Trying to explain why Twin Peaks is the best TV show ever in approximately 200 words is pretty much impossible. Taken at face value there’s really not that much to it: small town Americana, a grisly murder, an FBI agent from the big smoke sent to investigate, paranormal undertones. While the premise is simple enough, writer /director David Lynch (alongside Mark Frost) used those building blocks to create one of the most influential television shows ever screened – a surrealist mix of small town soap opera and police procedural. A show that still holds up remarkably well today, 20 years since it first screened.
Of course it’s all good and well to bang on about how incredible the show is, but that’s not doing anyone any favours. If you haven’t watched it, cancel your weekend plans and go track down the Gold Edition boxset. If you have watched it, here are some facts about the show’s inception and video snippets to remind you why you should watch it again...
David Lynch and co-writer Mark Frost met while working on a screenplay about Marilyn Monroe. That movie never made it to production, but they got along and kept working together.
David Lynch wasn’t much interested in making a television show and his agent, Tony Katz, basically had to beg him to think about it. Eventually Katz took Lynch out to dinner and told him, “You should do a show about real life in America – your vision of America the same way you demonstrated it in Blue Velvet
.” That concept became basis of Twin Peaks.
, 1957 film about the shady lives of characters in a small lumber mill town, was used by Lynch and Frost as the inspiration for the TV series.
Before they did any writing, Lynch and Frost sketched and planned out the entire town. As Lynch later recalled, "We knew where everything was located and that helped us determine the prevailing atmosphere and what might happen there."
Lynch and Frost pitched the idea to ABC in 1988 during a ten minute meeting. They went in with nothing but their map and the concept – they walked out with money to write the pilot script.
The pilot episode was written in just 10 days. ABC agreed to provide $4 million to shoot it.
The show was originally going to be titled Northwest Passage.
Lynch only directed the first two episodes before taking off to shoot Wild At Heart
. There’s a notable drop in quality during the second season and this has been attributed to the absence of both Lunch and Frost alongside interference from the studio. Lynch eventually returned to take control towards the end of the second season (when it gets good again).
FYI, most of these images come from a book titled Northwest Passages
and were shot by Paula K. Shimatsu-u, a publicist for the show.