It’s been over 20 years since Twin Peaks first aired on ABC but the show’s cult following is still alive and kicking. Watching it for the first time is something of a pop culture rite of passage and the show is continually referenced - maybe most famously in The Simpsons. As soon as the theme music hits I feel simultaneously terrified and reassured at the same time. It’s like eating my favourite meal…but worrying that may be laced with poison. If you haven’t watched it already what the hell have you been doing with your life until this point? Here’s 5 reasons why Twin Peaks is one of the greatest TV shows of all time.
- INTERESTING (AND ATTRACTIVE) CHARACTERS
An unusual thing about Twin Peaks is the amount of truly likeable characters - something often missing from David Lynch’s films. Let’s start at the top: Special Agent Dale Cooper. Not only is Cooper stupidly handsome (yes, I still have a crush on Kyle MacLachlan, even now in Portlandia. No shame) but he’s charming, eccentric and smart; he solves mysteries by smashing bottles whilst explaining the plight of Tibet at the same time; he looks good in a tux and consumes copious amounts of pie. Swoon.
On the flip side Lynch and Frost created the single most terrifying villain ever in the mysterious BOB - who I get shivers just thinking about. Without spoiling anything the revelation of exactly who BOB was blew my tiny mind. This clip of him climbing over a sofa is probably one of the most frightening things I have ever seen. Seriously.
Twin Peaks also had its fair share of strong women, notably the enigmatic Audrey Horne. Audrey is fearless - she goes all the way up to One Eyed Jack’s by herself - and is in control of what she wants. Despite her non-romance with Cooper (damn you Lara Flynn Boyle) and her pretty lame storylines mid-season 2 Audrey remained a fan favourite. Just you pretend you didn’t want to have those eyebrows. Let us also remember that the show’s only Rolling Stone cover featured the women of Twin Peaks. Not a man in sight.
Oh, and of course the ingenious character of Gordon Cole played by Lynch himself.
- IT REINVENTED AMERICAN TV
Twin Peaks paved the way for television to be a little…weirder. The use of dream sequences in the show helped reignite excitement into American television. Shows such as The Sopranos, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Mad Men all use this technique. Non linear narrative too became popular, notably in television hits like LOST. Post-modern components such as the television show Invitation to Love reflecting the lives of the Twin Peaks residents is also something we see more in television (one example is The Valley in teen classic The O.C)
The unsettling, paranoid atmosphere in Twin Peaks is something shows like The X Files would use later. The X Files also took note from Twin Peaks with the use of nameless characters such as The Log Lady, The One-Armed Man and The Man From Another Place (although on the X Files most of these adjectival characters were villainous e.g the detestable Smoking Man).
- SWEET OUTFITS
Audrey Horne (in every episode), Lucy Moran’s curly ponytail dream, Josie Packard’s chic wardrobe. And Donna Hayward in the pilot (and only the pilot). There’s even a blog dedicated to these awesome outfits.
- THE PERFECT BLEND OF DREAM AND REALITY
Twin Peaks is a perfect blend of supernatural cop drama and small town soap opera. We become entangled in the characters lives. What’s the deal with Andy and Lucy? How did Shelly ever fall for Leo? Why is James such a wet blanket? When will Cooper and Audrey kiss?! On top of that we have all the weird events. Where is the Black Lodge? Can the Log Lady’s log really talk? What on earth is Garmonbozia? Twin Peaks allows viewers to live in the town, be a member of the community and watch as the mysteries begin to unfold.
Granted, the second series is a lot weirder and disjointed, (due to the Laura Palmer mystery wrapping up a third of the way through the season and Lynch’s subsequent departure from the show until the finale) but I happen to enjoy that. Additionally the movie, which became infamous after it was slated at Cannes, is one bizarre trip building up to Laura Palmer’s murder. But that’s what makes it AWESOME.
- DAVID DUCHOVNY AS CROSS-DRESSING AGENT DENISE BRYSON.
What a hottie.
- INTERESTING (AND ATTRACTIVE) CHARACTERS