Premiered The first season of Twin Peaks
Twin Peaks is an American mystery horror drama television series created by Mark Frost and David Lynch that premiered on April 8, 1990, on ABC. It was one of the top-rated series of 1990, but declining ratings led to its cancellation after its second season in 1991. It nonetheless gained a cult following and has been referenced in a wide variety of media. In subsequent years, Twin Peaks is often listed among the greatest television series of all time.
The series follows an investigation headed by FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) into the murder of homecoming queen Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) in the fictional suburban town of Twin Peaks, Washington. The show's narrative draws on elements of detective fiction, but its uncanny tone, supernatural elements, and campy, melodramaticportrayal of eccentric characters also draw on American soap opera and horror tropes. Like much of Lynch's work, it is distinguished by surrealism, offbeat humor, and distinctive cinematography. The acclaimed score was composed by Angelo Badalamenti with Lynch.
The success of the show sparked a media franchise, and the series was followed by a 1992 feature film, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, that serves as a prequel to the series. Additional tie-in books were also released. Following a hiatus of over 25 years, the show returned in 2017 with a third season on Showtime, marketed as Twin Peaks: The Return. The season was directed by Lynch and written by Lynch and Frost, and starred many original cast members, including MacLachlan.
- Kyle MacLachlan as Special Agent Dale Cooper
- Michael Ontkean as Sheriff Harry S. Truman
- Mädchen Amick as Shelly Johnson
- Dana Ashbrook as Bobby Briggs
- Richard Beymer as Benjamin Horne
- Lara Flynn Boyle as Donna Hayward
- Sherilyn Fenn as Audrey Horne
- Warren Frost as Dr. Will Hayward
- Peggy Lipton as Norma Jennings
- James Marshall as James Hurley
- Everett McGill as Ed Hurley
- Jack Nance as Pete Martell
- Ray Wise as Leland Palmer
- Joan Chen as Jocelyn Packard
- Piper Laurie as Catherine Martell
- Kimmy Robertson as Lucy Moran
- Eric Da Re as Leo Johnson
- Harry Goaz as Deputy Sheriff Andy Brennan
- Michael Horse as Deputy Sheriff Tommy "Hawk" Hill
- Sheryl Lee as Laura Palmer and Madeline "Maddy" Ferguson
- Russ Tamblyn as Dr. Lawrence Jacoby
- Kenneth Welsh as Windom Earle
- Wendy Robie as Nadine Hurley
- Don Davis as Major Garland Briggs
- Chris Mulkey as Hank Jennings
- Gary Hershberger as Mike Nelson
- Grace Zabriskie as Sarah Palmer
- Catherine E. Coulson as Margaret Lanterman / "The Log Lady"
- Ian Buchanan as Dick Tremayne
- Mary Jo Deschanel as Eileen Hayward
- Frank Silva as Killer BOB
- Al Strobel as Phillip Michael Gerard / MIKE / "The One-Armed Man"
- David Patrick Kelly as Jerry Horne
- Miguel Ferrer as Special Agent Albert Rosenfield
- John Boylan as Mayor Dwayne Milford
- Victoria Catlin as Blackie O'Reilly
- Charlotte Stewart as Betty Briggs
- David Lynch as Bureau Chief Gordon Cole
- Heather Graham as Annie Blackburn
- Robyn Lively as Lana Budding Milford
- Dan O'Herlihy as Andrew Packard
- Billy Zane as John Justice Wheeler
- Don Amendolia as Emory Battis
- James Booth as Ernie Niles
- Michael Parks as Jean Renault
- Carel Struycken as The Giant
- Phoebe Augustine as Ronette Pulaski
- Robert Bauer as Johnny Horne
- Lenny Von Dohlen as Harold Smith
- Hank Worden as The Elderly Room Service Waiter
- Michael J. Anderson as The Man from Another Place
- Jan D'Arcy as Sylvia Horne
- David Duchovny as DEA Agent Denise Bryson
- Tony Jay as Dougie Milford
- Walter Olkewicz as Jacques Renault
- David Warner as Thomas Eckhardt
In the 1980s, Mark Frost worked for three years as a writer for the television police drama Hill Street Blues, which featured a large cast and extended story lines. Following his success with The Elephant Man (1980) and Blue Velvet in 1986, David Lynch was hired by a Warner Bros. executive to direct a film about the life of Marilyn Monroe, based on the best-selling book Goddess. Lynch recalls being "sort of interested. I loved the idea of this woman in trouble, but I didn't know if I liked it being a real story." Lynch and Frost first worked together on the Goddess screenplay and although the project was dropped by Warner Bros., they became good friends. They went on to work as writer and director for One Saliva Bubble, a film with Steve Martin attached to star, but it was never made either. Lynch's agent, Tony Krantz, encouraged him to do a television show. He took Lynch to Nibblers restaurant in Los Angeles and said, "You should do a show about real life in America—your vision of America the same way you demonstrated it in Blue Velvet." Lynch got an "idea of a small-town thing", and though he and Frost were not keen on it, they decided to humor Krantz. Frost wanted to tell "a sort of Dickensian story about multiple lives in a contained area that could sort of go perpetually." Originally, the show was to be titled North Dakota and set in the Plains region of North Dakota.
After Frost, Krantz, and Lynch rented a screening room in Beverly Hills and screened Peyton Place, they decided to develop the town before its inhabitants. Due to the lack of forests and mountains in North Dakota, the title was changed from North Dakota to Northwest Passage (the title of the pilot episode), and the location to the Pacific Northwest, specifically Washington. They then drew a map and decided that there would be a lumber mill in the town. Then they came up with an image of a body washing up on the shore of a lake. Lynch remembers, "We knew where everything was located and that helped us determine the prevailing atmosphere and what might happen there." Frost remembers that he and Lynch came up with the notion of the girl next door leading a "desperate double life" that would end in murder. The idea was inspired, in part, by the unsolved 1908 murder of Hazel Irene Drew in Sand Lake, New York.
Lynch and Frost pitched the idea to ABC during the 1988 Writers Guild of America strike in a ten-minute meeting with the network's drama head, Chad Hoffman, with nothing more than this image and a concept. According to the director, the mystery of who killed Laura Palmer was initially going to be in the foreground, but would recede gradually as viewers got to know the other townsfolk and the problems they were having. Lynch and Frost wanted to mix a police investigation with a soap opera. ABC liked the idea and asked Lynch and Frost to write a screenplay for the pilot episode. They had been talking about the project for three months and wrote the screenplay in 10 days. Frost wrote more verbal characters, like Benjamin Horne, while Lynch was responsible for Agent Cooper. According to the director, "He says a lot of the things I say." ABC Entertainment President Brandon Stoddard ordered the two-hour pilot for a possible fall 1989 series. He left the position in March 1989 as Lynch went into production. They filmed the pilot for $4 million with an agreement with ABC that they would shoot an additional "ending" to it so that it could be sold directly to video in Europe as a feature film if the TV show was not picked up. ABC's Robert Iger and his creative team took over, saw the dailies, and met with Frost and Lynch to get the arc of the stories and characters. Although Iger liked the pilot, he had difficulty persuading the rest of the network executives. Iger suggested showing it to a more diverse, younger group, who liked it, and the executive subsequently convinced ABC to buy seven episodes at $1.1 million apiece. Some executives figured that the show would never get on the air or that it might run as a seven-hour mini-series, but Iger planned to schedule it for the spring. The final showdown occurred during a bi-coastal conference call between Iger and a room full of New York executives; Iger won, and Twin Peaks was on the air.
Each episode took a week to shoot and after directing the second episode, Lynch went off to complete Wild at Heart while Frost wrote the remaining segments. Standards and Practices had a problem with only one scene from the first season: an extreme close-up in the pilot of Cooper's hand as he slid tweezers under Laura's fingernail and removed a tiny "R". They wanted the scene to be shorter because it made them uncomfortable, but Frost and Lynch refused and the scene remained.
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