After I finished watching my DVDs of the first three seasons of Felicity (season four was a disappointment and is not worth revisiting), I created a separate profile on Netflix for an entity I named "TV Bell" and put a bunch of TV show DVDs in the queue. I figure since I try to expand my knowledge of film to make myself a better film critic, it makes sense to do the same thing with TV. First up was the first season of Twin Peaks, which is only seven episodes long (something I didn't quite realize at first). Well, it's actually eight episodes, but due to some weird legal issues with broadcast rights, they can't include the pilot on the DVD. Lucky for me, I had actually seen a bootleg DVD of it a while back (it's a long story), so I had at least a vague idea of what was going on. Which, considering that the show is an intricate murder mystery (or at least started out that way only to eventually fall apart, if you believe the critics), was a good thing. The Television Without Pity recaps also helped.
Although I definitely enjoyed the season's worth of episodes, I'm not so sure that the mystery was the main appeal. Unlike, say, Veronica Mars, there isn't a real sense of urgency about solving the case, nor is there a sense that there is a big picture and that each piece of evidence is fitting into a larger puzzle. Again, from what I've read, by the time they get around to revealing who killed Laura Palmer, the show has kind of lost its way. It already seems like they're making things up as they go along, but the ride was entertaining in a very David Lynch-ian kind of way. There's a lot of humor on this show, of the off-kilter, random sort, and that was probably what I liked best about it. You really never know what's going to happen, and when all sorts of bizarre things go on, the characters just take it all in stride like it's an everyday occurrence. I suppose that's a hallmark of most of Lynch's work.
Kyle MacLachlan is perfect as the weirdly perky Agent Cooper, and Sherilyn Fenn is incredibly seductive as Audrey Horne, and it's amazing how many strong and sexy female actors were on this show (Fenn, Sheryl Lee, Madchen Amick) who went on to do basically nothing and the inert Lara Flynn Boyle was the one who became a semi-star. I guess she's not really that bad, but she's certainly the least notable woman in the ensemble cast. Overall, I was a little disappointed in the show so far, expecting something a little weirder and a little more engaging. But it was entertaining enough that I'll rent season two (which is a full 22 episodes) when it's released on DVD some time next year, if only to find out who killed Laura and to see the show descend into the train wreck it supposedly became.
Next up: The Prisoner.