If any show was the cornerstone of 1990s TV it was “Twin Peaks” created by David Lynch and Mark Frost. Set in the gloomy rain soaked northwest, this drama started with “Who Killed Laura Palmer” and left audiences more confused than ever at the end. “Twin Peaks” was more than just a murder mystery. It seamlessly melded the mundane with the extreme and introduced a host of unforgettable, quirky characters. It gave us a new take on the one hour continuing drama where not everything is what it seems. The characters are not simply larger than life, they are odder than life should be without being too over the top.
It was a tough act to follow but fortunately, some showrunners who were inspired by “Twin Peaks” took a shot with shows of their own according to an article on “Today’s News Update”. Take “The Sopranos” David Chase was inspired by the everyday objects and dream sequences punctured by violence. This makes sense as one minute Tony is complaining about the amount of pulp in his orange juice and the next he is busting someone’s head. In “Twin Peaks” FBI agent Cooper has a penchant for pie at the diner. The focus on everyday objects seems random, and sometimes they are, but they add color to the story. The dream sequences that sometimes add some fanciful additions like on “The Sopranos” when Big Pussy’s voice comes from a fish head. Compare that to the dancing dwarf on Twin Peaks. It’s surreal and wonderful!
“Twin Peaks” was not a show for everyone. It had a geek following. It demanded that the viewer think. Young teens like Damon Lindelof, the creator of “Lost” and “The Leftovers” were ostracized from their peer crowd for having unique tastes and a wild imagination. Lindelof says he is not at all sorry, as his time alone helped him unleash his genius. It’s often the kids who don’t go to the high school dances who dream up the wildest most entertaining storylines and shows like “Twin Peaks” fan the flames of their imagination.
“Bates Motel” is another show that gives us a glimpse of the underside of everyday life. A young man with some serious problems, the neurotic mom, and the host of dynamic characters in their world all intersecting in a small Pacific Northwest town. Kerry Ehrin who brought Norman Bates back to us in a spell binding prequel to “Psycho”. Ehrin described “Twin Peaks” as “mother’s milk for her brain”.
Today, because of “Twin Peaks’ we ask for more from our programs. If a drama is going to compete with a lavish production like Game of Thrones” it has to have that something extra that made shows like “Fargo” and “Bates Motel” a hit. Yes, there are some shows that stick to a traditional formula, but those shows that go the extra mile to intrigue us and mess with our heads a little gain a cult following and become part of pop culture history. Not to say that the above-mentioned showrunners copied any specific element. Not at all. But ‘Twin Peaks” gave shows permission to let fly with the absurdity and ironic elements of everyday life when a cross section of interesting people are put in abnormal situations. Thank goodness that “Twin Peaks’ is back because who knows who it will inspire next to create future innovative one-hour dramas.
H/T to Today’s News Update
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