by Marty Demarest
Dancing dwarfs, vixens in saddle shoes, luscious cinematography and Jack Nance? Looks like we're ready for a David Lynch project.
Fortunately, television audiences in 1990 weren't ready. From the moment that Nance -- a longtime Lynch character actor -- picked up a phone in the pilot episode and uttered the line, "she's dead; wrapped in plastic," home audiences repeatedly had their expectations of what TV should be gleefully subverted. Until the series was cancelled due to flagging ratings, Lynch's serial mystery dominated water-cooler conversations around the globe. "Who killed Laura Palmer?" the beautiful homecoming queen, became a question with less relevance than "Why is the show doing what it's doing?"
As FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper made his way around the fictional Northwest town of Twin Peaks, (which was placed just north of Spokane, but filmed in Western Washington), questioning suspects, talking into a micro-cassette recorder and enjoying -- excuse me -- a damn fine cup of coffee, he learned that the place was "full of secrets."
Fortunately, none of the curious answers the series attempted to provide are given away in the DVD boxed set of the first season. Ending at the seventh episode, Artisan's beautiful product is just enough to thrill old fans of the series and tantalize a few newcomers with the promise of some of the most compelling television ever made.
Buyers should beware, however -- due to complex legal issues, the pilot episode isn't included. (A summary in the documentation, however, along with introductions to each episode, provides all necessary information.) And navigating through the set's special features is about as intuitive a process as Cooper's investigation. But delights abound for the persistent explorer, with tripped-out stories from cast members, and a hilarious lesson on how to speak in the red room hidden in the circle of Laura Palmer's acquaintances. The whole thing, appropriately, is wrapped in plastic.