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Customer Review

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful presentation of what TV should be, 24 May 2006
This review is from: Twin Peaks - Complete Season 1 [DVD] [1990] (DVD)
Mention David Lynch to anyone who isn't a fan of cult films, chances are they'll think of Twin Peaks, the show that started in a pilot like none that had been seen on TV before, spawned a phenomenon and was cancelled due to low ratings all in the space of just over a year. A bizzare rise and fall for a bizzare show.

Before this, David Lynch was known for his dark and surreal films, such as 'Eraserhead' and 'Blue Velvet' the latter of which explored similar themes as 'Twin Peaks', such as a small town having a dark underside. But anyone expecting something as bizzare as 'Eraserhead' would be in for a shock. 'Twin Peaks' actually has a solid storyline, one that's not left open to interpretation as so many of Lynch's films are. That's not to say that leaving something in the hands of the viewer is a bad thing, but I don't think the approach would have worked as well in TV as it does in his films.

Chances are, most people know the shows storyline, if not from the show itself, then form one of the many parodies/references made to it since. If not, it goes like this-a local 'good girl', Laura Palmer, is found "Dead. Wrapped in plastic" Special FBI Agent Dale Cooper, played wonderfully by Kyle MacLachlan, comes to the town to solve the crime and find whoever's behind it. But that's just the tip of the iceberg and soon, Cooper finds himself in a world of mysterious townspeople, strange dreams and, of course, coffee and pie, as he discovers that Laura Palmer was leading a double life-one as the smiling homecoming queen that everyone in town knew her as, the other as someone much darker and mysterious.

Whereas opinions on Season Two are somewhat mixed, ranging from "It was better than the first!" to "It jumped the shark in a big way", it's hard to deny the sheer genius of Season One. From the opening note of the theme tune through to the final, cliffhanger moment, this series grabs you and does not let go, dragging you into this world, and, most likely, leaving you just as baffled as Cooper. Even if you aren't a fan of the show itself, though, there's a good chance you're a fan of the many, many series which 'Twin Peaks' paved the way for, the most notable being 'The X-Files' and, more recently, 'Lost'.

Although this was a departure for Lynch from his normal surrealism fest, it's still easy to see his trademarks oozing through, such as quirky characters and humour. But maybe I'm focussing too much on Lynch here, since Mark Frost had an equally important hand in the series. Indeed, Lynch wrote and directed very few episodes over the course of the series, and credit should be given to the many, many guest directors who took his place.

The DVD itself is a mixed bag. There are commentaries on every episode, but most of them sound like interviews played over the episode, making it sort of hard to make the connection. Some of these commentaries/interviews do provide insight, however. Each episode also has several 'script notes'. Most of them talk about deleted scenes and anecdotes from the filming of the episode.

The boxset has 4 discs, 3 holding the 7 episodes, the last one holding a similarly mixed bag of extras. There's 'Learning To Speak In The Red Room', hosted by the, always charming, Michael J. Anderson (a.k.a The Man From Another Place) There're also 'postcards' from the cast, some of which talk about their experience on the show, whereas others tell other, completely un-'Twin Peaks' related stories and anecdotes. The Log Lady Introductions are interesting to watch, as is the interview with Mark Frost. The interview with the owner of the diner used as the RR in the show seemed a bit random, however.

Overall, 'Twin Peaks' is a peace of TV history, one that should not be missed by anyone. It's barely aged since the early 90s and, indeed, with a television landscape dominated by Reality shows, it's even more poignant to watch a TV show that dared to be different and, in doing so, revolutionised TV. Strong words? Well, it's a very strong show.
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