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Twin Peaks: Definitive Gold Box Edition (1990-1991)

Paramount Home Entertainment
DVD Released: 10/30/2007

All Ratings out of 

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 11/4/2007

You hear people say it all the time, "There's nothing good on TV." Even in our digital cable world where we get 200 channels, there's nothing to watch. Despite this outcry, it seems that the same kinds of shows are popular. When the networks do put something different on, no one watches it. However, there is an exception to this rule. When Twin Peaks premiered in April, 1990, it was an immediate success and captured the attention of a nation. Now, Paramount Home Entertainment has seen fit to bring us a boxed set containing every episode of the show, along with some interesting extras.

The titular town of Twin Peaks was located in rural Washington. As the series opened, the body of local teen Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) was found wrapped in plastic. Laura was a well-known and well-liked girl and no one could understand who would kill her or why. FBI Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) came to Twin Peaks to work on the case along side Sheriff Harry Truman (Michael Ontkean). The show took us into the bizarre world of the citizens of Twin Peaks, which was full of adulterers, prostitutes, and crazy people. As Agent Cooper investigated the murder, he uncovered the dark underbelly of the town.

It would be hyperbole to say that Twin Peaks was unlike anything ever seen on TV, but there's no denying that series creators David Lynch and Mark Frost came up with something unique. Combining Lynch's talent for odd characters and off-kilter situations with Frost's abilities as a mystery writer (you owe it to yourself to read his novels), they created a world with was certainly unusual, but still felt very familiar. The combination of the odd-ball characters and the murder-mystery made Twin Peaks spell-binding. It was like the insane cousin of a soap-opera and it attracted viewers who knew nothing of Lynch's art-house fare. The show took a turn for the worst in the second season, but for a short time, Twin Peaks made television very interesting.

Let's face it, if you are a fan of the show, then you are interested in this new DVD set, so I'm not going to go on-and-on about the show, but rather, I'll dive into whether or not this set is worth owning.

Twin Peaks: Definitive Gold Box Edition enjoys a slice of cherry pie on DVD courtesy of Paramount Home Entertainment. The 10-disc boxed-set contains all 30 episodes of the show from Seasons 1 and 2, and that includes the 2-hour Pilot episode. All of the shows are presented in their original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. For the most part, the episodes look good. The Pilot does show some notable grain at times, and some of the night-time shots in some of the shows are somewhat dark, but otherwise the transfers are stable. The images are sharp, showing very little in the way of video noise or distortion. The colors look very good here, most notably the reds and greens. Despite some mild problems, and the fact that this show is nearly 20 years old, the video looks fine. The episodes are accompanied by Dolby Digital 5.1 audio tracks, as well as the original 2.0 audio. The 5.1 tracks sound very good. The show was famous for using a lot of low-frequency tones and those make for a great of subwoofer action. The dialogue is clear and audible and the famous music sounds fine. Stereo effects are good as well.

This DVD set contains many interesting extras and special features. As noted above the Pilot episode is included here and this is the first time that it's been available in Region 1. It can be viewed with either the original ending which was broadcast on U.S. television, or the international ending which was shown theatrically in Europe. Each episode can be viewed with an introduction by the Log Lady. (I believe that these were done for the show's home video debut in the early 90s.) Disc Nine features four DELETED SCENES which run about 5 minutes. These were taken from video dubs, as most of the original film was destroyed. Two of these scenes deal with the Johnny Horne character. Disc Nine also has a gallery with "Production Documents", such as call sheets and production notes.

The rest of the extras are on Disc Ten. In "A Slice of Lynch" (30 minutes), series co-creator David Lynch is joined at a restaurant bar by actors Kyle MacLachlan and Madchen Amick, as well as long-time Lynch production person John Wentworth. Lynch talks about the creation of the show, Amick, MacLachlan, and Wentworth describe how they got involved with the project, and then they all share stories about the program. This is entertaining, but a bit awkward at times. "Secrets from Another Place: Creating Twin Peaks" (105 minutes) is a feature-length exploration of the show. Through interviews with most everyone involved with the show, save for David Lynch, we learn a great deal about Twin Peaks. Co-creator Mark Frost describes the show's origins, while many cast members, such as MacLachlan, Piper Laurie, Kimmy Robertson, Joan Chen, among others talk about their characters. The piece explores the making of the Pilot, the reaction from the network, the beginning of the series, and the cultural impact of the show. In a refreshing change of pace, we get an honest assessment of how the show fell apart in the second season following the revelation of Laura's killer. There is also an extensive interview with composer Angelo Badalamenti and singer Julee Cruise, who discuss the important role of music on the show. We get two clips from the September 29, 1990 episode of Saturday Night Live which was hosted by Kyle MacLachlan -- his monologue and a Twin Peaks spoof. "Twin Peaks Festival" (20 minutes) contains footage and interviews with fans of the show from a July, 2006 festival in North Bend, Washington. The "Interactive Map" gives details about the many important places in the fictitious town of Twin Peaks. "The Black Lodge Archives" contains many odds and ends. We get the "Falling" Music Video by Julee Cruise. There are five coffee commercials from Japan featuring the cast of the show. There are three IMAGE GALLERIES -- The Richard Beymer Gallery, Unit Photography, and Twin Peaks Trading Cards. We get twelve On-air/Promo Spots, as well as six "Lucy Bumpers" which I believe came from syndication. And finally, there is an ad for a 1-900 number which fans could call to get clues about the show, as well as 8 audio-only message from that number.

"Definitive" may be a strong word for this set, as it doesn't contain some of the bonus material from the out-of-print Artisan release of Season One. But, it's still an impressive collection and it's great to finally have the Pilot in Region 1. Fans will certainly appreciate having all of the episodes in one convenient package.

Review Copyright 2007 by Mike Long