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Twin Peaks:
Definitive Gold Box Edition

At last, it's all here. Whatever the rights problems were, CBS Home Video has sorted them out and we can finally see all of Twin Peaks in its muddy, dense glory. Though the two seasons of this series had previously been available (and reasonably restored), the original two hour pilot setting the whole thing in motion had been missing.

With the "Definitive Gold Box Edition," viewers can finally understand what all the fuss was about, and why ABC blew our minds back in 1990 when this first aired. Mixing exoticism and mystery in warm hues over Angelo Badalamenti's ominous score, this pilot episode set a tone nobody was ready for. Characters comical and strange weave in and out of the deadly serious mystery of who killed Laura Palmer.

And watching Twin Peaks just isn't the same without hearing Jack Nance worriedly bleat, "she's dead. Wrapped in plastic..."

Back in 1990, we also didn't have the internet, so when series creators David Lynch and Mark Frost released the pilot in Europe, word didn't exactly spread how they had spoiled the ending. This Gold Box edition includes both the American and overseas versions, which features a solution similar (but not identical) to where the series eventually went. Though otherwise, unfortunately, the disc doesn't have chapter stops, you can access either version. If you don't want to watch the pilot twice, you can just access the European ending.

Some of the footage from that ending did pop back up in the series in some of the infamous Black Lodge dream sequences. Nothing like that had been on mainstream television before - Michael Anderson's dancing dwarf shimmied into America's unconscious and more people discovered what some fans already knew. David Lynch is one crazy man, and it's fascinating to watch.

That's not an insult. Lynch works on a dream plane that we should only be so lucky to visit. That gets underscored in a featurette reuniting Lynch with two key cast members. Rather than be an awkward studio sitdown, it's Lynch getting lost in reverie over a piece of cherry pie. For a few moments it's unclear whether or not he's going to take it seriously as Kyle MacLachlan and Madchen Amick sit down with him to reminisce.

CBS recycles a few extras from their earlier second season set, but add enough to make it worthwhile - including excerpts from MacLachlan's Saturday Night Live hosting stint. Wait until you've watched at least the first season so you can truly appreciate how dead on the Twin Peaks sketch actually is. Not only do you get a silent cameo from Conan O'Brien, but Phil Hartman did an amazing Ray Wise impersonation.

The only really maddening thing about this set is a packet of commemorative postcards. Randomly inserted, you only get a small selection of a series of 63. But then again, that's just like Twin Peaks to leave us vaguely unsettled and unfinished.

It's not too early to say this one's going on the Fanboy Planet Christmas Gift Guide. And Tom - we can finally watch the whole danged thing.

Twin Peaks - The Definitive Gold Box Edition (The Complete Series)

Derek McCaw

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