Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Damn Fine Cup of Coffee

The second season of David Lynch and Mark Frost's groundbreaking television series Twin Peaks has finally been released on DVD, six years after the release of the first season.

About. Time.

And of course, now that the second season is now available, the first season is out of print. Go figure.

I recently spent some time watching most of the episodes (8 through 14 and 23 through 29) in the second season (the video rental place near my apartment apparently had the middle episodes checked out, which was kind of fine by me, since I don't remember those middle episodes - after wrapping up the Laura Palmer case and before really starting the Windom Earle arc - being that good) and reminding myself why I loved the show so much.

(David Foster Wallace talks at length about how much seeing Blue Velvet for the first time opened mental doors for him he didn't know existed. Twin Peaks did that for me in the 8th grade; when it had originally aired, I hadn't seen anything like it before. Or since, to be honest.)

Watching these episodes again for the first time in 10 years (I had first seen them when they had originally aired and again in college on very badly dubbed videotapes), I would agree with the sentiment that some of the cast members and critics assert that, for good or for bad, Twin Peaks was pretty instrumental in opening the doors for a number of disparate shows ranging from Lost (very long-running singular story arcs) to Desperate Housewives (suburban prettiness on the outside, ugliness behind closed doors) to The X-Files (duh). Hell, if you had to do one of those shitty "sound byte" descriptions, Desperate-Housewives-Meets-X-Files wouldn't be a too-far-off description.

I was also amazed at some of the stuff they got away with showing on a prime time network television show back in 1990/91. Some of the more violent scenes (like the protracted scene where Laura Palmer's killer beats his newest victim to death) you don't even see on network television nowadays (even though primetime fare - the CSI and Law & Order franchises, for example - has become much more accepting of ultra-violent material).

And let's not forget that final episode. Holy crap, that's some scary. Not to mention some chutzpah; the only other television series that I know of (aside from maybe the final, unaired episode of Action) ending on such a deliberately dark and unsatisfying note.

Yes, the show had some problems when they finally had to reveal Laura Palmer's killer (much earlier than Mr. Lynch and Mr. Frost had wanted) and yes, it probably couldn't have sustained that much interest for a third season (apparently only die-hard fans were watching the show by the end). But overall, the show still holds up and is worth a look for both former fans and the uninitiated.

Now if only they could release the original Pilot on DVD. Sigh...

The Little Man From Another Place,

James "Deputy Hawk" Comtois

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Blogger Freeman said...

Hey James -

I have the Season 1 DVDs. If you want to watch them.

8:26 PM  

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