A series that is rooted so strongly in pop culture that not only is it still fresh in the minds of many but is actually used as a description towards other, similar shows/movies. Of course, it also managed to find its way into "The Simpsons", which did its take on "Peaks" in the "Who Shot Mr. Burns?" episode. "Peaks" ran two seasons on ABC, but the David Lynch/Mark Frost-created series certainly left its impact.
The show starred Kyle MacLachlan as Agent Cooper, a FBI agent called in to investigate the strange murder of homecoming queen Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee). However, once Cooper arrives, he soon realizes that the case is going to be a lot more difficult than he'd expected, as the surreal, bizarre town is not about to give up its secrets so easily.
While the first season of the series was a cultural phenomenon, the second season of the series did not get the same reception. The second season opens with Agent Cooper having been shot and laying on the floor of his hotel room, wounded. He's visited by an old caretaker, who largely pays no mind to him, hanging up the phone. Cooper is then visited by a giant, who offers some cryptic clues to the agent, who manages to make it through the attack.
Soon after, Cooper learns more about the life that Laura Palmer was really leading and finds a second diary that gives him more clues that lead towards the case's eventual resolution part of the way through the season. However, it wasn't over for Cooper, as a new killer arrives and Cooper soon realizes that it's his former partner, Windom Earle (Kenneth Welsh).
"Peaks" does start to wander at times in this second season and the finale leaves things off in rather disappointing fashion with a cliff-hanger, but the series still strikes the senses in a way that few shows have before or after. Bold and boldly weird, the show's best moments still deliver enjoyably twisty storylines and incredibly rich atmosphere and mood.
This set includes the entire series, as well as the international version of the pilot.
VIDEO: The show is presented here in its original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio by Paramount. The presentations (approved by David Lynch, and the original negatives were used) are of excelllent quality. Sharpness and detail are not exceptional, but the presentation at least looks consistently crisp and reasonably detailed, especially considering that the series isn't that far from turning 20. Colors look crisp and natural, with no smearing or other faults. Overall, fans should be pleased, as the show looks its best here.
SOUND: The Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation highlighted Angelo Badalamenti's classic score well and provided clear dialogue.
EXTRAS: The main extra is "Scenes From Another Place", a nearly 2-hour documentary that gives viewers an overview of the production of the series, starting with co-creator Mark Frost talking about how he and Lynch went in to pitch the idea to ABC, who was willing to take a chance on something which, at that time, was called "Northwest Passage". The documentary spends a good chunk of time talking about casting (and the cast does share some fun stories about getting the job), location (Frost and Lynch wandered into a town in Washington that was literally what they had imagined the town would be like that was used for the pilot; future interiors were shot on soundstages) and the reaction to the material. When shooting begins, the cast and crew find themselves facing an extraordinarily bad Winter - but hey, it works for the show.
The series was originally going to be a film (the international pilot is a 90-minute "film" with an actual ending), but while reaction to that was negative, execs - and the cast - were intrigued by what they saw and ordered 7 episodes. After the first episode created an enormous buzz and got hugely unexpected ratings, the cast and crew - who had not long prior wondered if the show would be picked up - found themselves in the midst of a cultural phenomenon - even "Sesame Street" got in on the act with an episode called "Twin Beaks".
Before moving on to a discussion of the second season, we get a portion of the documentary taking a lot at the creation of the music with composer Angelo Badalmenti and others. The second season discussion turns a lot more interesting, as Frost and others try to pinpoint where the series started to go wrong in the second season and why it did. Many say that the mystery of Laura Palmer ended too early - audiences wanted to know, then they were upset when they suddenly did. Some members of the cast and crew became strained under the schedule for a show that was already very difficult to keep together, and network executives were not embracing the series.
"A Slice of Lynch" is a 30-minute discussion over coffee and pie between Lynch and actors Kyle MacLachlan and Madchen Amick, as well as post-production coordinator John Wentworth. This is a funny (especially a moment where Amick has to explain "Baywatch" to Lynch), informal discussion with some great tidbits of information and some good laughs.
Also found on the last disc are MacLachlan's "Saturday Night Live" intro and "Twin Peaks" sketch, as well as a featurette about the "Twin Peaks" festival, an interactive map of Twin Peaks, 5 Japanese "Georgia Coffee" ads featuring "Twin Peaks", 3 image galleries, 5 on-air promos, 4 deleted scenes, production documents gallery, postcards, 6 short "Lucy Bumpers", music video and "Sheriff's Hotline" bits.
Otherwise, as mentioned, we get the 90-minute international pilot (with alternate ending), as well as the "Log Lady Intros". Sadly, the extras from the long out-of-print DVD release of the first season (which included some commentaries) and from the release of the second season (interviews) aren't carried over here. However, what is here - especially the terrific feature-length documentary - is quite good.
Final Thoughts: While not quite as definitive as fans would have liked (it's too bad the extras from the previous sets weren't carried over), this is still a marvelous collection that pulls together the entire series (which looks terrific) and offers some superb new features. Recommended.