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“She’s dead…wrapped in plastic…”
That chilling opening line changed television forever when ‘Twin Peaks’ debuted on the ABC network in 1990. Filmmaker David Lynch (‘Blue Velvet’) applied his auteur style to the series that took place in a sleepy Pacific Northwest town. The show revolved around the mysterious death of high school student Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), and the seedy underworld and paranormal evil that brought about her demise.
The show mixed surreal dream imagery along with oddball humor thanks to characters like The Log Lady (Catherine Coulson) and Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), known just as much for his love of coffee and cherry pie as his dogged, detective skills. It also popularized the “serial” format. Beforehand television series had self-contained episodes, but ‘Peaks’ required sequential viewing, which is now de rigueur for TV dramas.
While the show only lasted two seasons, it spawned a rabid cult audience, whose devotion to the source material is largely responsible for it’s upcoming revival.
So if you’re looking for other shows influenced by ‘Twin Peaks’, let’s take a look at several, including ‘ True Detective’, ‘The Killing’, and ‘The X-Files.’
This series produced by former actor Shaun Cassidy (‘The Hardy Boys’) also dealt with mystical goings on in a small town, but with an occult twist.
Young Caleb Temple (Lucas Black) is determined to stop Sherriff Lucas Buck (Gary Cole), a sexual predator with supernatural powers who slaughtered Temple’s family. The mysterious bond they share created a layer of gripping horror and tension.
Equal parts murder mystery and character study, this tale of two Louisiana detectives investigating an occult murder of a teenage girl is expertly paced, beautifully filmed, and features award worthy performances from leads Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson.
The American remake of Danish series ‘Forbrydelsen’ focused on the murder of teenager Rosie Larson in rain swept Seattle. Obsessed detectives Linden (Mirielle Enos) and Holder (Joel Kinnamon) leave no stone unturned in their quest for justice, but they must wade through political corruption and organized crime to discover the ugly truth.
“The truth is out there.” That tagline served as the mission statement for F.B.I. agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) investigating cases of the paranormal and extraterrestrial variety. The show’s mix of sci-fi and horror combined with creepy imagery made for appointment viewing (the series will return in 2015).
This massively popular mob drama’s gritty style doesn’t scream out “Twin Peaks” at first notice, but creator David Chase borrowed Lynch’s dream imagery when staging the nightmares of lead character Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini).
This Great Depression era dark fantasy series tells the story of Ben Hawkins (Nick Stahl) a young man with healing powers who travels with a carnival freak show. He’s locked into a fateful clash with a deranged preacher (Clancy Brown) with the power to manifest evil. While the two don’t physically meet until the series finale, they communicate through bizarre visions and dreams.
Louie C.K.’s series details his life as a comedian, but it doesn’t follow the sit-com format. It punctuates black humor with elements of surrealism. C.K.’s Lynch influence looms so large, that he featured the director himself in several episodes.
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