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Reviews & Ratings for
"Twin Peaks" Pilot (1989)

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40 out of 41 people found the following review useful:

Hawk, Would You Please Put on the Kitchen Mittens

10/10
Author: David H. Schleicher from New Jersey, USA
26 July 2003

I was ten years old when this show premiered on TV. I had a hot to trot fourth grade teacher who was fresh out of college (I had the biggest crush on her---oh, Ms. Beckett, where are you now?) who would come in the morning after an episode aired and share all the details with the advanced reading group I was in. THIS WAS IT. This was the greatest TV show ever made. I don't know how I talked my parents into letting me watch it (a few episodes involving BOB gave me nightmares), but since then I've rewatched it over and over and over again. Mystery, soap opera antics, mumbo jumbo, log ladies, midgets, damn fine coffee, cherry pie, cliffhangers and the best music ever composed for a TV series made the first season (which was HUGE in the ratings, and only seven episodes long as it was a mid-season replacement) the most memorable of any TV show in history. The second season got darker and weirder (which led to a drop in ratings, time slot shifts, and naturally more drops in the ratings). After the producers were forced by the network to solve the murder of Laura Palmer half way through the season (and what a f*** you to the powers to be that revelation was), wild soap opera antics ensued as a cover up for one of the most labyrinthine mythologies ever conceived (I'll take the agents of the Black and White Lodges over aliens and government conspiracies any day), and Lynch left the die-hard fans who clung on to the very end one doozy of a cliffhanger in the very last episode (WHERE'S ANNIE?).

After turning my friends on to Lynch with "Mulholland Drive" (which was ironically a failed TV pilot turned into a brilliant cinematic f*** you to the same powers that be that tried to ruin Peaks) they can't believe it when I tell them he made a TV show back when we were kids. "That must've been weird," they say. Oh, it was, weirder and more wonderful and brilliant than you could ever imagine.

Without this show there never would've been "The X-Files", "Northern Exposure", "Picket Fences" or the idea that TV could be thrilling, ground-breaking, quirky, and weird. Also recommended: Lynch's mind-boggling film prequel "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me" that confounds beautifully and raises more questions than answers, "Blue Velvet" (the precursor to Peaks), and of course "Mulholland Drive."

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25 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

as good as TV gets

10/10
Author: Christian_alternakid from Nürnberg, Germany
6 May 2001

Twin Peaks is unique in every way. It is almost unbelievable that a series so near-perfect and daring like Twin Peaks could be shown in nationwide TV. David Lynch didn't sell-out as he turned to the small screen, instead he took TV to new forms: never before and after have I seen a TV series that made such a lasting impression. I love each and every character, the brillant dialogues, the beautiful cast (Lara Flynn Boyle! Kyle MacLachlan!) and - best of all - a storytelling so absurd, obscure and perfect that you can only wonder how they made it. Its not only my favourite TV series, it has some of the best scenes ever filmed (the second murder, BOB, etc). And BOB scared me to death, ten years ago and also nowadays - I've seen the Twin Peaks Series now 5 times in its entirety and it is as good as the first time.

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21 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

Too much for mainstream America's TV?

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
3 July 2002



When Laura Palmer is murdered in the quiet town of Twin Peaks, the similarities to another murder brings the involvement of the FBI in the form of Agent Dale Cooper. Cooper teams up with Sheriff Truman to help catch the killer. However using Cooper's less than conventional methods they find a mysterious world of goings on in the small town leading as far as drugs, deceit and demons.

David Lynch's television series falls somewhere between the themes of his films without the 18-rated content and a bit of a failure. Since Lynch's films don't get multiplex audiences it's perhaps surprising that this series was so successful (apart from being cancelled of course!). Lynch's look at oddities etc in normal life and his themes of things being wrong just behind the picket fences (see also Blue Velvet) come through well, as does his eye for quirky characters. Each episode had a cliff hanger of sorts although sometimes the plot spun wildly out of control. The actually twists in the identity of the killer and certainly the overall ending was maybe too much for mainstream America to deal with in a TV show but most of this is pure Lynch.

The performances are all good and link with his quirky vision well. Lynch favourite Kyle MacLachlan is good as Cooper while the rest of the cast are made up by TV actors on the whole who manage to hold a small town, TV drama feel to the whole thing that makes it feel that little bit more uncomfortable when the weirdness comes. Small roles from the likes of Miguel Ferrer, Lynch etc add interest.

Overall this is a long Lynch movie. Demons, drugs, weird characters all in a normal picket fence community. Very enjoyable if a little to much to last several series. Depending on how you feel about it the ending is either a superb place to leave it as it shows the power of evil, or a huge let down. I liked it myself.

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13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

the finest hour of television-ever!

10/10
Author: talel_bj from Berlin, Germany
21 April 2006

i was only six years old when twin peaks premiered in Germany (it was no hit, by the way), but i did remember the huge a hype surrounding it at first. years later i stumbled upon it at a video store and rented the first season. i think the two-hour pilot of twin peaks is a masterpiece.

the characters and the atmosphere, the enigmatic power of laura palmer, my TV was dripping from magic. i think the show (and the resolution of her murder) never lived up to the pilot, but i still think that David lynch really proved his genius with this pilot episode. i could watch over and over again.

later on the show got confusing (well, surprise it's lynch) but you must rent the first season of this.

brilliant!!!

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11 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Probably one of the best series ever...

10/10
Author: Tonkat from Amsterdam, Netherlands
1 April 2006

This series catches you or it doesn't. If it does, it will probably remain with you for the rest of your life. I love all the characters (I even watched other movies they played in, hoping it would contain some of Twin Peaks' magic.), the music, the surroundings, the plots, the coffee and doughnuts, everything! If Twin Peaks really existed I would have emigrated to it years ago already...

I have season one on DVD for a couple of years now, but still haven't found season two being released. I really hope it will be, because my video tapes won't last much longer from excessive watching. ;)

David, isn't it time to open the lodge again and show us what happened 25 years later?

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14 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Mystery, Murder, Mayhem, Mysticism...With Pie and Coffee to Go!

9/10
Author: Christopher T. Chase (cchase@onebox.com) from Arlington, VA.
26 July 2003

With the exception of THE X-FILES, (which owes a great debt to this series, as well as several others,) no other series stimulated, captivated, obsessed and infuriated me more than TWIN PEAKS. I got the impression that by the end of its run, somewhere the great Alfred Hitchcock was nodding and smiling in approval. Of all the McGuffins ever perpetrated by filmmakers since Hitch came along, David Lynch and Mark Frost pulled off perhaps one of the greatest that ever became a TV show. And in the process, they reminded us that not all great actors are blond, blue-eyed and buffed to perfection.

Lynch cast his BLUE VELVET protégé, Kyle MacLachlan, as the quirky but diligent Agent Dale Cooper, investigating the brutal murder of town Teen Queen Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee). Yet, just as he showed us in VELVET, nothing is at all what it seems on the surface, and if you dare to look closer, you can find the truth about fantasy and reality, as well as the fragile curtain that separates them both...if your mind can take it!

IMNSHO, once the murderer of Laura Palmer was finally revealed, that's when the whole thing should've ended. This would've made the quintessential "limited-run" series in that case. But here's where Lynch and Frost became magicians...and started pulling dead, mutilated rabbits out of their collective hat. The more questions that were answered about Laura's death, the more other questions, other mysteries were uncovered...and the Great McGuffin was on!

Looking back now, I still get a little miffed when I recall how the whole series finally "ended," (but not really.) But more importantly, was I entertained nevertheless? I'd have to concur with that and vote a definite yes.

Besides, it was a great proving ground for some budding talent behind the camera, most of whom are still with us today, and still working. And what a rich gold mine of talent on the other side. In fine, Lynchian fashion, we got glimpses of some of the best character artists and new young talent not yet found or rediscovered in Hollyweird. We witnessed the return of Michael Ontkean, Piper Laurie, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn and Peggy Lipton, amongst others. Besides MacLachlan, we got intimate with such great players as Michael Horse, Kimmy Robertson, Everett McGill, Warren Frost, Wendy Robie, Ray Wise, Don Davis and even Mr. Lynch himself.

We made the acquaintance of new talents like Dana Ashbrook, Gary Hershberger, James Marshall, Joan Chen and Eric DaRe, some of whom still appear on our radar from time to time, and some who don't.

We got to meet members of the "Lynch Repertory Players," those actors who would appear in pivotal roles in all of his work to come (and some who had been with him from the very beginning), from the late, great Jack Nance and the enigmatic Michael Anderson, to the irreplaceable Grace Zabriskie as Laura's freaky, psychic mom.

And ah, yes, the Peaks Girls. Lara Flynn Boyle, Madchen Amick, Sherilyn Fenn, and of course, the indispensable Sheryl Lee.

Not to mention Lynch's good-humored nods to "the Warhol rule," where such unlikely actors as Catherine Coulson (The Log Lady) and Frank Silva (Killer Bob) gained temporary notoriety, and eternal fame as some of the best Trivial Pursuit subjects ever.

And those guest stars. David Patrick Kelley. Heather Graham. Miguel Ferrer. And even in a brief cameo as a transvestite who just happened to be an FBI agent, some very game young actor by the unlikely name of David Duchovny.

With the release of the pilot episode to supplement the boxed set, we finally have it all...the Complete Experience. I could never stay mad at David and Mark for very long, and I have a taste for some cherry pie and coffee the way I like it...DAMN good. And HOT!

And my advice to anyone glued to BIG BROTHER 14, JOE MILLIONAIRE MEETS THE BIMBOETTE or EXTREME MONEYGRUBBING...Get to your nearest video store and buy or rent the entire series. Try some "UNreality-TV" for a change.

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11 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

TV phenomenon of 1990

10/10
Author: preppy-3 from United States
31 March 2006

Laura palmer (Sheryl Lee) is found dead--nude and wrapped in plastic. She was born, raised and killed in the town of Twin Peaks. The town sheriff (Michael Ontkean) and FBI Ageny Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) try to find out who killed her...and why. We are then introduced to the interesting...and very bizarre...residents of the town.

Absolutely fascinating. This exploded on TV in 1990 and was a huge hit. It led to the series which (unfortunately) was buried in bad time slots and mismanaged by the network (for instance, director/co-writer David Lynch was never going to tell who killed Laura but the network forced him to come up with a killer leading to a REAL stupid unmasking). Still, it was well ahead of its time and absolutely fascinating. It's like Peyton Place on drugs--or Peyton Place as done by David Lynch.

The opening pilot (which has an alternate ending) was released in Europe as a movie. It's just incredible--beautifully directed with a now classic movie score that perfectly fits the material. It's full of fascinating characters and images and--like most Lynch movies--has plenty of purposely strange moments--but it's never TOO obscure or disgusting (he DID have to keep in TV standards). The characters are full 3-dimensional people--weird perhaps but full characters. Also there are teenagers who (for once) are treated with respect and ACT like teenagers.

The acting is almost great across the board--but Dana Ashbrook, Lara Flynn Boyle, Sherilyn Finn, Ray Wise and James Marshall are especially good. The only bad performances are by Kyle MacLachlan (TOO strange) and Micheal Ontkean (TOO emotionless). Still this is great. Never dull and just beautifully done. A must-see. But if you don't like Lynch you might want to steer clear of this. A 10.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

A True Masterpiece

10/10
Author: dsharp-4 from Australia
25 July 2005

Twin Peaks for me is the pinnacle of television. It is masterfully crafted, superbly acted, and enthralling from the first minute to the very end.

It is a deep, rich story filled with quirky characters and imaginative plot that demands and draws your full attention. It's only failing was finishing too soon, but like many other great TV programs, that only makes the episodes created even more valuable.

Time will show Twin Peaks to be a powerful influence on many subsequent programs, and a masterpiece in it's own right. It's a must see for anyone who appreciates quality television or film.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A great opening to a cult classic

10/10
Author: Tweekums from United Kingdom
29 April 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When this series first aired over twenty years ago I made a mistake; I didn't watch it! Thankfully I caught a repeat of it several years later and discovered just what I'd missed. This pilot episode opens with what became one of television's great mysteries; who killed Laura Palmer? Her body is found by the lakeside, wrapped in plastic. The only clue is a tiny letter 'J' found under one of her fingernails. When a second, who went missing at the same time, is found staggering over the bridge from the neighbouring state FBI agent Dale Cooper turns up to take over the case. It soon becomes apparent that Laura wasn't quite the girl everybody thought; a sachet containing a white powder and a key to a safety deposit box are found hidden in her diary and that box contains two things; a large bundle of cash and a magazine with a picture circled... the picture of a girl murdered elsewhere some time previously. As well as getting the mystery underway we are introduced to a wide variety of characters; most of whom where affected by Laura's death; some where her friends, others knew her family and some are suspects.

This pilot episode had me gripped from the haunting opening to the end; I'm sure I will enjoy watching the rest of the series too. Writer/Director David Lynch did a brilliant job creating a television show that doesn't have a 'made for television' feel to it; Twin Peaks feels like a real place rather than a filming location and the characters have idiosyncrasies that make them believable too. Kyle MacLachlan puts in a fine performance as leading character, FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper and he is ably supported by a fine cast... even if some of them do look a little old to be in high school! I don't normally think to mention the music but here I must mention Angelo Badalamenti's hauntingly beautiful score that permeates the series; I don't think it would be at all the same without it. While we are obviously only beginning to get into the mystery I can't wait to watch more!

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

"Where we're from, the birds sing a pretty song, and there's always music in the air."

10/10
Author: MisterWhiplash from United States
6 December 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Twin Peaks pilot- the original version made by David Lynch (in collaboration with Mark Frost)- was quite different from how it ended up being done on the show's real beginning. I decided before watching the series itself to see the pilot though, with the 'bonus footage' as said on the tape box, and I was glad I did. While in comparison with the show's major revelation(s) in season two it pales, it still provides one huge wallop in its surreal revelations. Bottom line, this is the kind of work you'll either get all the way and totally become absorbed in, or will turn off from fervently. Or, perhaps even, just a milder reaction in comparison to Lynch's other work. I found it to be something very clever and cunning on Lynch's part- it's like the wildest, sliest, and of course with the usual term weirdest take off on TV drama series, the kind that have the ultra melodramatic music and actors practically made for TV. I haven't laughed so hard at a Lynch film possibly, well, ever completely, with the only work coming close being the Cowboy and the Frenchman. It gives random eccentricities in human behavior a good name, while the comedic barbs, as black as the dark side of Lynch's mind goes, stick out excellently through what is actually a compelling, haunting drama...or so we might expect.

Laura Palmer is found dead, and there is an investigation into what happened, the night of, the killer, the circumstances and secrets and very ambiguous bits of information that turn up. That's the bones of this TV pilot, and from here Lynch and Frost concoct an entire village of shattered small-town folk, with the off-kilter outsider FBI agent coming in to investigate (Kyle MacLaughlan in one of his very best performances, with the same sincerity of Blue Velvet but with a brilliant streak of playing dead pan and other expressions). The story may not be totally coherent at times, which is part of the point Lynch has. I could- and will- watch this again for the finer plot details that might have gone over my head the first time around, and they are to be found. But it was also the sort of case where I didn't mind, because there was always something to grab onto with the scenes going by and by. Some lines are classically Lynch, like with the device Cooper talks into ("Diane, I'm holding in my hands a small box of chocolate bunnies", and "I'd rather be here than in Philadelphia"), or when we see the man who happens to own the half of the truck and what he has to say to his woman (and what hair the tough guy has!) and the little bizarre touches that seem so easy and obvious but which makes them all the funnier behind the dire subject matter (like the kid who does a weird movement of some kind across the hall for a moment in the hallway at school).

And even through TV, with its pan & scan format, Lynch is still able to fashion a devilishly stylized picture. Sometimes it's very subtle, like when we see a secret being told from one teen to another outside in the dark, but with the two characters put into such an ominous pose. Or when he reveals the killer- or who may be the killer- and the actual uncovering of him. Although they changed around the pieces of this long-version (which should be judged on its own as, like Mulholland Drive, was intended as a stand-alone in case it didn't get picked up), the way this one ends is makes what 'weirdness' that came before go beyond the limit. The actual revelation of Bob is a little unnecessary despite its frightening pay-off, as the whole fun is seeing this insane mystery having to wedge in logic with the absurdities that pop up. Even so, one of Lynch's most deliriously insane dream sequences (if it even is a dream, it's like Little People Big World meets Stroszek), complete with backwards-forwards dialog and a little dance too. More than any other time during the special I felt a little uneasy and wondered 'why' when I could only answer in kind 'eh, why not'.

Lynch is able to achieve with Twin Peaks his uncanny ability to go far with his digs at small town cooks and the quirks and oddities hidden beneath the small-town normalcy by having the good actors (some cast to type, and all the better for it, like James Marshall and Sherilyn Fenn and Jack Nance's bit especially) to pull it off, and by making it both not always self-consciously hilarious in satire/the randomness of absurdism with the occasional wildly surreal touch, and a very believable dramatic effort that skirts past the usual melodrama with a sense of truth to it. It's not an easy thing to do by any means, even if I could understand how it could be off-putting too. But damned it all if I didn't find it amazing to see one minute a very sorrowful scene of parents finding out the death of their own child, and the next comments that break the tension piercingly. It's not perfect, but it's some of the bravest dark comedy since Dr. Strangelove, and in the unedited form here it should be available for all fans and even first-timers to check out.

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