Once upon a time there was a television series called TWIN PEAKS that was the most talked about thing on the airwaves. Who killed Laura Palmer was the biggest question around the water cooler, and anywhere else people talked about television. At its zenith, TWIN PEAKS shown like a beacon in the dull sea of mediocrity that was early 1990’s television, then poof- the show burned out in less than two seasons. Despite its short tenure, TWIN PEAKS remains one of the most original, innovative and influential shows in the history of television.
Created by David Lynch and Mark Frost, TWIN PEAKS was a quirky character driven drama that combined elements of the police procedural, with that of film noir and the supernatural. To this day, TWIN PEAKS remains sly, seductive and a highly addictive piece of television entertainment, one whose influence can still be felt on TV shows being produced today. Set in the fictional Washington State town of the show’s title, TWIN PEAKS starts off with the discovery of the plastic wrapped body of popular teenager and homecoming queen, Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee). The murder affects just about everyone in this small community of Twin Peaks- a place where everyone knows everyone else. And in that small town, murder is such an unheard of event, that it proves to be beyond the scope of local law enforcement, which results in the quick arrival of FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), who takes over the investigation from Sheriff Harry S. Truman (Michael Ontkean). Although Agent Cooper appears to be very much the button-down, by-the-book type, his methods are somewhat unorthodox, so he is quickly able to peel away the small town façade to discover the dark underbelly of Twin Peaks, and the even darker double life of the murder victim Laura Palmer.
Paragraphs could be devoted to the characters that inhabit the fictional world of TWIN PEAKS, but why anyone would want to read about them, when they could be watching the show is beyond my comprehension. The extensive ensemble cast of TWIN PEAKS features Richard Beymer, Lara Flynn Boyle, Sherilyn Fenn, Warren Frost, Michael Horse, Harry Goaz, Mädchen Amick, Dana Ashbrook, Peggy Lipton, Jack Nance, Everett McGill, Piper Laurie, James Marshall, Kimmy Robertson, Eric DaRe, Wendy Robie, Joan Chen, Ray Wise, Russ Tamblyn, Don S. Davis, Chris Mulkey, Gary Hershberger, Grace Zabriskie, Catherine E. Coulson, Frank Silva, Ian Buchanan, Mary Jo Deschanel, Kenneth Welsh, Al Strobel, David Patrick Kelly, Miguel Ferrer, Heather Graham, Robyn Lively, Dan O'Herlihy, David Lynch, Billy Zane, Carel Struycken, David Duchovny, Walter Olkewicz, Jane Greer, David Warner, Royal Dano, Clarence Williams III and Ted Raimi. Please note: The series episodes are unnamed and are only identified by number.
CBS/Paramount Home Entertainment has made all twenty-nine episodes, plus the original pilot that comprise TWIN PEAKS: THE DEFINITIVE GOLD BOX EDITION ($100), available on DVD in the proper full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. For a series from the early 1990s, all I can say about the presentations is WOW! The clarity and detail in the image is very impressive for a television production from this period. Colors are generally very well saturated and rendered with near complete stability. Flesh tones are pretty appealing and fairly natural. Blacks are deep, and the whites are clean. Contrast is somewhat beyond what one should expect at television level, especially from this time frame. The elements from which the episodes are in very good shape, with occasional minor blemishes being the worst of it. Film grain can be heavy in individual shots, but usually is held in check. Digital compression artifacts are always well contained.
All the episodes that comprise TWIN PEAKS: THE DEFINITIVE GOLD BOX EDITION come with Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtracks. The mixes are absolutely first rate, although their television origins are apparent. As expected, the forward soundstage remains dominant, with the rear channels providing occasional active effects, ambient sounds, and some musical fill. Fidelity is outstanding, especially where Angelo Badalemnti's music is concerned. Dialogue is cleanly reproduced and is always easy to understand. An English Dolby Surround track has also been provided, as have Spanish and Portuguese monaural tracks. English, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles are also present.
Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard episode selection and set up features, as well the supplemental materials that have been included with the set. Series creator David Lynch is known non-fan of audio commentaries and none are presented here. Featurettes other similar programs include: A Slice Of Lynch, Northwest Passage: Creating The Pilot, Freshly Squeezed: Creating Season 1, Where We're From: Creating The Music, Into The Night: Creating Season 2, Saturday Night Live Featuring Kyle MacLachlan (Monologue and Twin Peaks Sketch) and Return To Twin Peaks. Other supplements include an Interactive Map (8 Pods), a Music Video for the song Falling, Georgia Coffee Commercials (5 Spots), two Image Galleries: The Richard Beymer Gallery Unit Photography & Twin Peaks Trading Cards. Also featured are TV Spots, which include: Premiere Spots (8 Spots), There's No Place Like Home Spot, 1-900 Promo Ad, T-Shirt Ad, Holiday Greeting and Patriot Greeting.
They ain’t lying, the TWIN PEAKS: THE DEFINITIVE GOLD BOX EDITION is pure gold. The episodes look and sound incredible and there is a nice body of supplements to complement the entire series release. Absolutely recommended.
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