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Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series (Blu-ray Review)

Twin Peaks was a true cult sensation. The short lived show is probably the biggest such television program since the original Star Trek. It only had life for 2 seasons and almost 30 episodes. Fandom never died on the show, it delivered a film prequel by Lynch himself and was one of the few televisions shows to have a complete series release on VHS. When Netflix rolled out the show, it found a new life with many newcomers entering the world of Twin Peaks. Now, finally, the series received a popular return and Showtime gave the show an completely unfiltered 18 episode run with every single hour directed and written by David Lynch himself. Now, we get the full collection, with a proper and full on “go for broke” Blu-ray set, coming December 5th. 

Series 

Starring Golden Globe winner Kyle MacLachlan (Blue Velvet, Dune), the SHOWTIME 18-part series picks up 25 years after the inhabitants of a quaint northwestern town were stunned by the shocking murder of their homecoming queen Laura Palmer.

Twin Peaks return was indeed itself an event. Launching with 4 episode right off the bat. And like its original airing back in 1990, it was like nothing else on TV. David Lynch wove an 18 episode masterpiece that catalogued everything you love about the artist while also still playing is some sort of recognizable realm of the world he established in Twin Peaks.

Lynch was correct in his warning before the show was to air, that this was more like his feature film prequel of the series, Fire Walk With Me, than it was the show. And right he was. All told, this Limited Series Event feels more catered toward the hardcore David Lynch fan than it does the hardcore Twin Peaks fan. Yes, there is definitely crossover among that bunch and I’m not ruling out anyone who is primarily a Twin Peaks fan, but this is what it is and the Twin Peaks you love and remember is speckled in here and there and even when it does come to the forefront, its not quite how you’ll remember it.

I can imagine some of the Twin Peaks fans finding frustration is watching it, waiting for their old show to happen, but Lynch isn’t interested in bathing in nostalgia. He came back for a reason. He came back because there was a purpose for him, for where he wants this tale and his mind to go. And what David Lynch does is put stuff on your TV screen that no one else is doing and a lot of networks would never dare to do. Witness, the arthouse masterpiece that is Part 8 of this series. EVERYONE was talking about it. Everyone had thoughts, everyone was entranced, everyone was like “I’m not sure WTF this is, but I love it!”.

We do get returning cast members, but some are there on little regular supporting turns (Andy, Lucy, Hawk) and some take some time and aren’t there all too much (Big Ed, Audrey Horne). Our one constant performer is Kyle MacLachlan, recognizable as Agent Dale Cooper, but he’s not really playing Agent Dale Cooper for the majority of this series. One’s reality is all sorts of jumbled here. But that’s the joy of it. I’m also of the kind that takes joy in watching Lynch play the audiences patience in many regards as it truly is some sick humor he has. This thing is also LOADED with guest stars and new faces to the series. All of them very good and interesting. And surprisingly, Naomi Watts played quite a bigger role in this than I was expecting. But you get everyone from known performers Amanda Seyfried and Jennifer Jason Leigh to cult favorites like Derek Mears and Meg Foster.  My favorite little pop up may have been the brilliant little cameo from Michael Cera.

The previous seasons and movie aside, Twin Peaks: A Limited Series Event stands proudly on its on as an interesting work of art. It truly stands as a whole. If you’re wondering where I’m at on that ending everyone was talking about, I’m on the side that loved it and am truly satisfied if that is where the series comes to a close. The only way I want more Twin Peaks is if David Lynch truly wants more Twin Peaks. There are enough piece throughout to find closure or solutions to the ending of this. What attracts me to David Lynch and filmmakers like him, is that they get my brain working and give me plenty of credence to form thoughts that hopefully similar to their own. And the fact that we have this piece of art released into the world to sit and discuss for days upon end, like we did following the finale of Season 2 and again with Fire Walk With Me, means both Lynch and Twin Peaks truly lived up to what it is. Those bummed about it and wanting something more to give a spoon-fed answer to it should realize that while you may get that, you’ll be drawn into far more questions and another closing in similar fashion.  The ending of Twin Peaks (If it holds), is brilliant.

Parts

Parts 1 and 2 as well as 3 and 4 Also Available To Play In A Combined Feature-Length Presentation

Part 1: My Log Has A Message For You

Part 2: The Stars Turn and Time Presents Itself

Part 3: Call For Help

Part 4: …Bring Back Some Memories

Part 5: Case Files

Part 6: Don’t Die

Part 7: There’s A Body All Right

Part 8: Gotta Light?

Part 9: This Is The Chair

Part 10: Laura Is The One

Part 11: There’s Fire Where You Are Going

Part 12: Let’s Rock

Part 13: What Story Is That, Charlie?

Part 14: We Are Like The Dreamer

Part 15: There’s Some Fear in Letting Go

Part 16: No Knock, No Doorbell

Par 17: The Past Dictates The Future

Part 18: What Is Your Name?

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Showtime’s live presentation (As seen on my Comcast HD) was rather disappointing most nights, with crushing blacks, ghosting and an overall smeary kind of look. Thanks to this Blu-ray, none of that is an issue. The picture is crisp, sharp, vivid and full of great details. Its pretty much a perfect picture quality that also carries good blacks, colors and textures. The only improvement would come with a bump to 4K.

Depth:  Good separation here between foreground and background. Its not super 3D, but its not intended to be that way to begin with. Its a strong, spaced out looking picture with natural movements and no distortion coming with faster movements.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and rich. Shadows and darkness comes through nicely but with details still holding on and being intact. No crushing witnessed during this viewing.

Color Reproduction: Colors are lovely here, especially on things like Dougie’s green jacket and some of the modernized old suburb tones. There’s a great palette here even in the more darker and lifeless sequences.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and maintain consistency from the start to the finish. Facial features are perfect clear and detailed in most any shot.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD

Subtitles: English SDH

Dynamics: Part of the fun with a David Lynch experience is the sound and this 5.1 track does not disappoint. All the weird nuances and ear crushing sounds are welded quite well and playfully into this mix for the maximum impact.  Sound effects are really distinct, layered and carry a lot of dynamics to little bits, to loud, bolstering intentional distortions.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: Gunfire, punches, buzzing, jumps and plenty more pound on the subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation: Sounds are playfully scattered in the front and back. A lot of the action carries out up front. Screen to sound travel and volume placement is accurate.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are crisp and clear.

Extras 

Twin Peaks: A Limited Series Event is an 8 Blu-ray disc set. Bonus features are located on discs 1, 2, 7 and 8. It does not come with a digital copy.

Disc 1

Series Promos Produced By David Lynch (HD, 5:44) – These are short little, very Lynch-esque commercials for the show that would run via the internet or Showtime leading up to the return.

  • Piano
  • Donut
  • Woods
  • Places
  • People
  • Albert
  • In Cinema

Twin Peaks: The Phenomenon (HD, 14:26) – This is a more reflective look back at the series with some of the cast, Lynch and production as well as some talking heads like Damon Lindeloff. Its a more basic celebration of the series that goes over when it air, the cult following that came after and its return. These obviously were Showtime created promos that ran before the show came back.

  • Part 1: Creation
  • Part 2: Life After Death
  • Part 3: Renaissance

Disc 2

Comic-Con 2017: Twin Peaks Panel (HD, 1:01:33) – The full panel from the 2017 Comic-Con this past summer moderated by Damon Lindelof that includes Don Murray, Matthew Lillard, Everett McGill, James Marshall, Kimmy Robertson, Dana Ashbrook, Tim Roth, Naomi Watts, and Kyle MacLachlan. David Lynch isn’t there, but he has a short video introduction that is included in its natural form and not just some video that’s being taken of a screen in Hall H.

Disc 7

Crew List (HD, 4:02)

A Very Lovely Dream: One Week In Twin Peaks (HD, 27:10) – An interesting piece, captured in September of 2015, that features a lot of on-set behind the scenes filming of scenes set in Twin Peaks.  It features some narration via audio interviews with the returning cast and crew members that have worked with David Lynch. We get a feel for what things were like then and how it has become what it is now as we weave from places like the police station to the diner and more.

Richard Beymer Films

  • A Note From Richard Beymer – On screen text featuring a little introduction from Beymer, who play Ben Horne on the show, about these films. 
  • Behind The Red Curtain (HD, 29:23) – This is a pretty loose group of footage revolving around shooting in the Red Room that involves building the sets, planning shots, discussions, shooting scenes and just gives you an all around feel of being right here.
  • I Had Bad Milk In Dehradun (HD, 28:13) – Pretty much another half hour of the same type of footage as the “Behind The Red Curtain” short film.

Rancho Rosa Logos (HD, 2:22) – SSIA. Really

Behind-The-Scenes Photo Gallery (HD)

Disc 8

Impressions: A Journey Behind The Scenes Of Twin Peaks (HD, 4:51:07) – A lengthy, full on look at the production of the film with lots of raw, on-set footage featuring the interaction of various cast and crew as well as David Lynch directing. It covers many of the sets and characters of the show and includes lots of footage people wrapping. Its put together in a very Lynchian way with each having a little intro, so some musical interludes and a lot more to keep it interesting.  You really get a feel for working with Lynch, planning with Lynch and doing many more aspects of one of his productions. Yes, this is VERY long and probably isn’t doable for many for one sitting, but it is segmented into parts that hold on their own.

  • The Man With The Gray Elevated Hair
  • Tell It Martin
  • Two Blue Balls
  • The Number Of Completion
  • Bad Binoculars
  • See You On The Other Side Dear Friend
  • Do Not Pick Up Hitchhikers
  • A Bloody Finger In Your Mouth
  • The Polish Accountant
  • A Pot Of Boiling Oil

Summary 

Twin Peaks: A Limited Series is not only one hell of a series, it makes for one hell of a set, too. Fans of the series should be more than enthused with the countless hours of raw footage, interviews, behind the scenes looks, peering into the mind of David Lynch and more. Content here is pretty colossal. Let’s not forget the clever packaging. Its also coupled with a fantastic video transfer and great audio. This is one of the best programs of the year and now has become easily one of the best Blu-ray releases of the 2017 calendar year.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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