Sunday, November 28, 2010

Countdown: The 10 Greatest TV Seasons of All Time - #10

10. Twin Peaks - Season 1 - The rise and fall of Twin Peaks has been dissected ad nauseum and I agree with the general consensus that the show began brilliantly only to run out of steam halfway through season 2 after Laura Palmer's killer is revealed.  Everything that made Twin Peaks so original and entertaining is encapsulated in the 8 amazing episodes that comprise the show's first season.  These episodes are all build-up, inviting us into creator David Lynch's mindscape.  They pay attention to music and atmosphere while keeping the pace humming along, introducing us to the myriad strange characters and mysteries of the quixotic small town.

Key Episodes:

Pilot - Lynch co-wrote and directed the two-hour premiere episode and it is one of the most bizarre, genre-defying pilots ever to be picked up by a television network.  The tone could only be described as Lynchian.  It manages to be incredibly moving and deliriously silly, sometimes in the same scene.  Ordinary objects are transformed into omens of terror when seen through Lynch's eyes: a lone stoplight swaying in the breeze, a ceiling fan slowly turning at the top of a staircase.  At the center is an eye-opening performance by Kyle Maclachlan as Dale Cooper, the world's most qualified FBI agent.

Episode 2 - Possibly the strangest TV episode of all time, it is not surprising that this one was also directed by Lynch.  Episode 2 is where Twin Peaks jumps off the rails and veers off into its own gleefully insane universe.  Agent Cooper eliminates suspects by throwing rocks at a bottle in the woods.  One-eyed Nadine accidentally invents a silent drape runner.  David Patrick Kelly makes his first appearance as sandwich-obsessed Jerry Horne and Miguel Ferrer debuts as Albert Rosenfield the angry, fast-talking forensics expert.  Finally, the episode concludes with the hypnotic dream sequence where Cooper meets a backwards-talking, dancing midget.

Episode 7 - The first season finale brings all of the plot threads to a raging boil, ending the hour with about ten cliffhangers.  Twin Peaks was always at heart a send-up of soap operas - the characters are even addicted to a soap of their own, "Invitation to Love", though this gimmick was abandoned in the second season - and co-creator Mark Frost who wrote and directed this episode skillfully pays homage to these roots.  There is a surprise pregnancy announcement, a fire, a beating, a kidnapping, a murder, a suicide attempt, three shootings, and a father unknowingly prepares to have sex with his daughter.  Can you imagine anyone not tuning in for a second season after all that?


  1. Thanks Cheree! Sorry I have been slow to post... The new one should be up soon!