Secrets from Another Place: Creating Twin Peaks (2007)
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Nice supplement to DVD.
Great documentary that goes into much more detail than previous documentaries on season 1, season 2, and FWWM. Given the time, there's multiple no-holds-barred interviews. Honestly. I revel in it.
What Went Into That Little Town in Washington
Of course, the location they give for the town of Twin Peaks is wrong. As he drives into town in the pilot, Agent Cooper says that it is tucked into the northeast corner of the state, a few miles from the border with Idaho and the Canadian border. To the point that a scene in that selfsame pilot is technically set in Idaho. However, the pilot was filmed in and around North Bend and Snoqualmie, which are on this side of the mountains. A few other bits were filmed in Poulsbo, on the Kitsap Peninsula. Heck, it doesn't even look like Eastern Washington, as star Kyle MacLachlan could tell you; he was born in Yakima and went to school in Seattle. Then again, David Lynch had originally intended the thing to be set in North Dakota, which looks even less like Snoqualmie. These facts and more are the subject of today's film, a documentary that comes with the Gold Edition Complete Series Box Set.
David Lynch had never worked in television before. He got an idea for a show to be called [i]Northwest Passage[/i]. Slowly, this developed into [i]Twin Peaks[/i], filmed in Washington as a pilot without certainty that it would be picked up for a regular schedule. This is why the "European ending" was filmed. However, the pilot was one of the most-watched shows in television. They assure us that, in these days of hundreds of channels, the Super Bowl regularly gets a lower share than the pilot of [i]Twin Peaks[/i]. So the pilot aired, and it became a phenomenon. Everyone involved was kind of taken by surprise, not least the network. It was revolutionary, a new direction for television. It arguably lost its own direction for large amounts of the second season, and it was just beginning to regain its cohesion as a series when it was ignobly cancelled. The network had insisted that it be revealed Who Killed Laura Palmer, and once they did, the ratings plummeted, and that was all the excuse the network needed.
My sister had a [i]Twin Peaks[/i] party once. I wasn't invited, being in eighth grade at the time, but I watched the show just as faithfully as those who were. I remember both sledgehammer episodes--the season finale and the series finale. I remember the shock and horror of discovering exactly who killed Laura, a thing I will not be revealing here. Watch the show yourself; it's worth it. I own [i]The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer[/i], [i]The Autobiography of FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper[/i], [i]The Access Guide to Twin Peaks[/i]. And, yes, the complete series. I even just acquired [i]Fire Walk With Me[/i], which I plan to watch next week some time. I am exactly the kind of person this documentary was made for--the kind of person who has been wondering for twenty years what happened in that bank and if Coop could be saved. And, yes, we all had a crush on Sherilyn Fenn, because how could you not? She was the most beautiful woman in that town full of beautiful women.
Despite that, I found this documentary somehow lacking. Almost everyone interviewed is someone from behind the scenes, including David Lynch's personal assistant. There are a few of the actors, but it's an odd assortment. MacLachlan and Fenn; Sheryl Lee and Ray Wise; Kimmy Robertson and Joan Chen. There is one clip with Don S. Davis, whom I'm pretty sure was dead well before the DVD's release, and Catherine E. Coulson talks about seeing someone wearing a T-shirt with her face on it. Piper Laurie tells of her hesitance about the idea of being on a TV show. There is no mention of the early death of Frank Silva--BOB--or the unfortunate death of Jack Nance. And easily three quarters of the talking is the behind-the-scenes people; I'm not even sure who a few of them were. Even David Lynch doesn't get much in the way of screen time. I suppose the behind-the-scenes stuff is the important stuff, but if no one's going to dish on the most interesting--why Coop and Audrey never hooked up--why bother?
In many ways, we just weren't ready for [i]Twin Peaks[/i]. To this day, people are alternately surly at how long it took to reveal Laura's killer and how there was nothing interesting to the show afterward. The original plan had been that Laura's death would remain unsolved. The whole BOB subplot was worked in because David Lynch liked the look of Frank Silva. Much of what television would become stemmed from [i]Twin Peaks[/i], both in what to do and what not to do. [i]Twin Peaks[/i] shaped television. Unfortunately, it was on a network that didn't know what to do with an unconventional show. [i]Northern Exposure[/i] started on CBS at about the same time; it had much in common, even being filmed not far away. It was allowed to develop, though I think it was missing some of the wild expectations based on just how very successful the [i]Twin Peaks[/i] pilot was. It's a cautionary tale, but it's also one of the best TV shows of the nineties. Possibly of all time.
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