Twin Peaks: The First Season

Title: Twin Peaks: The First Season
Rating: Not Rated
Release Date: December 18, 2001
Running Time: approximately 336 minutes
Ten-second Rundown: Who killed Laura Palmer? It almost doesn't matter in this quirky town.
Version: Four-disc Special Edition

  • Interactive Menus
  • Scene Selection
  • audio commentary by episode directors and cinematographers
  • in-depth interview with series co-creator Mark Frost
  • Optional introductions by the Log Lady
  • documentary: An Introduction to David Lynch
  • Character Directory w/ select filmographies and interviews
  • documentary: Learning to Speak in the Red Room
  • interview with the real owner of the Double R Diner
  • Choice Scene:Agent Cooper visits The Red Room. Just trust us on this one.

    Tech Specs: Full screen, DTS Digital Surround, 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround, 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround

    "She's dead. Wrapped in plastic."

    In 1990, those words launched a mystery that had all the cool people talking, caused a run on cherry pie and coffee, and inundated the small town of Snoqualmie, Washington with Japanese tourists. Everybody had the same question: Who killed Laura Palmer?

    If you missed the boat, Laura Palmer was an all-American high school girl found dead in a river. After her death, Laura's dark secrets threatened to unravel her town. And audiences couldn't decide whether to be horrified or just laugh at the clever, slightly gothic histrionics in Twin Peaks.

    The series teamed loopy FBI agent Dale Cooper (Kyle McLachlan) with Sheriff Harry S. Truman (Michael Ontkean) as they explored the town's dark underbelly. Set in modern day but with a strange sense of being stuck in the fifties, this innovative show (co-created by David Lynch and Mark Frost) paved the way for many popular shows of the last decade. Unfortunately, Twin Peaks itself was a little too weird, too ground-breaking, to maintain the interest of the average TV viewer.

    Still held with high regard, Twin Peaks should be getting new life from Artisan Entertainment's release of it on DVD.

    Beautifully packaged, the first season set comes two episodes to a disc, with the seventh season-ending episode (the show was a mid-season Hail Mary for ABC) paired with all the extra documentary material. Slipping off the outer case, Laura Palmer's senior portrait gives way to her water-logged corpse, both crucial images to the series.

    Before actually putting a disc in the player, you may want to refresh your memory with the included booklet that nicely recaps the pilot episode. Possibly because the pilot had a European theatrical release, a different company holds its domestic video rights. We can only hope that company will prepare a good DVD package for it soon, so we can have the story in its entirety. Still, Artisan makes it easy to pick up on episode 1.

    Each episode includes commentary from a key crewmember. All provide insight into the process of the show, and in a couple of cases, a good shot at the process of David Lynch's mind. Not that Lynch will confirm this; he is noticeably absent from the proceedings, though the commentary proves that everyone involved was trying to keep things as Lynchian as possible.

    You can compare the episode as shot with the original scripts, annotated by the editors of the Twin Peaks fan magazine (naturally, Wrapped In Plastic). If you still need additional input, the discs have the option of viewing introductions from the infamous Log Lady (Catherine Coulson). These quirky introductions were shot for the show's rebroadcast on cable, and have not been re-mastered. This actually helps to emphasize the great care taken to restore the episodes themselves.

    The sound and picture are simply vibrant, crucial to a show so dependent on its imagery. Outdoor shots have a soundtrack so precise you can hear twigs snap. Not a single note of Angelo Badalamenti's score gets muddied. And the Red Room hasn't been this vivid in years.

    Artisan hasn't skimped on the extras, either.

    The editors of Wrapped In Plastic conduct a surprisingly good interview with co-creator Mark Frost. Shot a couple of years ago, Frost is surprisingly forthright about his experience on the show, and seems to acknowledge that at some point they kind of lost their way. Making it up as you go along is not always easy.

    Follow the interview up with the documentary labeled An Introduction To David Lynch. It holds up well as a short subject, with views of Lynch's work from both academia and the people who have worked with him. Though again Lynch is never seen, this feature paints a pretty good portrait of him.

    Two throw-away pieces get included for their quirkiness. Michael Anderson, "the man from another place," offers up lessons on how to speak the language of the Red Room. It's an obvious joke that goes on way too long. 17 Pieces of Pie interviews the owner of the diner used as Twin Peaks' Double R Diner. While it's somewhat interesting to hear how it has affected her life, it can be skipped.

    If you feel lost in the maze of Twin Peaks, Artisan has also included a helpful directory. Formatted like a rotary phone dial, you can start with Laura Palmer and start drawing connections between her and every other character in the show revealed by the end of Episode 7. (The disc makes that caution, so I felt bound to repeat it.) With the major characters, you can also access extra little interviews and filmographies.

    This hefty package should keep you busy for a while, and will reward the attention. At the very least, it will tide you over until the release of Season 2, which had best be soon. The season ends on a purposely over the top cliff-hanger.

    Twin Peaks: The First Season lists for $59.98, but you can buy it here for $44.98.

    Derek McCaw


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