Country: United States
Duration: 47 minutes (per episode)
The Twin Peaks (1990-91) series cannot be compared to anything else in the history of television, probably because it is the unique product of the idiosyncratic David Lynch who has developed a highly distinctive directorial style over the course of his career.
His films can only be compared to his other films.
The cult classic Twin Peaks, like the rest of his oeuvre, humorously plays with appearance and reality. Lynch introduces a sinister undercurrent to the picturesque landscape of Twin Peaks, a small town in the Pacific North-West. This manifests in strange, supernatural occurrences and the disconcerting murder of a beautiful high-school student, the now iconic “Laura Palmer”, whose drowned body washes up one morning on the shores of a lake.
The plot centres on the investigation of Laura Palmer’s murder and Kyle MacLachlan is superb as the very unorthodox FBI agent “Dale Cooper” who is sent to cover the case. His police work, like much else in the Twin Peaks microcosm, can only be described as bizarre. Instead of using forensics and interrogation to solve the mystery, Agent Cooper interprets his dreams instead.
Twin Peaks is mostly a parody of mawkish soap operas. The characters display limited depth and range and the dialogue is often simplistic and schmaltzy.
It’s hilarious, but not in a laugh out loud way. It wryly amuses you throughout and occasionally startles too with surreal elements – very much David Lynch’s style.
Twin Peaks is an incredible aesthetic achievement, fusing together many different cinematic genres to create experimental yet accessible art that has proved timeless.
The Graduate (1967) Director: Mike Nichols
“Mrs Robinson, are you trying to seduce me?”
An witty exploration of the confusion of youth, portrayed with comic brilliance by Dustin Hoffman, who plays “Benjamin Braddock” a recent graduate who begins an aimless, wandering existence when he returns home from university to live with his parents. Anne Bancroft plays the legendary “Mrs Robinson”, a family friend who approaches Benjamin with a very indecent proposal.
The accompanying musical soundtrack by Simon and Garfunkel is a significant work of art in its own right.
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Twin Peaks (1990)
Created by David Lynch
A surrealist masterpiece from director David Lynch, who has made quite a name for himself with his dreamlike cinematic imaginings.
Kyle Maclachlan stars as FBI special agent Dale Cooper, who is sent to the Washington town of Twin Peaks to investigate the bizarre murder of Laura Palmer, a popular high school student.
In the process, he transgresses all the laws of space and time.
Mad Men (2007)
Created by Matthew Weiner
Another fantastic series on Netflix, that goes some way to proving the claim that the best cinema is, in fact, on television these days.
Executed with sublime visual splendour, Mad Men tracks the rise and fall of charismatic ad man Don Draper, during the turbulent 1960s in America.
Also see: The Best of 90’s Nostalgia