TV: Twin Peaks – Season 1 (1990)

Finished watching on: 22 Dec 2011
By: David Lynch & Mark Frost
Length: 1 90-minute episode & 7 45-minute episodes (414 mins total)
Language: English (and a bit of Norwegian)

I first watched this at a friend’s house back in the first half of 2011, and I remember recognizing instantly that this was a great program. But I couldn’t borrow the DVD, and so I only watched the 90 minute pilot episode and the first ordinary episode. And it then went untouched for a few months until I went back to my friend’s, realized that I still needed to watch more of it, and promptly started watching again (I later had to download it to finish the season, annoyingly).

Anyway, it’s less weird than the Lynch films that I’ve seen, but still revels in the chance to throw a weird curveball at you, like a strange dream sequence or whatever. It’s a drama with occasional comic elements, with the central premise that Laura, a high school student in the remote mountain town of Twin Peaks, is killed in strange circumstances, and nobody knows who did it. The FBI is called in, and Agent Cook is ostensibly the closest thing the series has to a protagonist; he makes a rather superstitious character, and at one point he tries to use some kind of Buddhist divination to work out where to look next, and is generally a source of mirth in his cluelessness.

It has a good early 90s/late 80s charm to it, what with the hairstyles and slightly grainy quality to the image. Above all, it’s entertaining and I’d recommend it. I don’t really want to give away too many plot spoilers, although to be honest the plot gets so supremely complicated at some points that I’m not sure I remember enough of it to give away. It is also excellent at constructing a foreboding atmosphere and a web of intrigue, and then there’s the whodunnit element underpinning the whole thing.

Along with the complicated plot (which David Lynch later admitted to making up as he went along), however, I think one of Twin Peaks’ major flaws is the sheer number of characters, which take some time getting used to. In many ways it resembles a soap opera in this respect. Certainly at first it took me a while to stop mixing up the various father characters and female high school students that feature in the show, and even now (when I’ve moved onto the second season) I still can’t remember half of their names.

Also, I may be jumping the gun a little by referring to the second season, which I’m technically not reviewing yet, but there was just the most perfect shot in one episode where the camera pans up a table covered in donuts when the police are working on a case. It’s just the little jokes like that that really make this show.

In any case, I’d definitely recommend this show to everyone.

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