjamin Horne) offers an engaging showing as the “slimy” but likeable rich dude.
Lara Flynn Boyle (Donna) comes through as the emotional “good girl”. Sherilyn Fenn (Audrey) is captivating as the love struck Audrey. She gives out a perfect blend of sexy and naïve. Peggy Lipton (Norma) plays it simple and delivers. She’s still gorgeous too. James Marshall (James) does the brooding “Jimmy Dean” thang perfectly. Everett McGill (Big Ed) is damn tall and his “man of few words” shtick worked! Jack Nance (Pete) excels in these kinds of roles. His kooky yet charming performance pleased me. Kimmy Robertson (Lucy) is a cutie…love her voice. Ray Wise (Leland) sure knows how to cry and dance. I love this guy! Joen Chen (Josie) is the least interesting actress and character here, but she’s very pretty and does what she has to do. Piper Laurie (Catherine) turned me on! Is that normal?
Eric DaRe (Leo) is a scary SOB as the wife-beating jerk. Harry Goanz (Dep. Andy) gives a sweet performance as the overly sensitive Deputy. Michael Horse’s (Dep. Hawk) character made me feel safe. When Hawk’s around, everything is ok. Russ Tamblyn (Dr. Jacoby) cracked me up as the hippie, Hawaiian shirt-loving doctor. David Patrick Kelly (Jerry) is so funny as the happy-go-lucky dude. Wendie Robie (Nadine) is all over the place as the eye patch-wearing loon. Nobody can insult someone like Miguel Ferrer (Albert) can. He’s the perfect a-hole. Catherine E. Coulson brings an added layer of mystery to the show as the Log Lady.
T & A
We do get a bunch of gals in their undergarments courtesy of the “One Eyed Jacks” sequences. And with Sheryl Lee, Sherilyn Fenn, Lara Flynn Boyle, Joen Chen and Madchen Amick leading the female cast...you just can’t go wrong. The ladies will appreciate pouting James Marshall and hunky Kyle MacLachlan .
Lynch and Frost didn’t direct all of the episodes (see Bull's Eye for more info) but every respective director kept the same vibe going. Twin Peaks is all about attention to detail, somber atmosphere, tension and surprises. Everybody delivered.
The soothing and somewhat haunting score by Lynch regular, Angelo Badalamenti, is perfect coating for the show. We also get “Into The Night” by Julie Cruise at a certain point.
Distributor: Artisan Entertainment
Release Date: December 18, 2001
Apart from my disappointment of not finding the “pilot” episode on the DVD, I can’t praise this baby enough. Check it out!
IMAGE: The episodes have been newly re-mastered in high definition. The image is in “full screen”. It’s crisp, clear, the color tones are right on and grain is totally absent. Perfect!
SOUND: We get a 2.0 Dolby Stereo Surround, a 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound and a DTS Digital Surround Sound option. I watched the episodes in 2.0 Dolby Stereo Surround and it came through gangbusters. The dialogue is clear and at the right level. The music flowed out of my speakers effortlessly and every background noise made its way to my ears. Again…PERFECT!
EXTRAS: Each episode comes with a Commentary and features a Log Lady Intro (This option has the “Log Lady” speak to the camera before each show in her own enigmatic way) and On Screen Script Notes (With this option on, an icon will appear at the bottom of the screen during the episodes. Press enter and you will get to read the script changes that were made in regards to that specific scene in the episode. Very slick.) The commentaries are from director Duwayne Dunham (episodes 1 & 7), series D.O.P Frank Byers (episode 2), director Tina Rathborne (episode 3), director Tim Hunter and series writer Robert Engels (episode 4), director Leslie Linka Glatter (episode 5) and director Caleb Deschanel and series writer Harley Peyton (episode 6).
The last disk also includes more gnarly extras under the title “TIBET”:
Mark Frost Interview with “Wrapped In Plastic”: Series co-creator Mark Frost gives us some background info on the series, the casting, the screenplay process etc. Very interesting.
Learning to speak in the “Red Room”: A harmless extra that has Michael J. Anderson (“The man from another place”) teach us how to speak backwards like they do in the “Red Room”. Cute.
Introducing David Lynch: This little documentary has Sheryl Lee (Laura), Kyle McClachlan (Cooper), Peggy Lipton (Norma) and others come in to talk about Lynch, his talent and his methods. The Richard Beymer (Horne) segment is hilarious!
Shooting at the Mar .T. (aka RnR) Diner: We get an interview with the broad that owned the Mar T Diner (the RnR Diner on the show) at the time. We learn the impact the show had on life and her business. The gal wound up selling lots of pies.
Twin Peaks Directory with Postcards from the cast: This odd little thang has us select cast members through a phone motif. If your skills are up to par, you can access “video” postcards (I got Sheryl Lee talking about her trip to Africa). You can also access filmographies and all sorts of info on the cast and crew. I thought the concept of this extra was good but it tested my short-tempered nature.
This DVD will make any fan of the series a very happy “Peaker”. The set comes with a kool booklet (where we can read a Sheryl Lee interview and a summary of the events that took place in the pilot) and the DVD sports an eerie animated menu that echoes the creepy ambiance of the show. ARTISAN has really outdone themselves!
This first season is perfect for the un-initiated. The show is not at its weirdest yet (trust me, it gets even more twisted) and as for me…wait let me take out my recorder…
“Diane; it is now 5 o'clock. I have just checked out of the “Great Northern Hotel” and am on my way home. I will miss Twin Peaks. It’s filled with endearing folks, striking scenery, originality, dark secrets, good scares and lots of laughs…I can’t wait to go back.”
God it felt good to visit “Twin Peaks” again. Bring on season two, Artisan! I’m game! Wait a minute…is that Bob hiding behind my bed….HELP!
Here are the credits for the 7 episodes:
Episode 1: Written by Mark Frost & David Lynch/Directed by Duwayne Dunham
Episode 2: Written by David Lynch and Mark Frost/Directed By David Lynch
Episode 3: Written by Harley Peyton/Directed by Tina Rathborne
Episode 4: Written by Robert Engels/ Directed by Tim Hunter
Episode 5: Written by Mark Frost/Directed by Lesli Linka Glatter
Episode 6: Written by Harley Peyton/Directed by Caleb Deschanel
Episode 7: Written and Directed by Mark Frost
Twin Peaks has 29 episodes in total. 30 counting the pilot.
David Lynch’s "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me" movie is a prequel to the TV show.