I have finally decided on the new year gift that I am going to give myself - it is the new "definitive gold box" DVD set of Twin Peaks. I had seen the first season and a few episodes from the second a couple of years back and I was expecting only to familiarize myself with things I had forgotten, which as it turned out, was not much - I remembered everything, from the fish in the percolator to the flashlight dance of "Louise Dombrowski" but apart from the story line and the characters this new DVD has been a complete revelation in the sense that it shows how visually (and aurally) innovative the show was. It looks, sounds and feels completely different from what I remembered from my first experience, which is actually to say that it looks, sounds and feels exactly like a David Lynch film. The red curtains are redder, the conifer trees ("douglas firs" to be exact) billowing in the dark are much more eerie and evocative, the woodwork in the background set everywhere looks fantastic like never before, the hissing and buzzing sounds in the dark and the stirring chords from Angelo Badalementi's sentimental yet strange tracks keep reverberating inside long after you have finished watching it.
There is so much on internet about Twin Peaks already that I don't want to spread the clutter further. (A good entry point is the wikipedia.) Just wanted to add to what I mentioned in the earlier about some of the criticisms leveled against his work specially its "postmodernist" aspect and his use of pastiche. Twin Peaks is actually a very self-conscious soap-opera, that is a soap-opera which knows that it is a soap opera. There is even a in-house soap opera which is very popular in Twin Peaks called "The Invention of Love" which features prominently in the background in the first season of the show. Twin Peaks has all the intrigues, plot-reversals, surprises and emotionalism of any typical soap but it notches up all of these a few steps higher and in the process it achieves a sort of defamiliarization (by making it consciously known that what we are watching is a work of artifice which follows the convention of a soap-opera, but at the same times it achieves this effect without ever giving away a basic and genuine emotional engagement with the plot or the characters. Besides soap-opera there is of course a hilarious parody of the detective genre, specially those of the rationalist and deductive bent. You will never be able to read Sherlock Holmes boasting about his deductive technique after savouring Agent Cooper's Tibetan method- "I awoke from the same dream realizing that I had subconsciously gained knowledge of a deductive technique involving mind-body coordination operating hand in hand with the deepest level of intuition." This also makes me wonder what would Sherlock Holmes do in a place like Twin Peaks?
Some in-depth articles and essays here.