Saturday, August 12, 2006

Stuff I Like: Twin Peaks

Damn fine television and possibly my favorite TV show ever. It's what Lost aspires to be in, a more mainstream way. It's famous for the following surreal sequence, which was tacked on to the original pilot and has been lampooned in the Simpsons and beyond:-

It starts out as a murder mystery, where local homecoming queen Laura Palmer is murdered. The FBI is brought in, in the form of Special Agent Dale Cooper, a perky dictaphone wielding, cherry pie scrumming law enforcer who is doubtlessly the coolest TV character ever and guy-on-tv-I'd-most-want-to-be-in-real-life.

Dale Cooper has some odd methods of solving crimes, some of which I'm not sure are in the FBI handbook...

Eventually people got a little fed up waiting for the killer to be revealed:-

and once it was revealed the series got a little more surreal and a lot more directionless. But it was never dull.

The series finale was, for me, possibly one of the greatest ever season finales. Directed by Lynch (who reportedly threw away the script and made it all up) it ends on the worst (i.e. good) ever season cliffhanger - he didn't even bother to resolve any plot threads despite having known this was the last season for several episodes. I really wish they had made a third season as it would have been truly awesome to follow up on that finale, where Cooper descends into the Black Lodge and faces the evil that has plagued Twin Peaks.

Lynch did however intend to finish the show in a series of movies but unfortunately the movie Fire Walk With Me was sufficiently confounding and impenetrable that it bombed at the box office. David Lynch filmed it his way, even without the involvement of his other co-creator, and without any of the humour and cheerfulness that made the series so great. It's like when Grant and Naylor split up over Red Dwarf, it became apparent which one was the sci-fi guy and which one was the comedy guy as Red Dwarf became more space opera than funny.

FWWM had about 5 minutes of Dale Cooper in total, relegating the hero to a mere cameo role, not because of the story's prequel status but because Kyle Maclachlan was afraid of typecasting. A suspiciously similar character was created, causing continuity headaches as he investigated the earlier crimes the series implied Cooper had looked into. However as we know Dave is never one to compromise on his artistic vision *ahem*:-

Lesson #1: Finish your story before you do the prequel.

There are always rumours of a continuation of some sort, but with 16 years and counting I think it's more a case of wishful thinking on my part. However when Season 2 is released on DVD I shall get round to buying both seasons of my all-time favourite show. Season 1 was released 3 years or so ago.

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