Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Seriously, Queue This Up!

Amber West and I are back with Netflix on this week’s Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday.  Courtesy of all the programs that television has to offer, we’ve got a few more series that are definitely worthy of queuing up! 

I’m taking a trip down memory lane and recommending one of, if not the greatest television Whodunit mysteries of our time: Twin Peaks.

Remember Dallas’ ever-so famous mystery back in 1980: Who shot J.R.?

How about 1984’s Wendy’s slogan: Where’s the beef?

The 1990’s wasn’t far behind with its very own unique conversation starter: Who killed Laura Palmer?

Created by David Lynch and Mark Frost, Twin Peaks first aired April 8, 1990.  The series opened with the beautiful scenery of fictional town, Twin Peaks, Washington with the peaceful song “Falling” performed by Julee Cruise playing in the background. 

And then the hook – a teenage girl’s dead body is found wrapped tightly in clear plastic on the bank of the town’s river.  The sheriff and town doctor arrive only to identify the body as Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), the local homecoming queen.

News of Laura’s death quickly spreads across Twin Peaks.  We see the devastation the news brings to her mother (Sarah Palmer played by Grace Zabriskie) and father (Leland Palmer played by the great Ray Wise).  Both of Laura’s parents suffer some sort of breakdown – Leland sporadically breaks into song and dance and his hair turns white overnight, while Sarah begins seeing psychic visions of a white horse and a long-haired man. 

We also watch Laura’s high school classmates cry when the announcement pours through the loud-speaker.  Sadness sweeps through the school, and the crazy begins.  For example, Laura’s boyfriend, Bobby, begins howling like a dog – and this is just episode one. 

Everyone loved Laura. 

Or did they?

Making matters worse, this small town encounters another young girl walking aimlessly along the rail road tracks.  She’s badly injured and in shock.  Are the two incidents related?

Enter FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan). Agent Cooper is a very special, or shall I say odd, individual.  His peculiarities fit right in with the bizarre townsfolk of Twin Peaks, but more on those individuals later.  When satisfied, he enjoys giving a thumbs up, he loves a good piece of pie and cup of coffee, and he constantly records case notes into his microphone addressing someone named Diane.  Quirkiness aside, Agent Cooper is one heck of an investigator. 

Together, Agent Cooper and Sheriff Harry S. Truman (Michael Ontkean) begin investigating the two cases.  What happened to Ronette Pulaski, the girl found wandering the same morning Laura’s body was discovered, and who killed Laura Palmer?

Almost immediately, they learn that Laura is not quite who she appeared to be.  Everyone knew she was dating the football star, Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook), but only her best friend, Donna Hayward (originally played by Lara Flynn Boyle, and later by Moira Kelly), knew that Laura was also seeing supposed bad-boy, James Hurley (James Marshall).

Next, Agent Cooper and Sheriff Truman discover that not only was Laura in the middle of a love triangle with the teenage boys, she was also working as a prostitute for Leo Johnson (Eric Da Re) and Jacque Renault (Walter Olkewicz).

The twists and turns don’t stop there.  It seems every single person in the small town of Twin Peaks has some secret of their very own.  Well, if not a secret, they are so weird that they can’t be excluded from the investigation (like the lady who carries around a log as if it’s a child).  The cast of characters in Twin Peaks is one of the best ensembles I’ve ever had the privilege of seeing on television, that’s for sure.  And the acting skills? Simply superb.

Characters and appearances include: Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Miquel Ferrer, Kiefer Sutherland, Billy Zane, Chris Isaak, Piper Laurie, Everett McGill, Peggy Lipton, Heather Graham, Ian Buchanan, and David Duchovny

Twin Peaks also introduced a young and talented cast.  In addition to Laura, Donna, Bobby, and James, alumni also include the beautiful Sherilyn Fenn (Audrey Horne) and Madchen Amick (Shelly Johnson).   The female cast was so hot that even Rolling Stone Magazine featured them on the 1990 College Special.

The success of the television series spawned numerous Emmy and Golden Globe Awards.  It also prompted a prequel motion picture, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, and book stores sold The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer (I have that somewhere…). 

Twin Peaks can only be described now as a cult classic

Lynch and Frost’s masterful whodunit mystery kept me on the edge of my seat week in and week out in the early ‘90s; therefore, I’d be remiss to not give Twin Peaks a GTV rating.  When viewers learn who the murderer actually is, it’s shocking.  One can also get lost watching the colorful characters like Ed’s crazy patch-wearing wife who thinks she’s still in high school. 

The plot, characters, and conflict of Twin Peaks are unlike anything on television today.

If asked what my favorite television program of all time, I’d say Twin Peaks.  I may be dating myself a bit, but I proudly own the entire series on VHS.  Of course, I no longer have a working VHS player in the house….but I sometimes am lucky enough to find Twin Peaks marathons on Chiller. 

And, as much as I love Twin Peaks, I have to tell you that the series lost its flare once the murder of Laura Palmer was solved.  But, regardless, it’s only 30 episodes – so I highly recommend you Queue It Up!

This is Psych, not Twin Peaks. See the similarities?

The USA Network’s hit television series, Psych, honored Twin Peaks last year in probably my favorite episode: “Dual Spires”.  James Roday outdid himself writing the episode: he perfected the oddities of the characters from Lynch’s bizarre murder mystery; he mimicked the eerie music and peculiar dancing to a “T”; and, he incorporated a few of the Twin Peaks iconic elements such as the dead girl’s body wrapped in plastic found by the water, the diner, the log lady, the caged bird, and the pie.  

Even better yet, Psych cast a few of the Twin Peaks alumni for the episode: Sheryl Lee (Laura Palmer), Dana Ashbrook (Bobby Briggs), Ray Wise (Leland Palmer), and Sherilyn Finn (Audrey Horne). 

Walter channeling Dr. Jacoby

Fox’s Fringe has also paid homage to Twin Peaks.  Walter Bishop has worn Dr. Jacoby’s famous glasses with one red lens and one blue lens, and he also dated the actress who played Josie Packard (Joan Chen) in one episode. 

Flipping back to the USA Network, White Collar also hosted a few Twin Peaks veterans this year: Dana Ashbrook and Madchen Amick. 

If so many current day television programs honor Twin Peaks, shouldn’t you at least check it out?  Seriously, queue it up!

So, how about you – did you watch Twin Peaks?  Did you figure out the mystery or were you surprised?  What is your favorite aspect of the series – the mystery, the unique characters, or the constant intermingling of character conflicts?  Are you a David Lynch fan?  I’d love to hear from you! *Please try not to give away any spoilers here for those who haven’t watched it yet *

Now click over to Amber’s blog and see why she recommends everyone queue up BBC’s Sherlock!   

Come back next week when Amber and I review a few of our favorite FOX programs returning this fall – House & Bones.

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.  We’re currently working on our September schedule and would love to chat with you!

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech

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36 Replies to “Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Seriously, Queue This Up!”

  1. Thanks for the chance to reminisce about Twin Peaks this morning! I was full-on obsessed with that show when it aired. It provided great bonding time with friends as well because for those of us who watched it, we couldn’t stop talking about it. I was definitely surprised by the reveal (and perhaps a little confused), but it was still satisfying. And like you said, once that was solved, the show definitely just got strange. It was strange before, but at least it seemed for more of a reason!

  2. I’ve never seen an episode of Twin Peaks, but I’ve heard so much about it. I think you’ve got me sold with this blog post, lol. Need to go dig into my Netflix (then find time to actually watch something I get from Netflix!)

    1. I can’t express how much I loved that episode of Psych. I mean, I always love Psych. James Roday and the other writers do such a wonderful job referencing all things ’80s, and I’m a huge child of the ’80s. But, with Twin Peaks, they mastered it. I teared up and got goose bumps multiple times while watching Dual Spires. I wanted to watch it over and over again. I know, I’m a huge dork – but it was so well done. I couldn’t not mention it here…. 🙂

  3. Ok, I just went to Amazon and they have the Twin Peaks Complete Series Gold Box Edition for only $50.99! (Reg. $89.98). I’m THIS close to clicking “buy”. I loved Twin Peaks! It’s definitely one of my favorite shows. Thank you SO much for reminding me. I’m off to Amazon now….

  4. Dude! Twin Peaks is a true favorite. I used to own the VHS tapes but stupidly sold them for $100 when the DVDs started coming out. Then, they only released Season 1, and that was all that was available for years. Now, all the seasons have been released on DVD. Only thing is, you have to get the Gold Edition to the get the pilot…or buy the pilot separately if you’re going buy Seasons 1 & 2 separately.

    Twin Peaks was the first “soap opera” prime time TV show I got into. (Dallas and Dynasty were totally off my radar.) I mean, the deeper you got into the town, the more secrets you discovered. And, yes, the solution to the murder was shocking AND the show devolved after it was solved. I loved Fire Walk With Me, and I used to have the Diary of Laura Palmer. Did you know there is a Twin Peaks convention in Washington every year? We thought about going to it one year. 😀

    I’m also a big David Lynch fan. Wild at Heart and Blue Velvet are probably my favorites, but I’ve seen them all. 😀

    1. I’d like to think that my complete set of VHS tapes is a collector’s item now. I’ve given many tapes away over the years, but I can’t seem to part from my Twin Peaks series. Player or no player. 🙂

      I was actually honored when one of my beta readers comparing my WIP to Twin Peaks….if I can accomplish half of the mystery David Lynch had with this cult classic, I will be proud of my work.

      Thanks for stopping by, Catie!

  5. I have never heard of Twin Peaks but will definitely check it out. Hubby and I have a camp in the middle of nowhere and are always looking for amazing TV series that we can spend a weekend curled up and watching. The last one we did was LOST and we loved it! Edge of your seat mystery! Twin Peaks sounds right up our alley.
    Thank you TV guru – you…are my TV hero! 🙂

  6. I was in England when Twin Peaks came out and by the time I got home, it was such a huge phenom that I felt I lost out on something. You’ve quite piqued my interest and into my netflix queue this will go!

    Love your reviews!

  7. That was such a creepy show! The evidence found on the girl walking at the end of episode1; the traffic lights blowing in the wind on the cable in the night sky; and then – Let’s rrrrRock!
    We still say that around here when we’re being creepy. Just like the midget.

    Eww…. now I need to go put on some Snow White or something to chase away the creepies!

    Loved that show. It could still be going on today if they hadn’t solved the mystery.

    1. I love that almost everything Kyle MacLachlan does now he finds a way to incorporate Agent Cooper. He did it on Sex and the City with a bite of pie when he said, “piece of Heaven,” and he did it on Desperate Housewives every time he took a sip of coffee with his pleased smirk.

      Ah, and the backwards-talking/creepy dancing midget. I can’t believe I didn’t mention him….

      Thanks for stopping by, Pamela!

  8. As you can see by the responses, we agree with you. Twin Peaks was and still is the best show ever produced for television. It had an element for everyone and captured the weirdness and strange characters of my Pacific Northwest. I have a tale or two that echo the atmosphere and people I’ve met over the years, including a murder, a cult, a goat lady, and pie. So I loved it. Thanks, Tiffany.

  9. You forgot Deputy Hawk! Michael Horse was hot and I always looked forward to seeing him on the screen. I really need to get those dvds to watch.

    Did you know there is a Twin Peaks Suite? I didn’t either but here it is:

    It’s gorgeous music.

    1. I love the music! Thank you, Angela! Oh, isn’t it so creepy yet beautiful at the same time? 🙂

      I didn’t forget Hawk; I sadly didn’t mention half of the fun characters including Andy, Lucy, Maddy, the Packards, the Jennings….there are just too many for one blog post! Thanks again for sharing the music. It’s playing on my PC as I type. I’m in Heaven…

  10. You know, I never watched this show in the 90’s. I remember it being on, but I never saw it. Probably because I wanted to watch 90210 or The Simpsons. LOL! Yet another to add to the Netflix queue.

  11. Damn. I’m so old I can remember tuning in (we used to have to do that in the olden days) and watching the first episode. It was brilliantly weird and when they murder was solved it all kind of drifted away. Bit like explaining lost, it’s not quite as exciting as when you don’t really understanding what’s going on. Sherlock’s good too. I saw a few episodes over there last year. It’s brilliant to see 100 year old lines delivered, deadpan, in a modern setting. Thanks for reminding me of the show, (my age I can’t forget!)
    Cheers!

    1. Nigel, I’m so excited that you watched Twin Peaks! You’re exactly right – if someone hasn’t watched it from the very beginning, explaining the story is a lot like attempting to explain Lost – it’s a very difficult task! Thanks for stopping by!

  12. Twin Peaks! In the beginning it was great, and quirky, and I loved it. I was shocked by the id of the murderer, def. I was obsessed with TP at the time, but in the end, because the end was TERRIBLE (IMO), it goes in the bad box with my other spoiled-by-the-end shows.

    So brilliant, and then it just fell off the map. I felt Lynch/ Frost either got bored with TV as a medium, or just didn’t know how to end it.

    But, I agree, totally awesome quirky characters. Always loved Kyle M. And Ray Wise is an amazing actor. His portrayal of the devil in REAPER. was phenomenal.

    1. Liz, I can not tell you how excited I am that you watched REAPER! I did enjoy the show, mainly because Ray Wise is the PERFECT devil! Regarding Twin Peaks, I read somewhere that Lynch didn’t want to resolve the murder of Laura as quickly as he did…..something about he felt forced by the network and regretted it terribly. If that’s the case, the network execs should have left him alone! Thanks so much for stopping by! 🙂

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