Binge Watchin' TV Review: Twin Peaks
Welcome to Binge Watchin,’ where we take a look at some of the best TV shows available on streaming or disc that have a great catalogue of seasons to jump into and get sucked into the beautiful bliss of binge watching! From crime, action, comedy, drama, animation, etc., we’ll be evaluating an assortment of shows that will hopefully serve as a gateway to your next binge experience.
Series: Twin Peaks
Number of Seasons: Two Seasons, 30 Episodes
What’s the Show About?
In the small Washington state town of Twin Peaks, there has been a disturbance in this peaceful community. When a very popular teenage girl named Laura Palmer is found murdered, all the townsfolk are likely culprits. It is up to FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) and the local town Sheriff, the good and nobel Harry S. Truman (Michael Ontkean), to uncover the horrifyingly bizarre secret behind her grisly murder. In between the murder investigation, Agent Cooper discovers that there are a myriad of hidden secrets buried in the hearts of all the wacky residents, including a lady and her log, the shockingly crazed parents of the victim and a police officer terrified of blood.
Why Should I Watch?
If you are at all a fan of David Lynch, then there is absolutely no reason to not only watch, but you must own this incredible series. Wildly inventive, exceptionally weird, and oftentimes it is downright terrifying. To this day, the series features one of the most disturbing on-screen deaths I’ve ever witnessed - more on that later. It is a wonderful thing indeed when a simple story about a murder can become something so strange and compelling. Twin Peaks was a nighttime soap to be sure, yet it was filled with humor and an penchant for the odd. It is wonderfully original on every level, and it is also deeply dark. The horrors hidden in this town would certainly haunt viewers, so much so that it changed the way audiences saw television.
Let’s start with the characters. If I had more time I could name all my favorites but that would take up the entire article. I’ll keep it short and sweet. Speaking of sweet, you couldn’t find a more desirable group of actresses on television, even today on the CW. Sherilyn Fenn was a joy as the insatiably flirty Audrey Horne who gets in way too deep trying to help Cooper, with whom she carries a major torch for. Lara Flynn Boyle was lovely as the innocent, yet dangerously curious, Donna Hayward. Mädchen Amick was terrific as the abused yet deceptive Shelly Johnson. And then there was Laura herself. Sheryl Lee was perfection as both Laura Palmer - especially in the feature film prequel TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME - and her cousin Maddy Ferguson. Considering this series revolved around the tragedy of her death, you had to find just the right actress for the role. And yes, they found her. There is a ton of beauty in this series, and since the show feels slightly timeless, they still shine bright.
As far as the fellas, you couldn’t find a better pair than Kyle MacLachlan and Michael Ontkean. Polar opposites, the two actors lead the audience through a very creepy journey especially well. MacLachlan is genius at realizing the quirky nature of this special agent, and Ontkean adds a bit of rugged charisma as the town sheriff. Also quite brilliant is Ray Wise as Leland Palmer, a father facing the death of his own daughter. It is fantastic performance from this genre favorite, one of the most fascinating ones ever realized on the small screen. And then there is the crew guy that was hired because of his look. Frank Silva is Bob and he is one of the scariest characters ever created. While the true nature of Bob was kept so secretive, every time this dude did show up it sent chills down the spine.
Now remember the mention of a disturbing on-screen death? Just to avoid spoilers for those who haven’t visited this little town, Twin Peaks was one of the first shows I can remember to take a beloved character and violently kill them off. When you think about scary movies, there is something so shocking and heartbreaking about this moment that it still conjures up something especially wicked. Thankfully, the series offered up decent amount of terrors intwined with the offbeat. The reveal of the killer - something Lynch did not want to do - is one hell of a shocker, but it is almost a shame that they didn’t let the mystery linger just a little bit. However CBS was itching to solve the mystery of Laura’s death and the show did suffer afterwards.
Even without the looming secrets of Laura’s death revealed, the series remained mostly entertaining. The edge slightly disappeared when the story became more about a revenge seeking ex-partner of Cooper named Windom Earle (Kenneth Welsh). However it was terribly entertaining watching Shelly enjoying a little payback on her abusive husband Leo (Eric DaRe) after he suffered a debilitating accident. The series felt a tad too melodramatic as it drifted into its second, and final season. Yet it still has not been forgotten. It has been spoofed, paid homage to, and it even has a recent song by Bastille called “Laura Palmer.” And speaking of the music, nothing can beat the atmospheric and somber theme “Falling” sung by Julee Cruise and written by Angelo Badalamenti.
It’s been nearly twenty-six years since Twin Peaks first aired, and it was untimely pulled due to declining ratings. For fans, it was a real shame because many were still enthralled in all that was yet uncovered. Unlike anything before, the series was exceptionally shot and delved far deeper into a subject matter rarely explored on television. The David Lynch and Mark Frost creation was far from ordinary, and it still holds up to this day. So well in fact that the series is returning - FINALLY - with many of the original cast members, as well as some exciting new ones. With all the risks the series took back in 1990 - 1991, it is a true gift to see a show like this return without any prime time limitations. Hopefully when the new season airs on Showtime, Lynch and company will be able to take the series even further than we could have ever imagined before.
While it was easy to appreciate the second season, especially the first half, it was the first that really created such a massive pop culture explosion. The discovery of Laura “dead, wrapped in plastic” was perfection. As well, the introduction to these iconic characters was superb. Returning to this town reminded me of how great it was in the beginning. And while it was exciting to see the reveal of who killed Laura, it probably would have been even better had CBS had a little more faith in Lynch’s original vision.
Twin Peaks is a brilliant series. Even at its worst, it was still a uniquely special television event. The town itself was quite breathtaking, and it was shot exceptionally well. The cast was perfect, even some of the smaller roles that just showed up for a couple of episodes. Hell, you even have David Duchovny playing transgender DEA Agent Denise Bryson. If you’ve never had the inclination to visit this quaint little town, I highly recommend it. And for those of you who are familiar with all the residents, we can all be thankful that we will finally have the opportunity to return.
|Extra Tidbit:||What is your favorite episode of Twin Peaks?|