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thomas s davies | Astoria, NY United States | 10/02/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Twin Peaks rates as one of the most singularly innovative additions to network telelvision. David Lynch's obsession with making the everyday middle-american world beautifully strange (the word "awe" with its horrific element intact is useful here) and Mark Frost 's (St Elsewhere) quirky writing meld seamlessly in this soap opera that exposes to much beneath its surface. The episodic nature of television often strains to create new episodes that maintain sturdy characters while repeatedly playing the same scenario over and over. In this case the characters are superficial, common and quirky. But rather than falling into the dull routine of love triangles and deceit (although TP has these in abundance) Lynch and Frost immediately disrupt quiet american life with a murder--a dead prom queen, Laura Palmer, floats up to Pete Marshall shattering his early morning fishing routine. The town is cast into chaos. FBI agent Dale Cooper, played perfectly by Kyle MacLachlan, enters the town wide-eyed and appreciative of its tranquil simplicity. Using holistic methods, Cooper unravels the black underbelly that provides the illusion of innocence. Playing between superficial soap opera moments and some of the most horrific and surreal moment ever shown on TV, Lynch and Frost use the weekly format to delve deeply into the dark forces and evils which exists within beauty. And the show is ultimately beautiful in its raw exploration that reveals fear is always obliterated by love--not justice or truth. The show's inteligence survived its first season by hiding behind the murder mysery of Laura Palmer. Lynch and Frost planned to leave this mystery unsolved indefinitely in order to explore all corners of Twin Peaks. Unfortunately, the network forced the team to rush towards a solution in the second season fearing that ratings were dropping because viewers needed closure (actually Twin Peaks was losing the soap opera element as they realized the world of Twin Peaks was more complex and real than most prime time viewers were prepared to patiently stomach). Without its central nexus and Lynch leaving to complete Wild at Heart, the show floundered until Lynch's return. However, the show snapped back into brilliance following Lynch's return. But it was too late. The show met the same fate of all brilliant American network shows that shined too brightly before its time--it was cancelled. The team put together a final TV movie that "ended" the show in the manner it began. Lynch followed it with a dreamlike prequel in the theaters called Fire Walk With Me (a creepy mantra pulled from Laura's phantom killer). All of this if assembled adds up to a work of visual art that was way ahead of its time and dismissed as quirky and silly--but its rough end was probably caused by people expecting to be entertained by quirkines, but kept safe from the show's more awesome yet brutal spectacles. Still the entire work (if one can find it all and watch it in order) stands as a challenge to network programming need for dumbed-down product. First time viewers and skeptical fans should bravely revisit this fragmented masterpiece."
Truly remarkable television
Mark Twain | 07/13/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In the spring of 1990, the ABC network treated it's viewers to a most unusual viewing experience; the David Lynch and Mark Frost creation "Twin Peaks". A hybrid murder/mystery, primetime soap opera, darkly funny comedy and super- natural thriller...Twin Peaks was all of these and yet at the same time none. It would use what on other shows would be clichés to create a richly woven tapestry so original, thought provoking and emotionally truthful that it re- defined what television at it's best could truly be. At times it was hilarious and absurd, other times it was heart-wrenching in it's honesty of human emotion and suffering, and still other times it was deeply chilling and disturbing with images you can't easily shake off days after...and sometimes it was all these things at once. There had never been anything even remotely like it on TV before and (so far) nothing like it since. It's influence can be seen in countless other programs...but only elements, no one has achieved the true artistry that "Twin Peaks" had. Being a mid-season replacement series, the whole of it's first season was only 7 episodes and had much of America asking the question "Who killed Laura Palmer?". The series' was set in the fictional, northwestern town of Twin Peaks, where the murdered body of local homecoming queen, Laura Palmer is found on a beach wrapped in plastic. This event sets the stage for the arrival of FBI agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) and the subsequent investigation as to the identity of her killer. It is this investigation that will uncover the quiet trappings of this small mountain town to reveal dark secrets hidden within and and even darker things lurking without. He will encounter a remarkable cast of characters, all with their own personal agendas."Twin Peaks" was and still remains groundbreaking television of the first order. It was stylistically cinematic, each episode looks very much like an hour long feature film with an equally impressive soundtrack presentation. It was incredibly well written (with so many quotable lines the mind boggles at them all) with fabulous characters, a wonderful sense of humor and a shadowy (and sometimes very scary) sense of mystery. The large ensemble cast of MacLachlan, Michael Ontkean, Piper Laurie, Sherylynn Fenn, Laura Flynn Boyle, Peggy Lipton, Miquel Ferrer, Ray Wise, Joan Chen and far too many more to list here are all uniformly excellent in their respective rolls.For "Twin Peaks"' debut on DVD, Artisan Home Entertainment has put together a very nice set featuring episodes 1 thru 7 (unfortunately the 2 hr. pilot is missing due to rights issues, originally owned by Warner Bros. it is now owned by Paramount). The packaging is a slick fold-out design with transparent slip case, much like the design of Fox's X-Files box sets. 4 discs are included.With only 2 episodes per disc, these transfers are mastered at a very high bit rate and the results are stunning. Having been used to the soft, grainy picture afforded by the previous video versions of the series, I was quite unprepared for the unbelievable picture quality delivered on this release. These new high definition, re-mastered transfers are breathtaking, with colors rendered perfectly (the green opening titles nearly leap off the screen). Blacks are solid with excellent shadow detail, flesh tones are accurately reproduced and the show's red color schemes have never looked better (without a trace of bleeding). No digital artifacts are present and I never noticed any signs of edge enhancement, all in all an incredible job. The same can be said for the sound presentation here, you can choose between Dolby digital 5.1 surround and 2.0 surround or (in a first for any television DVD product) DTS digital surround. These are very good mixes, the DTS surround being the best. The surround elements are reserved mostly to ambient sounds and Angelo Badalamenti's brilliant music, dialogue is placed mostly in the center and is clear and intelligible. This is television and not a Hollywood action spectacular so don't expect reference quality surround use, but a detailed sound mix perfectly suited to the show. Badalamenti's score is especially well presented here.I would suggest to first time viewers to try and get hold of the pilot episode. Although it has an alternate ending filmed as a possible "closed" ending for European markets, it is actually an uncut version of Cooper's dream in episode 2. You can also purchase an import DVD of the pilot from Amazon.com which is the original broadcast version, the video and audio is not as pleasing as on the set reviewed here but still it is acceptably good. Artisan has included a booklet with the season 1 set explaining the events of the pilot but I would suggest viewing it if possible before viewing ep.1 thru 7. With each show being a day in the investigation, viewers will likely be lost without the events of the pilot to start from. Overall a very impressive set from Artisan. If you missed this extraordinary show before, don't miss it this time. And please hurry up with Season 2."
Twin peaks definitely out on DVD Summer 2000 (region 2)!
Zanda | England | 12/14/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Twin Peaks, mega mega tops. Probably one of the best series ever. Downside is that the VHS quality is very very poor. I have received an e-mail from Artisa (the production people) and they say they WILL be releasing it on DVD in Summer 2000 (earlier in the States). If you only buy one thing next year, make sure it's Twin Peaks."
Twin Peaks DVD in November 2000
thomas s davies | 06/05/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Have just been informed that Artisan Entertainment (artisanent.com) will be releasing the entire Twin Peaks series on DVD in November 2000. Mysticism... Humor... David Duchovny in drag. David Warner on TV. David Lynch with a hearing aid! And Harry S. Truman! Peggy Lipton! Diners! The owls are not what they seem!"
Public service announcement: Pilot easily obtainable
Joseph P. Menta, Jr. | Philadelphia, PA USA | 11/13/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Twin Peaks" enthusiasts should know that a decent international/all-region DVD of the "Twin Peaks" pilot is easily obtainable from several venues, principally E-Bay and many specialty DVD retail sites. For a very reasonable price, I purchased a new, sealed copy from a vendor on E-bay. Though it may possibly be trimmed a few minutes from the edition that originally ran on network TV (as the running time is ninety minutes exactly, instead of the 100 minutes or so that most TV movies run without commercials), this international edition flows nicely, has great image quality, and DOES NOT have the cheap tacked-on ending "resolving" the mystery that other foreign editions reportedly do. It has the same creepy cliff-hanger fans remember (Mrs. Palmer screaming and the mysterious gloved hand digging up the hidden necklace). Just make sure you get the edition I'm talking about; the cover of the DVD I purchased shows photos of five or six of the main characters suspended above a black-and-white tiled floor. So, those who are hesitating to get the season one box set from Amazon or another source because the pilot is missing shouldn't worry. Just grab the pilot from one of the places I mentioned and you'll be all set for season one!"