TV Review: Twin Peaks

I was first introduced to the television show ***Twin Peaks*** in middle school, and ever since then I have found it to be a reliable re-watch due to its captivating characters and avant-garde filming style and plot. The story invites the viewer to fully join the small town in all its weirdness. 

The show begins with the premise of a murdered high school girl, Laura Palmer, who’s “filled with secrets.” Throughout the show’s two season runtime, (excluding the third season released in 2017, which bears little resemblance to the original show) the dark underbelly of the small-town setting is revealed through the work of FBI agent Dale Cooper. The show incorporates elements of the supernatural and traditional horror aspects in order to create a genuinely scary experience, from the time I first watched it at thirteen until now. 

It’s difficult to pinpoint what makes me love the show so much, but I believe a large portion of my affection derives from the strong characterization present in the show. The unique cast of characters are all carefully interconnected, and each individual has distinct personality traits that make them memorable and interesting to watch. Even minor characters are thoroughly represented, often through wacky dialogue or memorable traits, such as an obsession with completely silent drape runners or a love for coffee and donuts. The characters all share a connection to the central figure in the show, Laura Palmer, and demonstrate the vast web of connections human beings share with each other, especially in small towns. Dale Cooper states that, “Laura Palmer’s death has affected each and every person because life has meaning here in Twin Peaks. Every life.” This idealistic way of life is juxtaposed with the darker forces that are present in the town, represented as the supernatural but also deeply human.  

It’s difficult to define the genre of Twin Peaks, as it incorporates elements of melodrama, horror and mystery. It’s excellent blending of genres leads to a viewing experience that appeals to a wide range of people. Traditional horror fans will enjoy the spooky elements of the show founded upon the supernatural, and fans of comedy will enjoy the humorous characterization of many of the show’s central figures.  

The show uses supernatural elements to explore the darker side of human nature, and although sometimes leaning towards cliché, the show is still a compelling portrayal of issues that remain important 30 years later. Even though the central plot concerns the misfortunes and death of a teenage girl, it never trivializes the issues that she faced. Although it has lighthearted moments, it’s definitely a dark show, especially with its portrayal of many types of abuse. Subsequent additions to the show, including the third season and the prequel film, address the issue of abuse and assault more in depth. 

I would wholeheartedly recommend this show to anyone who is a fan of compelling mysteries, unique characters and avant-garde horror. Twin Peaks is unfortunately no longer available on Netflix or Hulu but can be viewed on Amazon Prime Video with a Showtime subscription.