I don't want this to just sound like an opinion thread, I just want to know if there was more to the TV show than what I interpreted.

I've just finished the first series of Twin Peaks, and I can't seem to understand why it's rated so highly around the internet.

IMDB, for example, gives it 9/10, whilst Metacritic scores it at 96/100.

I can understand it having a "cult" following and it being a classic but the show just doesn't seem to have anything going for it apart from too many characters.

Can anyone give any evidence to why it's regarded as such a good TV show?

closed as primarily opinion-based by HorusKol, James Sheridan, The Fallen, John O, Stan Mar 27 '14 at 10:41

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 7
    At the time there was literally nothing else like it. TV back then was very different... – user8719 Mar 26 '14 at 17:08
  • 6
    Because in the era before premium cable television shows, broadcast network television was bleak. At the time, newspaper editorials were all up in arms about how over the top Twin Peaks was (quite tame by today's standards). In such an environment, any show that could do that would attract a cult following. – John O Mar 26 '14 at 17:14
  • 4
    Because the owls are not what they seem. I agree with @JimmyShelter -- there was literally nothing like it on television at the time. I think it faltered badly after Laura Palmer's death was solved because Who Killed Laura Palmer was the sole reason for the existence of the show. After the killer was revealed, there had been nothing further, plot-wise, set up to carry the show. It appealed to a quirky (in the good way) audience and David Lynch fans. Twins Peaks is the best TV soundtrack ever -- it's a must have. I named my iPad "Diane" after Agent Cooper's tape recorder :) – Slytherincess Mar 26 '14 at 17:15
  • 2
    @PaulD.Waite I answered as a courtesy... I'm not sure that it's even on-topic. The answer is more about the general culture of the United States in the 1990s. If someone else wants to expand on my comment, they're welcome to the rep. – John O Mar 26 '14 at 19:49
  • 2
    @PaulD.Waite - Yes! That would be awesome! I've come across a few people who have named their gadgets "Diane" and it's like a special secret handshake or something --delightful! All my computers and gadgets are named after Harry Potter characters, except for Diane my iPad :) – Slytherincess Mar 27 '14 at 1:28

Regarding the IMDB rating, that’s (at time of writing) an average of 69,953 user ratings. So, quite simply, about 70,000 people really like it, and rated it on IMDB.

As to why IMDB users like it, it’s a bit speculative, but IMDB is popular within the movie and TV production community (as people who work in the industry can use it, to some extent, to promote themselves). Twin Peaks may appeal to them because it includes elements that satirise television itself.

The multitude of characters you refer to, along with the melodramatic tone and certain plot elements of the show (Identical cousins! Doe-eyed teenagers in love! Murky local business dealings! Almost every married person having an affair!), and the fact that it’s a serialised and continuous story, are meant to imitate and satirise American TV soap operas. You may have noticed that the show even includes its own fictional soap opera, Invitation to Love.

Twin Peaks was partially intended as a dark and disturbing parody of soap operas, to fit with Lynch’s perennial theme of revealing the darkness lurking underneath the bland and glossy surface of suburban America. Being a parody of a much-looked-down-on genre of TV, whilst having very high production values, may appeal to people who work in the industry, as they’re primed to be aware of the aspects of soap operas being parodied.

Apart from that (and unfortunately I can’t find the interview where I read this tidbit right now), I believe Lynch has discussed how he received effusive letters from survivors of domestic abuse after the second season aired, as dark events happening in suburbia aren’t often shown on mainstream American TV. (One such fan Kickstarted a Twin Peaks documentary about his experiences.)

I don’t think that has much bearing on the general high esteem in which the show is held, but it’s an interesting point about how fictional works can resonate very strongly with some people, whilst passing others by entirely.

  • 1
    I like that you discussed David Lynch's penchant for pulling back the curtain, so to speak, and exposing the darkness that lurks behind typical sunny facades. Regarding dysfunctional relationships, the infamous line of dialogue "I'd rather be his whre than your wife"* is always attributed to Kate Winslet's character, Rose, on Titanic in 1997, but it was Norma Jennings who first said it to Hank Jennings on Twin Peaks in 1990-1991. Anyhow, +1 :) – Slytherincess Mar 27 '14 at 1:19
  • @Slytherincess: nice, I hadn’t noticed that. Twin Peaks: so far ahead of its time. Yeah I saw Blue Velvet after the first season of Twin Peaks, cut from similar cloth. – Paul D. Waite Mar 27 '14 at 10:45

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.