The first thing you may notice about “Twin Peaks” is its unsettling call to a 1950s pace and sensibility. While the story and characters may not always fit into that ideal, it seems perfectly odd that the township of Twin Peaks feels as timeless as the music permanently floating in the air and the cherry pie you’re liable to find will just kill you! What you may also find there is a bounty of secrets everyone appears to be hiding— as if we’ve found a rip in a time continuum which allows us a glimpse into what life might have been like in that bygone era… pleasant, simple, quiet, and most of all rife with a dark layer of seediness brimming just below the surface.
The second thing you may notice about the “Twin Peaks First Season Special Edition” DVD package is that the all-important pilot (first episode) is not included. As episode one on disc one fires up, the story begins with the dead body of Twin Peaks’ homecoming queen, Laura Palmer, already having been discovered. FBI special agent Dale Cooper has already arrived on the scene and is hot on the trail of clues we hope will lead him to Laura’s killer by season’s end. The strangeness and hilarity and thrilling suspense ensues and continues for seven total episodes, but the weakness of this package (perhaps its only weakness) lies in excluding that seminal episode— the one that started it all. Luckily, for those of us who have forgotten, and for those of us who never knew, a detailed summary of the pilot is included in the liner notes as a quick refresher.
That said, prepare yourself for one of the most unique viewing experiences on DVD available today. To refer to the “Twin Peaks” series as a David Lynch-inspired cult phenomenon of the early 1990s would not adequatelydescribe the force of these seven episodes. In fact, it would be easy to dismiss this series as so much confounding artistry and fluff, which arguably had no place in television at the time. But watching it now we can easily realize that was the point.
“Twin Peaks” was something, then and even now, that no one had ever seen on TV before. The concept of David Lynch’s vision— that the image propels the story instead of the other way around— stood out head and shoulders among its ilk on television during its day. Without knowing the story is secondary to the image, watching the first season of this series would be best described as a chore. In other words, it is important to understand that not every detail or event taking place in the storyline will aid in helping special agent Cooper, or the viewers for that matter, to solve the murder of Laura Palmer. Resign yourself to leaving convention behind and just go along for the ride.
Maybe the most interesting feature of this four-disc DVD package can be found on the fourth disc. An indepth interview with the show’s co-creator, Mark Frost, reveals the inspiration for, as well as everything that went into the making of the show. Also very useful in helping to understand the series is a montage of various cast and crew members being interviewed to shed light on what it’s like to work with David Lynch, a feature which is sure to please both cult fans and newcomers alike.
“Twin Peaks” is an excellent example of what it must be like to create wtih total abandon… To have the story serve at the pleasure of the image… To come to a place where the coffee’s great, the cherry pie will just kill you, where secrets are buried in shallow graves and oddities abound… A place called Twin Peaks, where the birds always sing a pretty song and there’s always music in the air.
this is an original review which first appeared on a website that is now defunct.