I first heard about Twin Peaks twenty years ago this month. It was January 11, 1990, to be exact. I had purchased a copy of the Dallas Morning News and on the front page of the Arts section was a TV column by critic, Ed Bark. The title was: "ABC aims high with Twin Peaks." Bark has just attended a mid-season screening of the Twin Peaks pilot in Los Angeles and was, to put it mildly, blown away. Here's what he had to say:
"The two hour Twin Peaks movie, populated by an ensemble cast of 16 is the first TV masterpiece of the '90s and the best drama to come our way since Hill Street [Blues] floored critics and reviewers in January 1981. Dark, deceptive, visual, and, of course, quirky, it spellbinds from the very first minute -- make that the first second."
Well, I was excited. Ed Bark was describing something magnificent and new, something startling and unique, something not-to-be-missed. I knew I had to see Twin Peaks. You see, I was always a fan of good TV and two decades ago good TV--and by that I mean something intelligent, complex and challenging--was a rarity. The best television series to date had been St. Elsewhere. There was also Hill Street Blues and the early episodes of Miami Vice. But really, there was very little that made you sit up and take notice.
Clearly something special was on the way. Ed Bark ended his column by saying, "Much more will be written about Twin Peaks before it emboldens prime time as no series since Hill Street. Circle March [the tentative broadcast month for the pilot] on your calendar and savor the prospect of further details." Well, in a figurative sense, I did "circle the month." I took Bark's column home and placed it prominently on my desk. I was not going to forget Twin Peaks.
And I didn't. I watched (and videotaped) the pilot episode when it premiered on April 8, 1990. Then I watched it again the next day. Like Ed Bark, I was bowled over. It was the greatest thing I'd ever seen on TV. (Still is, actually.) And Bark was right; much more was written about Twin Peaks (albeit after it aired). In fact, much of that writing appeared in the pages of Wrapped In Plastic, produced by Craig Miller and myself.
Not surprisingly, I'm still writing about Twin Peaks today. And I hope in 2010 to write about it a little bit more. Make no mistake; this blog will still be home to reviews of all sorts of books, comics, TV, films and other assorted stuff that sparks my interest. But in this twentieth anniversary year of Twin Peaks I think I have a few fun things about Peaks to share.
Anyway, that's the story of how I first heard about Twin Peaks.
So tell me, when did you first hear about it?
3 days ago