Twin Peaks: The Definitive Gold Box Edition
Twin Peaks was the ultimate cult TV show: suspenseful, complex, and hilariously written with hidden layers that casual channel-flippers might not catch. Though it lasted only two seasons, David Lynch and Mark Frost's classic series is a brilliant piece of television, with dozens of intertwined subplots and a mystery death that goes a lot deeper than just murder. For the very first time, both seasons and the pilot are united in this box set - a must have for cult TV enthusiasts.
The body of a beautiful young woman, Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), washes up on shore "wrapped in plastic." It seems everyone in the town of Twin Peaks adored her, so her death is a blow. FBI Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) is assigned to the case, which seems connected to his past work, so he settles down at the comfy Twin Peaks hotel and continues investigating.
Cooper is played with quirky brilliance by McLachlan; he's a bright, lovable, friendly kind of guy who loves Tibetan mysticism, tape recorders and a "damn fine cup of coffee." He becomes even more likable as the series goes on, and we get to see some of his more tragic dimensions.
Then Twin Peaks' secrets start surfacing: love affairs, madness, wackos, corporate devilry and drug-running. Clues about Laura crop up: a bloody shirt, a drug deal, a secret affair and a heart necklace. People catch glimpses of a one-armed man and a grey-haired killer, and Cooper has a prophetic dream with both men, as well as a red room, a double of Laura Palmer and a tiny man who dances to jazz music.
The second season introduces more unrest for the inhabitants of Twin Peaks, and an injured Cooper has a vision that may have something to do with Laura Palmer's death. Midway through the season he finds who it was (or rather, who it seems to be). But that's not the only plotline in the second season; we also get a psychopathic ex-Fed, parasitic demons, a disastrous beauty pageant, strange caves and a twin pair of "Lodges" that seem to exist outside space and time, which Cooper's murderous ex-partner is searching for.
Twin Peaks starts off as a basic murder mystery, but rapidly becomes something a lot stranger and more frightening. It becomes a bit weaker during the second season - especially when Laura's killer is revealed prematurely - but it's still strange and darkly humorous right up to the flawed cliffhanger end.
Lynch and Frost knew how to spin a great TV show. They took the usual murder mysteries, and loaded it down with eerie symbolism, creepy visions and inscrutable (but important) lines ("Through the darkness of future past, the magician longs to see...."). And there are arcs that stretch through the series, slowly unfolding their secrets like dark roses.
But it's not just strange-weird, but strange-funny too. And the dialogue has that brilliant quirkiness that most series can't keep going for long ("Fellas, don't drink that coffee! You'd never guess... there was a fish in the percolator"). Considering how likably strange the characters are, it's not too surprising that it's crammed with quotables ("Black as midnight on a moonless night...." "Pretty black").
The entirety of Twin Peaks is hard to describe, because the plots were a perfect balance of the surreal and mundane, and the entire series is a dark, cult gem from beginning to imperfect end.