I had heard Twin Peaks had a lot of influence on television series but having watched the first season of Twin Peaks I was not as impressed as I had hoped I would be. It wasn’t bad but I am not sure I would have spent 8 hours watching it if it wasn’t for its reputation.
I, ThoughtAgent, and Sieg did a livestream and discussed the many characters and the plot so I shall not repeat that here. Besides, I can remember their faces but I have forgotten most of their names.
It’s a murder mystery set in a rural town close to the Canadian border. At this point the murderer could be anyone except the FBI Agent that was sent to help the local Sheriff and his friends figure out what’s going on.
The first series ended on a bunch of cliffhangers, a few characters died including the main suspect and the only witness implying that he was not the murderer. To be honest the characters are not particularly sympathetic, including the victim of the murder, so I didn’t get very invested in whether they will make it out alive or not. I mean it would be nice if I found out who did it but I don’t have a burning desire to know it or anything.
The problem is that the way in which the investigation is conducted makes no sense, by which I mean the detective just happens to find leads that push him forward towards the answer. It’s a bit arbitrary. This is not a neat little Sherlock Holmes story where everything gets explained at the end and tied in a little neat package. Sometimes, he just happens to chance on the next suspect in the investigation. If you have seen that kinda comedic “Tibet” scene, you will know what I am talking about.
It’s more like a cross between a detective story and thriller but not with many horror elements. It doesn’t try to be scary or anything but there’s also this feeling that the land they are on is kind of cursed or something and that it’s leading our quirky, cheerful detective, who you will no doubt come to like, towards the next step of the investigation. Most of the characters are kind of eccentric. There’s a psychiatrist that has a pet coconut and an old lady who carries around a log and talks to it. Apparently the log has seen something related to the investigation.
It’s strange that even though all the characters have secrets and enemies and many of them are at each other's throats there are many homely, wholesome moments.
During the investigation connections are made that do not make sense but if you go along with it and don’t think too hard it feels like there’s a sort of internal logic to it. It’s more like a fast-paced mood and it’s easy to accept.
The themes of Twin Peaks are not obviously apparent, and unless you torture some message out of it, it’ll become quickly apparent that it’s not about that. It’s about seeing all separate threads of the plot slowly come together into some semi-coherent whole.
I have been told that the supernatural elements will be upped in season 2 and I am looking forward to that because if you’re not going to explain stuff you might as well make it as strange, weird and a mindfuck as you can.
Although this was a TV series, it has a certain film-like quality to it. The first episode is certainly movie length but even the subsequent ones which clocked-in at about 44 minutes still felt like watching a film. To be fair I watched the whole thing in one go so I am not sure how it would have felt if I had watched it the way that it had aired..
Perhaps I would have been more interested if I had to wait for the answers to come out a week or so, I would’ve maybe even come up with answers of my own. Then again it has been more than a week since I watched season 1 and I wasn’t bothered enough to think who it was that did the murder because it could be anyone and because as I said I didn’t really care.
The film-like quality might be because although they do rotate between a few locations, it doesn’t feel like the presence of the detective is overwhelming the place like in many detective tv shows like Poirot, I mean the name of the show is “Twin Peaks,” the name of the town, and not the name of the detective which I have forgotten already.
Another thing which I believe was special at the time is that the whole series is technically about one mystery with many sub-mysteries laced to it. It’s not one of those episodic detective shows where you just know that the detective is going to solve the case in one episode and everything that happened in that episode might as well be filler, might as well have never happened when the next episode starts. Or in other words there is continuity. Kinda like a soap opera but it doesn’t get dragged on forever.
Then again these days I wonder if this is special anymore, many Netflix tv series have just one plot and are basically one long movie cut into episodes for convenience’s sake. I guess this still makes Twin Peaks season 1 a pioneer but only that.
ThoughtAgent pointed out David Lynch’s use of the spot-light, there are many scenes in the dark but everything which was not obscured on purpose, can be clearly seen. I guess this is one of his tricks to make ordinary actions seem full of tension such as something as simple as digging up a pendant from under a small rock.
I would say that the camera didn’t make itself felt but the music on the other hand got a bit repetitive, especially the intro. Bear in mind that I watched this in one go. Apparently there are some short prologues to the episodes by the log lady but unfortunately the torrent I had didn’t have those. These prologues were added after the series was aired on TV or so I am told.
On a final note, I liked how the policemen and detective shamelessly eat a large number of doughnuts. It’s bordering on obscenity.
By Otaking, or The Good Student