Your next box set series with Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks

"Brilliant!" enthused Homer Simpson about Twin Peaks. "I have absolutely no idea what's going on!"

Trying to understand Twin Peaks would certainly be some people's reason for embarking on the Definitive Gold Box Edition (Complete Series).

In fact, this proves only a minor, if rewarding, part of its attraction.

Long before the knowing violence of Dexter, the addictive intrigue of Lost or the macabre wit of Six Feet Under, there was Twin Peaks. Watching it now is still an amazing experience. (You start by marvelling that it existed at all. This was David Lynch doing dream sequences on primetime US TV!)

Comprising a 90-minute pilot and seven episodes from the first series plus the 22 episodes from season two, Twin Peaks works so perfectly as a box set it's as if its creators (Lynch and writer Mark Frost) intended it to be viewed this way all along. Watched in continuum, Twin Peaks is less like a TV show than a vintage David Lynch movie that is 25 hours long.

With deference to The Wire, no television show was ever so instantly engrossing. For a start, Twin Peaks is a murder mystery and Laura Palmer's body is discovered one minute after the opening credits and Angelo Badalamenti's haunting theme tune. Lynch then builds it into a highly seductive, subversive soap - a cross between Blue Velvet and Peyton Place.

Elements such Agent Cooper's obsession with cherry pie and eccentrics such as the Log Lady mean that the show tends to be branded as "quirky", "cult" television. In fact, Twin Peaks is unsettling, occasionally deeply disturbing and was a phenomenon - it became a classic example of "watercooler television", even though ABC scheduled it opposite Cheers.

Scary, strange, funny and sad, Twin Peaks still looks like an astonishing, wildly original piece of television - one that's arguably even better on DVD.

• Jim Shelley is the TV critic for the Mirror


Jim Shelley

The GuardianTramp

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