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Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery Blu-ray Review

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#1 of 14 OFFLINE   Neil Middlemiss

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Posted August 13 2014 - 07:36 PM

Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery Blu-ray Review

Twin Peaks was, and remains, a singular television experience. Launching into the pop culture psyche with a provocative mystery, woven into a backdrop of offbeat characters with secrets connected to secrets, and shadows crawling across even the most innocent of town inhabitants. It introduced elements that, week to week became embedded into our memories. Words and phrases like “Killer Bob,” “One-eyed Jacks,” “Damn good coffee,” and “The owls are not what they seem,” among others, hit the vernacular and, for many of us fans since day one, stuck.

This new set from CBS and Paramount accomplishes what many thought was impossible, a high definition presentation of the entire series, featuring both the original and ‘closed-ended’ international pilot, partnered with the cinematic prequel (a New Line release licensed to different companies around the world,) and nearly an hour and a half of deleted scenes from the film. A treasure trove of joy wrapped in a neat package, for a (relatively) reasonable price that should attract new audiences and satisfy and reward the loyal fans.


Cover Art


Studio: Paramount

Distributed By: N/A

Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Audio: English 7.1 DTS-HDMA, Other

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Other

Rating: Not Rated

Run Time: 27 Hr. 17 Min.

Package Includes: Blu-ray

Disc Type:

Region: A

Release Date: 07/29/2014

MSRP: $134.99




The Production Rating: 5/5

“She said people try to be good but they're really sick and rotten, her most of all, and every time she tried to make the world a better place, something terrible came up inside her and pulled her back down into hell. Took her deeper and deeper into the blackest nightmare. Every time it got harder to go back up to the light”

Twin Peaks is a sleepy town in the northwest. A town with a bustling diner, a sawmill driving the blue collar economy, and locals living seemingly quiet lives inside the cocoon of their town. The quiet, smoky community is rocked when town darling, Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) – a high school girl beloved by all who knew her – is found murdered, wrapped in plastic and dumped by the river. A brutal crime that rattles the idyll, cracking open the peace and shining a light upon the dark underbelly that lurks beneath tall trees and rain damp streets. A special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), arrives to investigate and quickly embraces the warmth of the small town while he works with Sheriff Harry S. Truman (Michael Ontkean), a likeable fellow, and the rest of the small town law enforcement office. Together they pursue answers in the murderer of Laura Palmer, and what is behind the darkness and crime that is seething from the crack in the perfect small town veneer.

Twin Peaks premiered on ABC on April 8, 1990 to a sizeable audience. Created by director David Lynch (Blue Velvet,) and writer Mark Frost (Hill Street Blues,) it was an instant hit and a further seven episodes were produced to round out its first wildly original and highly addicted season. It was a bold, risk-taking sensation, averse only to abiding by the conventions of mystery or ‘soap’ television and featured a genius chorus of unusual, mischievous, quirky and secret-holding characters that populated the falsely idyllic town. A landmark television show, it brimmed with a large, talented cast of players that brought the whimsy, mystery and shadows to life, led by the energy and investigative gifts of Kyle MacLachlan’s Agent Dale Cooper.

The large cast and entwined storyline shares a similarity with pulpy soaps like Dynasty or Dallas, with a melodrama running as a minor current throughout, but the intensity of the drama, the magically clever plotting and writing, the movie-like production for a weekly drama, and the unadulterated quirk and originality of characters and ideas meant that Twin Peaks had no equal on the television. In Twin Peaks, each character is drawn with both a wink and a scowl, allowing the fine cast to bite into something that network television did not provide, and still to this day rarely offers. And the strength of the cast is underpinned by the endearing talents of Kyle MacLachlan, whose joyful performance also bubbles with intensity when the moment requirs.

In addition to MacLachlan’s anchoring performance, several others standout among the many faces. Ray Wise in particular, as Leland, the grief stricken father of Laura Palmer is electric. Exploding with tears, dashing about in dance, and overflowing with denial at the loss of his precious daughter – Wise is magnificent. Sherilyn Fenn’s Audrey Horne, the mischievous daughter of Ben Horne – the local magnate played with likeable menace by Richard Beymar - is an alluring young girl played with enough sensual innocence and wayward wonder by Fenn to instantly become fascinating and fun. Miguel Ferrer’s ornery, condescending and highly capable Agent Albert Rosenfield is a blitz of bad mood, and every utterance and dismissive quip a delight (despite being aimed at characters we like.) And Dana Ashbrook’s Bobby Briggs is the perfect rebellious teenage menace, equipped with bad-boy good looks and enough moxie about not following rules to make him dangerous. Ashbrook’s character develops in surprising ways as the series progresses. His character’s relationship with Shelly Johnson, the wife of local crook Leo, provides sexual energy and fire, and his performance is top-notch.

Besides the aforementioned standouts, they are among a very talented and strong broader cast which includes Michael Ontkean as Sheriff Truman, Mädchen Amick as Shelly Johnson, Lara Flynn Boyle as Donna Hayward, James Marshall as James Hurley, Everett McGill as Big Ed Hurley, Jack Nance as Pete Martell, Joan Chen as Jocelyn Packard, Piper Laurie as Catherine Martell, Eric DaRe as Leo Johnson, Harry Goaz as Deputy Andy, Kimmy Roberts as Lucy Moran, Peggy Lipton as Norma Jennings, Sheryl Lee as Laura Palmer and Madeleine, Russ Tamblyn as Dr. Lawrence Jacobi, and Chris Mulkey as Hank Jennings.

It’s rare in the annals of broadcast entertainment that a television show becomes so emblazoned on the audiences consciousness…and so quickly. Fans would host viewing parties, the hooks set at the end of most episodes created great anxiety and enthusiasm for what was promised the following week. It was testimony to the imagination and oblique view of quiet America that series creators David Lynch and Mark Frost had mastered, and the zig zag nature of the mystery that ran through the town and around the rotten core that festered beneath the surface of the simple, small northwestern enclave.

It is impossible to image Twin Peaks without the indelible imprint upon it made by composer Angelo Badalamenti, David Lynch’s long-time composer collaborator. At once a haunting score aching with melancholy, then a toe-tapping, jazz-spruced playful dance of sound. Partnered with the haunting vocals of Julee Cruise, the soundtrack to Twin Peaks is a defining accomplishment.

The short first season is a masterful exercise in bold creativity, bringing to bear cinematic experience and a passion to stand out and stand apart from the common broadcast fare. A shifting timeslot and being put against an already crowded Thursday night schedule demonstrated a mishandling by the network – a mishandling that would culminate in meddling of the plot, as the ratings took a tumble – with an insistence that Laura Palmer’s murderer be revealed earlier than the show runners had intended (or planned for) in order to drum up ratings. Though it did provided an uptick in ratings, for several episodes following the reveal, the show was listless and unsettled as the long-arc plot threads recoiled and reset. The lack of focus and decentralization of the plotting harmed the momentum and urgency of the show, and the introduction of new ideas at this stage in the show seemed more like reaches than designed progression of ideas. Still, even as the show struggled to find its center again, it remained a compelling and tempting viewing experience.

Twin Peaks tantalized week after week with a nest of plotting, characters who would twist and turn, surprise and disappoint with dark sides and albatross shadows. You’d find that the person peeking at someone from behind the bushes were themselves being watched from around the corner and the connections stretched and crossed characters and ideas in ever deepening ways. And it remained that way through the close of its second season, its final season, on a cliffhanger that would not be satisfactorily resolved.

Fire Walk With Me
Following the abrupt cancellation of the series, fans recoiled in disappointment and the producers (and actors) sought ways to bring closure to the weird and wild world they’d created. The result was the prequel Twin Peaks: Fire Walks with Me, a bleak, bizarre, mind-trip of a film that strips the whimsy and playfulness from the television series out, replacing it with the darker, seedier side of the world David Lynch and Mark Frost created.

The story revolved around an investigation by FBI Agents Chet Desmond (Chris Isaak) and Sam Stanley (Kiefer Sutherland) into the death of a waitress, Teresa Banks, in a town near Twin Peaks. Agent Desmond disappears inexplicably and one year later, in the town of Twin Peaks, a young girl, Laura Palmer, is living her last week alive.

Prequels are curious beasts. Playing out ideas only imagined or perhaps described during later events, the energy of any mystery is lessened by the audience knowing enough of what will eventually happen. The power of any prequel lies in spinning up enough new ideas and new characters to make the journey worthwhile – and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me succeeds in deepening the mystery, playing out darker ideas than the small screen could have handled, and exploring sordid, seedy events. The cinematic outing offers the chance to orient the world of Twin Peaks around the murder and meaning of Laura Palmer, and revisit characters we know and enjoy along with new faces and new connections. It doesn’t always work, but when it strikes the right tone, it works beautifully.

Followers of the show may find the stark difference in tone surprising, and the parade of small-town characters – reduced to a few familiar mocking and menacing faces – short of what was hoped for. And in that regard, the film is disappointing. Forfeiting the wit and humorous eccentricity of the weekly show separates this chapter too far from the ones we fell in love with.

What we are given in its place is the Lynch mind unencumbered by network constraints. Working with Robert Engels on writing duties, he created a bleak and bizarre display of oddness and hallucinatory exploits that are given a good deal of time to breath onscreen. And that provides a singular cinematic experience too.

The Episodes
Disc One:
Pilot Original Version / Alternate International Version
Episode 1
Episode 2

Disc Two:
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6
Episode 7

Disc Three:
Episode 8
Episode 9
Episode 10

Disc Four:
Episode 11
Episode 12
Episode 13
Episode 14

Disc Five:
Episode 15
Episode 16
Episode 17
Episode 18

Disc Six:
Episode 19
Episode 20
Episode 21
Episode 22

Disc Seven:
Episode 23
Episode 24
Episode 25
Episode 26

Disc Eight:
Episode 27
Episode 28
Episode 29

Disc Nine:
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me

Disc Ten:
Additional Special Features



Video Rating: 4.5/5  3D Rating: NA

Twin Peaks is a revelation on Blu-ray. Superb detail complimented by rich colors, unfazed black levels and deliciously saturated throughout, are partnered with a good display of natural flesh tones and strong contrast.

Filmed with Panaflex cameras, Panavision lenses, in 35mm, Twin Peaks always had the detail to look extraordinary. With the advent of high definition home media, we can finally see all of the meticulous detail, rich, warm colors, and crisp beauty of the Pacific Northwest (or at least the stages and locations in California created to look like the Pacific Northwest.)

It’s original run on television, pre-high definition, robbed the viewing experience of the original filmed quality and even the two DVD set releases couldn’t come close to what we can now behold in CBS/Paramount’s Blu-ray release. A few shots, clearly where the filmed source was not available when this set was being prepared (missing, damaged,) are noticeably soft, but these are considerably rare and given how sharp and wonderful the rest of the series looks, these brief moments are forgivable.

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me doesn’t quite achieve the heights of the series, but it’s a fine transfer nonetheless, with good detail and an appropriate balance of color.



Audio Rating: 4.5/5

Featuring a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 soundtrack, as well as the original English stereo 2.0, Twin Peaks sounds delicious in this new set. The audio is impressively full, taking advantage of every iota of atmospheric mood, whispering wind through the trees, and the brooding electronics and snapping fingers, toe-tapping jazz of Angelo Badalamenti’s iconic score.

Good use of the surrounds are made, balanced without issue with the dialogue rich in the center channel. Owl cries, motorcycle growls, and the many instances of characters screaming (either another character’s name or out in grief and pain) pierce the speakers, dramatically speaking, and sound first-rate.

A few reports of some lip-synch issues have come out, likely from ADR/source issues than this transfer. None were noticeable enough to report here during my binge-viewing for this review, but those more sensitive to these things will likely spot the few occasions.



Special Features Rating: 5/5

A delightful array of special features, many upgraded from standard definition to HD (such as the more recently recorded Log lady intros) are good, but the pièce de résistance has to be the wealth of ‘missing pieces,’ almost 90 minutes worth of deleted and extended scenes from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. Several new documentary extras with interviews with principle cast and crew, deleted scenes from select episodes and outtakes round out the core of the offerings.

The concentration of special features can be found on discs 3, 5, 8, 9 and 10 with a little something on each of the 10 discs. There is plenty to reabsorb yourself into the world behind Twin Peaks, and a pleasing involvement of cast and crew sharing their experiences, and hearing David Lynch talk about, well, anything, is always a hoot.

During the creation of this set, Ken Ross (EVP of CBS Home Entertainment) recalled at this year’s Comic-Con of learning of the volume of ‘missing pieces’ during a phone conversation with Director David Lynch:

“Hey Ken, what would make you happy in terms of the length and number of deleted scenes? And I said: “What would make me happy is what makes the fans happy, as much as possible. And he said: “Well, what if I told you there were 88 minutes?” And I almost dropped the phone, knowing the significance of it. And he said: “Yeah, 88 minutes. It’s all there. But beyond that, these are gonna be handled not like deleted scenes normally are. We’re going to handle them as if it’s a feature film. We’re going to color correct them. We’re going to score them. We’re going to edit them. (…) Just wait.”

—Ken Ross (Executive Vice President of CBS Home Entertainment)

Disc One:
Log Lady Intros for each episodes (HD)
Preview and recaps on select episodes (HD)

Disc Two:
Season 1 Image Gallery
Twin Peaks Sneak Peeks (HD)
Log Lady Intros (HD)
Previews and recaps on select episodes (HD)

Disc Three:
A Slice of Lynch: Uncut (HD) – NEW!
Season 2 Image Gallery
Promos (HD/SD)
Log Lady Intros (HD)
Preview and recaps on select episodes (HD)

Disc Four:
Series Deleted Scenes
Series Deleted Scenes (HD) – NEW!
Outtakes (HD) – NEW!
Log Lady Intros (HD)
Preview and recaps on select episodes (HD)

Disc Five:
Return To Twin Peaks
Location Guide
The Glastonbury Archives
- 17 Pieces of Pie: Shooting at the Mar T (AKA RR) Diner
- Mark Frost Interview with Wrapped in Plastic
- Learning to Speak in the Red Room
- An Introduction to David Lynch
- Lucy Bumpers
- 1-900 Hotline
- Production Documents
- Image Galleries
Log Lady Intros (HD)
Preview and recaps on select episodes (HD)

Disc Six:
Postcards From The Cast
Twin Peaks Sneak Peaks (HD)
Log Lady Intros (HD)
Preview and recaps on select episodes (HD)

Disc Seven:
Cast and Crew Interviews
Log Lady Intros (HD)
Preview and recaps on select episodes (HD)

Disc Eight:
Secrets from Another Place: Creating Twin Peaks (HD)
- Northwest Passage: Creating the Pilot
- Freshly Squeezed: Creating Season One
- Where We’re From: Creating the Music
- Into the Night: Creating Season Two
Log Lady Intros (HD)
Preview and recaps on select episodes (HD)

Disc Nine:
The Missing Pieces: Deleted/Alternate Scenes (HD) – NEW!
Archival Interviews

Disc Ten:
Between Two Worlds (HD) – NEW!
- Palmer Family Interview
- Actors Discussion
-- Moving Through Time: Fire Walk With Me Memories (HD) – NEW!
-- Reflections On The Phenomenon Of Twin Peaks
-- US Trailer
-- International Trailer
-- Fire Walk With Me Photo Gallery – NEW!
Atmospherics (HD) – NEW!
-- Trees/Woods
-- Pie § Signs/Places
-- Coffee
-- Notes
-- Water
-- Donuts
-- Owls
-- The Ring
-- The Red Room



Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Twin Peaks is one of the finest television series to have ever aired, no doubt about it. And the lure and power of the show hasn’t aged a day since its original broadcast nearly 25 years ago. The impact on the television landscape has been ineradicable, immediately present in The X-Files, but found in countless cinematically strong television productions since. Imitators made an appearance, the most obvious being 1993’s Wild Palms, but the influence and impact of the show has seeped into network and cable productions over the years as viewers and fans joined the creative industry (the recent The Killing borrowing quite boldly, it should be noted) and allowed that influence to play out.

The vivid world of Twin Peaks, with symbolism abounding, the alarming presence of the color red, and an unrepeatable mixture of chills, chuckles, mystery, malice, and dances of dialogue, has never looked better than this fantastic high definition presentation. Though completest will note several missing special features available on the previous, Definitive Gold Box release (I recommend taking a look at this stellar, comprehensive assessment by HTF regular TravisR (post #134) for a rundown,) it must be said that this new Blu-ray release is a dream for fans and the best way for the curious to become acquainted with what the rest of us have been praising all these years.

Very Highly Recommended!


Reviewed By: Neil Middlemiss


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#2 of 14 OFFLINE   nara

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Posted August 14 2014 - 07:54 AM

"since its original broadcast nearly 15 years ago"

I think you mean nearly 25 years ago.

#3 of 14 OFFLINE   Neil Middlemiss

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Posted August 14 2014 - 09:40 AM

"since its original broadcast nearly 15 years ago"

I think you mean nearly 25 years ago.

 

Thanks...you just made me feel REALLY old :)


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#4 of 14 OFFLINE   Charles Smith

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Posted August 14 2014 - 09:55 AM

Thanks...you just made me feel REALLY old :)

 

Oh, no kidding.  A quarter of a century!!?  That's just ... wrong.

 

Seriously, though, a masterful review of a masterful project.  Can't wait to get my hands on it.


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#5 of 14 OFFLINE   Charles Smith

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Posted August 14 2014 - 10:04 AM

As much as I've loved Twin Peaks, I only ever owned the closed-ended pilot on LD, and the Gold Box DVD set -- which I watched several months ago for the first time in years and I fell more in love with the series than ever. 

 

But I digress. 

 

I was wondering what, of the special features from earlier releases that aren't included on the Blu-ray set, are truly worth having?  For a completist, of course, everything is.  I know that.  But I'm one who doesn't mind being a little selective.  For instance, I see there were some commentaries on the first DVD set.  I never heard those.  Are they worth a little more shelf space?



#6 of 14 OFFLINE   Lord Dalek

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Posted August 14 2014 - 10:06 AM

I'm pretty sure Twin Peaks was originally in Dolby Surround, not mono



#7 of 14 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted August 14 2014 - 10:27 AM

I was wondering what, of the special features from earlier releases that aren't included on the Blu-ray set, are truly worth having?  For a completist, of course, everything is.  I know that.  But I'm one who doesn't mind being a little selective.  For instance, I see there were some commentaries on the first DVD set.  I never heard those.  Are they worth a little more shelf space?

The SNL stuff is fun to see and the commercials have some minor historical interest but as a huge Twin Peaks fan, I think the commentaries are a loss. In all fairness, how many times can someone listen to a commentary but looking at eBay, S1 can be had for about $10 and in my opinion, it's easily worth the $10 to have them.


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#8 of 14 OFFLINE   Charles Smith

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Posted August 14 2014 - 10:31 AM

Thanks.   And they're only on S1, right?



#9 of 14 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted August 14 2014 - 10:37 AM

Thanks.   And they're only on S1, right?

Yep.

 

Call me a conspiracy theorist but I'm thinking that since everything else from the S1 set is ported over, David Lynch's well-known commentaryphobia is what kept them from being on this set.


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#10 of 14 OFFLINE   Dave B Ferris

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Posted August 14 2014 - 10:51 AM

Travis, you're persuasive ...

If I pick up the Gold Box, will I get the commentaries?

#11 of 14 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted August 14 2014 - 11:54 AM

If I pick up the Gold Box, will I get the commentaries?

Nope, the S1 DVD set is the only place to get them.



#12 of 14 OFFLINE   Dave B Ferris

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Posted August 14 2014 - 12:26 PM

Hmm, naturally, the set that is out of print!

Thanks for the answer.

#13 of 14 OFFLINE   Josh Steinberg

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Posted August 14 2014 - 12:49 PM

Hmm, naturally, the set that is out of print!

Thanks for the answer.

 

It can be found pretty inexpensively on eBay or Amazon used from third party sellers - probably for about ten bucks.  Fortunately it's not like one of those out-of-print titles that skyrockets in price.


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#14 of 14 OFFLINE   Charles Smith

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Posted August 22 2014 - 07:20 AM

Got the Blu-ray, and now I have my ten dollar copy of the Season 1 DVD set, my Gold Box set, and I still have the international pilot laserdisc.

 

If I were going to be a Twin Peaks completist in the physical sense, I would long ago have acquired the other LDs and DVDs, but shelf space and common sense demand that I admire others' collections from afar, and limit my completist holdings to actual content.  This will consist of the Blu-ray box and the necessary DVD discs from the other sets -- namely, the four Season 1 DVDs, and disc 10 from the Gold Box. 

 

I'll scavenge or purchase a 5-disc case to sit compactly alongside the Blu-ray box.  All the rest of this lovely detritus will go into the giveaway box (and in the case of the Season 1 set packaging, which was rather worn, the trash can).  The FWWM DVD will also be given away, as this completist can live without the creamed corn loop.   :)


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