I would certainly hope that I am not in the minority when it comes to overprotective parents. Parents who aren’t necessarily trying to show their kids things that they themselves don’t like. Those parents who try to pass their passions down to their offspring. It is because of those passions that I now have a disdain towards just about anything Sylvester Stallone does. Nothing against the actor just grew up in an intense viewing environment of his movies. That annoyance just kind of grew up with me. Even recently, I posted on Facebook about how I had just watched the original Bad Boys for the first time. Everyone was shocked, but I didn’t grow up with it. It wasn’t the type of movies that my parents liked and subsequently, I missed out. The same thing happened a couple of years ago when I first discovered, The X-Files. I instantly fell head over heels for the show and the dynamic for Mulder and Scully. Even now, I have a clock of them in my office. I’m staring at it right now writing this review.
Eventually, conversations turned from “oh you’re just now watching The X-Files!?!” to “you need to check out Twin Peaks.” As my wife can attest, I’m not always the easiest to take on suggestions. Oftentimes if I do, it’s rather begrudgingly. Sometimes, I even end up having fun. Shocker, I know. Having done this podcast and website though, I’m constantly exposing myself to newer and newer media that I otherwise would not be. More times than not, finding myself surprised that it took me so long to discover something or wanting to tell the entire world about it. Look no further than my review for Light of My Life. At the beginning of this month, I sat down to finally take on the singular suggestion, I kept getting from people at conventions for the past three years: WATCH TWIN PEAKS. So, I finally did.
In its’ debut season, Twin Peaks follows the investigation of Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), FBI Agent, and Harry S. Truman (Michael Ontkean), the local sheriff. As they investigate the death of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), only to unwind the secret double life of the high school senior. For those that were once sharing the “never-seen-it” boat with me, Twin Peaks is a notoriously small and intimate town. The series manages to invest viewers with this feeling extraordinarily well. From its diner atmosphere to the ever-infectious coffee addiction of Dale Cooper. Audiences are introduced to this city and its secrets with Cooper – allowing for Twin Peaks to feel fresh and equally inventive.
For as intimate as the show aims to be though, it never delivers that with its narrative. Throughout its short 8 episode run, the series follows a number of different arcs which include: the aforementioned Cooper and Truman, Shelly Johnson (Madchen Amick), boyfriend Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook), hotel owner Benjamin Horne (Richard Beymer), best friend Donna Hayward (Lara Flynn Boyle), classmate Audrey Horne (Sherilynn Fenn), Dr. Will Hayward (Warren Frost), mentor/diner owner Norma Jennings (Peggy Lipton) – and I’m only just getting started. That’s not including the second boyfriend, the cocaine smugglers, the rest of the sheriff’s department and more. This cast is huge and robs the show of its intimacy. All arcs constantly trying to circle back to the murder of Laura Palmer. Perhaps the biggest sin against the first season is how little we get to know the family of the victim (Ray Wise & Grace Zabriskie). Offering little to no development for the parents, no time to grief – all in favor of these other arcs.
Perhaps, these arcs get fleshed out within the show’s second, and original final season, but it doesn’t do much in the way of closure for its debut. As ambiguous as the show can be at times, it allows for genuine moments that will take audiences on twists and turns. The thriller element of the show may be the best weapon within its arsenal. Writers and creators, David Lynch and Mark Frost, do a phenomenal job of crafting a truly original murder mystery that continuously has viewers on the edge of their seats. Some of that also has to go to the acting as well. MacLachlan and Ontkean absolutely deliver some astonishing performances. Through charm and passion, the two create not only terrific chemistry but an engaging narrative that feeds into the twists and turns of the series.
Overall, Twin Peaks: Season One, is a smart start to a murder mystery that dares to dance in the bizarre. David Lynch and Mark Frost create an environment that totally encompasses viewers with its unapologetically intense and unwinding mystery. Proving that nothing is ever what it seems in this small town. The series leads in Kyle MacLachlan and Michael Ontkean deliver a pair of fresh and intriguing performances that constantly hook audiences with great chemistry and utter flawless charm. While the show attempts to embrace its small-town intimacy, it largely misses the mark with an overstuffed and mostly unresolved first season. AS the show continues to unwind into the mystery and character of its murder victim, it can sometimes feel void because of the show’s busy nature. Twin Peaks beckons for the edge of your seat. Its’ an original take on the murder mystery genre, brilliantly dances on the weird even if it’s on the busier side.
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Credits: Twin Peaks is property of CBS, Spelling Television, Lynch/Frost Productions, & Propaganda Films. We do not own nor claim any rights.