Saturday, February 21, 2009
Day Sixteen: Twin Peaks: Season One (1990) - Rank 5/5
There's no way around it: once you see the pilot episode, you're hooked for the series. Or at least until the killer of Laura Palmer is discovered. You have to hand it to Lynch - he has a knack for creating surreal worlds filled with eccentric (and sometimes frightening characters). His films can scarcely be said to be friendly to the general public. That's why I was utterly intrigued at how he managed to not only create a television show that was airable, but one that lasted two seasons without eradicating Lynch's own peculiar brand of storytelling.
Needless to say he does so successfully. Twin Peaks feels like a fully explored extension of Kyle MacLachlan's "average American hometown" in "Blue Velvet." Just as is the case in "Blue Velvet," a single murder opens a Pandora's box of seedy characters and shady relationships. By the end of the first season, no one is who he or she seemed at the start of the series. And, amazingly, Lynch's own sense of direction and dialog are present in each episode, even if he was not at the helm of them directly (though he did direct the majority of the season one episodes).
There's a bevy of fun character's that shine in the series, but those that leave prominent impressions would have to be the scheming Catherine Martel, played with sinister glee by Piper Laurie, the ever bumbling, Lynch regular Jack Nance as her husband, Ben Horne, a modern day Mr. Potter, executed with tongue-in-cheek revelry by Richard Beymer (the entire scene of dialog between him and his brother in episode two about a butter baguette sandwich is priceless). The one who steals the show with his manic-depressive acting is Ray Wise as Laura's grieving father. Every time he tries to pick up his life after his daughter's death, he ends up dancing with Laura's framed picture and crying. It's the dark sense of humor only Lynch can pull off - the type of character where you don't know whether you should be laughing at them or terrified.
I've heard ample warnings that the second season scarcely lives up to the presence the first creates. However, after being introduced to a variety of fascinating characters and being left with one of the greatest cliffhanger episodes I've ever seen, there's no question in my mind - I must see the rest.
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And yes, while not a film, I certainly think an entire season of a television show merits mention, especially since it requires more dedication that a single two-hour film does.