Television history is divided into two eras: Before Twin Peaks, and after. In 1990, David Lynch and Mark Frost created a surreal show built on a scaffolding of impending dread, dream logic and bizarre aesthetics. Twenty-six years after Peaks ended, Showtime is reviving the series (May 21). Here's how the original inspired some of today's most influential showrunners:
'Everything was mysterious. I don't mean, "When did the perp kill the vic?" I mean the weather, the trees, the doughnuts. The dream sequences were more nightmare-like than anything I'd seen before--Fellini, Hitchcock. Lynch dug them up from the bottom of his unconscious. Anybody making one-hour drama today who says he wasn't influenced by David Lynch is lying.'
'The full sensory experience of Twin Peaks--images, sounds, music and the completely strange yet utterly compelling characters--was unlike anything I'd ever seen. The purposeful ambiguity kept my brain churning, well, forever.'
Lost; Bates Motel
'So much of filmmaking is information delivery, but Twin Peaks created a mood with imagery that didn't always make sense: Killer BOB appears out of nowhere, raises a hair on your neck, then disappears, and you wonder if it's even real.'
'Lynch is disturbing, brilliant, homey and often hilarious.'
Top of the Lake
'While most of my peers were obsessed with "sports" and "having fun," I was blathering on about the Black Lodge. The resulting banishment from teen society left me ample free time to begin writing stories myself. My love for exploring mystery, and the ambiguity surrounding it, was borne of that quiet, creepy logging town.'
Lost; The Leftovers
Twin Peaks: A Primer
Haven't seen it? Get thee to a streaming service. Here's a handy guide to the wonders and weirdos waiting for viewers in the little town that altered the course of American television:
A sign that something was amiss: the townie who cradled a log like a puppy while prophesying
FBI agent Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) waxed poetic about pie, rendering even the mundane bizarre
Not your average hero cop, Cooper tapped into the supernatural to solve crimes
ONE EYED JACK'S
This brothel and drug den symbolized the darkness hidden in even the most wholesome of towns
THE RED ROOM
Lynch captured dream logic perfectly when characters entered this room of riddles
The show's self-mutilating mystery man was part innocent bystander, part malevolent spirit