• Twin Peaks: The Original Series, Fire Walk With Me & The Missing Pieces



    Released by: CBS
    Released on: September 20th, 2016.
    Director: Various, David Lynch
    Cast: Kyle MacLachlan, Sherilynn Fenn, Sheryl Lee, Michael Ontkean, Laura Flynn Boyle, Dana Ashbrook
    Year: 1990 - 1992
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    The Movie:

    One of the most original and unusual television shows to ever air on a major network, Twin Peaks didn't stick around too long - twenty-nine episodes over two seasons to be exact - but its impact was huge and its influence still felt. Created by David Lynch and Mark Frost, they deceptively made the series look like a standard murder mystery, albeit one peppered with a cast of rather quirky characters. Once the premise was firmly established and the players setup, however, Lynch and company took us into increasingly more unusual and considerably darker territory then we'd seen on television before. Not since The Prisoner had a major television series flirted with surrealism as heavily as Twin Peaks.

    The series begins in the small northwestern mill town of Twin Peaks where a man named Peter Martell (Jack Nance of Eraserhead) finds the body of a young woman named Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) washed up on the shore near the sawmill where he works. The local sheriff, Harry S. Truman (Michael Ontkean), is called in to investigate the scene and the townsfolk are soon shocked to find out that the late prom queen was murdered.

    From there, the F.B.I. becomes involved in the case. Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan of Blue Velvet) arrives in the small town and is immediately won over by its charm, taking note of the spruce trees and enjoying the local coffee and the odd slice of cherry pie. Constantly making audio recordings to send back to his office, Cooper gets down to business and soon ties Laura's murder into a couple of other killings that have taken place over the years. He and Harry work together to try and solve the case and find out who her true killer is, though there are a multitude of suspects including her boyfriend Bobby (Dana Ashbrook), and a local wife beating dope dealer named Leo (Eric Da Re). Adding to the mystery are the facts that come out about Laura's secret life. Her best friend, Donna (Laura Flynn Boyle) is at first hesitant to talk about it but the local schoolgirl vamp, poor little rich girl Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn) has no qualms about talking to Agent Cooper about anything he'd like. And then there's the sinister man known only as Bob (Frank Silva) and his friend, a strange one-armed man (Al Strobel).

    To complicate matters further, there are subplots revolving around the sale of the local sawmill, a few steamy clandestine love affairs, and the increasingly strange lives of grieving parents of Laura Palmer, Leland (Ray Wise) and Sarah (Grace Zabriskie). The local gas station owner, Big Ed Hurley (Everett McGill) has to deal with his one-eyed wife, Nadine (Wendy Robie), and her fixation on the noise level of her curtain rods while his nephew, James Hurley (James Marshall), turns out to know more about this case than he first let on. A lady who cradles a log, known only as The Log Lady (Catherine Coulson), drops vague hints about the crime. As Cooper and Truman get closer to solving the case, Cooper starts seeing things in his dreams - he continually goes to a red room where a strange dwarf drops hints to him and where a dead ringer for Laura Palmer sits and waits.

    The mystery surrounding Laura's death and the various subplots that the event revealed made up the first season but once the second season began, the show went in a different direction with many of the same characters. Audrey's career moves at One Eyed Jack's weren't working out so well and the conflict between Bobby and James had come to a head as had the problems with Shelly and her husband Leo. Sawmill owner Josie Packard (Jean Chen) has disappeared, and Dale Cooper has been injured. The show gets mired under its own subplots for the first part of the second season but soon gets back on track despite laying on the quirk a little too thick for the show's own good. As the show returns to the resolution of Laura's murder and then explains why it happened in the first place, we're introduced to a few more interesting supporting characters such as D.E.A. Agent Dennis (David Duchovney) and John Justice Wheeler (Billy Zane). We also get to learn more about the characters and their lives as we see what really makes them tick. All the while, the mystery continues to unfold...

    While it's pretty much universally agreed upon that the first season of the series is brilliant while the second season is merely adequate, when watching the series in its entirety as it's presented in this set the division doesn't seem quite as strong. While it's true that the later episodes feel like they're simply weird for the sake of weird (contrasted to the first batch where the strange events happen for a reason) and that the second half of the show relied on guest stars and celebrity cameos a little too heavily (look for a young Heather Graham to show up as well as a bit part played by Lynch himself), seen as a whole Twin Peaks holds up remarkably well. Yes, there are certainly elements in the show that go so far out of the realm of possibility that it all becomes completely unrealistic (the black and white lodges and Cooper's chess game for example) but this doesn't tarnish the series enough to harm it as a single piece of entertainment. Obviously certain episodes are stronger than others, this is true for both seasons of the show, but the series remains one of the strongest, most creative shows of the nineties.

    One of the recurring themes in David Lynch's work is that small town America may look wholesome on the surface but really, underneath it all, it's got issues. We saw this in Blue Velvet and we definitely see it in Twin Peaks. The series blends his love of Americana and old Hollywood production values with fifties wardrobe and oddball jazz music and comes out as something akin to a very skewed version of an old cliffhanger serial. Aside from the quirk, however, there are some key characteristics of the series, exceptional ones, that make it stand out.

    The ensemble cast that was put together for the series is fantastic. Kyle MacLachlan is perfect as the straight laced and eccentric F.B.I. agent with a penchant for coffee and pie and he contrasts really well with the down-to-earth small-town sensibilities of Michael Ontkean as Harry S. Truman. Heading up the trio of youthful femme fatales in the cast is Laura Flynn Boyle who has the right kind of doe-eyed charm to play nice girl Donna. Sheryl Lee is great as the homecoming queen with a secret while Sherilyn Fenn is the perfect seductive vamp - when she tied that cherry stem into a bow with her tongue, an entire nation of heterosexual men took notice! Quirky performances from Joan Chen, Ray Wise and especially Catherine Coulson ensure that as bizarre as the series got, it was always well acted by a very capable cast of performers.

    Then there's the whole 'look' of the series. Shot by Frank Byers (who would shoot Sherilyn Fenn again a few years later for Boxing Helena), Twin Peaks would turn out to be one of the most visually haunting shows in television history. From the opening moments where Laura Palmer is found dead, wrapped in plastic, to the later soap opera style drama surrounding the saw mill and the hotel or even later material like the One Eyed Jacks episodes, everything looks slick and polished. The show remains incredibly colorful and the camera captures all manner of strange details even during darker scenes. On top of the great visuals is a truly haunting and instantly recognizable score from long time Lynch collaborator, Angelo Badalamenti, the music may initially sound melodramatic and overdone but in keeping with the 'serial' nature of the series it couldn't be more suitable.

    While it wasn't with us long, the show would span a theatrical follow up (technically a prequel) in the form of Twin Peaks - Fire Walk With Me, that would actually tie up quite a few loose ends. Although that film was not included in the old DVD release of the series, it was included in the 2014 Blu-ray set and is once again included in this 2016 reissue (timed, conveniently enough, a few months before the series is to be revived on Showtime in 2017).

    The (very) basic premise of the film is that a pair of FBI agents named Agent Chet Desmond (Chris Isaak) and Agent Sam Stanley (Kiefer Sutherland) have vanished while working on the murder of a waitress named Theresa Banks (Pamela Gidley) that happened not too far from the town of Twin Peaks. As details about all of this emerge, it seems that these events would tie into the (yet to happen) death of Laura Palmer and from here, we see just what exactly happened to her in that week leading up to her murder. Along the way we learn about Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook), Shelly Johnson (Madchen Amick), James Hurley (James Marshall) and Leland Palmer (Ray Wise) and just how deeply involved they were or were not in the case.

    No spoilers here, but Lynch takes all of the bizarre elements of the series and brings them into even more bizarre, and considerably darker, territory. Not all of the cast members returned for the film but Isaak is great as the lead and Sheryl Lee never less than radiant as Laura. Ray Wise is once again perfect and Ashbrook and Marshall do fine work here as well. It’s also fun to see Lynch himself play an FBI director and to see David Bowie cameo in the film. It’s a remarkably stylish film and like the best of Lynch’s work it blends horror and drama and mystery with heavy doses of surrealism and a fantastic use of music.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    The episodes of both seasons are framed in the series’ original aspect ratio of 1.33.1 while Fire Walk With Me is framed in the film’s original aspect ratio of 1.85.1 widescreen. Aside from a few instances of crush, the transfers are excellent. The AVC encoded 1080p high definition image shows excellent detail in pretty much every frame, while color reproduction is outstanding. Skin tones are perfect, texture is impressive and there’s great contrast and clarity here to appreciate. Fire Walk With Me doesn’t look quite as good as the series episodes, skin tones are a little pale and colors just a tiny bit flat, but it still looks very good and offers a substantial improvement over the older DVD release.

    Audio options are provided in English language DTS-HD 7.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo tracks with removable subtitles in English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, German, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Italian, Norwegian and Swedish. Quality of the 7.1 tracks is excellent. Surround usage is present but never overdone and you really get a feel for just how lush and open the music used throughout the series sounds. Dialogue is crystal clear and there are no problems with any hiss or distortion to note. Range is excellent throughout and there’s as solid lower end anchoring some of the more intense effects like the engine of a motorbike or a gunshot. Hiss and distortion are never an issue and really, there’s nothing to complain about here, the audio is top notch.

    Fire Walk With Me also contains Dolby Digital 2.0 tracks in Spanish, German, Italian and Japanese and Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks in French and German.

    Each episode contains the optional Log Lady Introductions which were taped when the show was shown in syndication. These were included on the Artisan release for Season One and it's nice to see them carried over here. Though few of them run for more than thirty seconds in length, they're interesting little bits of foreshadowing and fit perfectly with the strange atmosphere that the show created. Episode Previews and Recaps are also included across the first eight discs for select episodes. Otherwise, the extras in this set are spread across the nine discs as follows:

    DISC ONE:

    Included on the first disc is not only the original North American pilot episode but also the alternate European pilot, which contains a drastically different ending that reveals the identity of Laura's murderer. Absolutely do not watch this version of the pilot until you've gone through the regular episodes or the whole first season is going to be completely spoiled for you. This is presented in full HD with DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio.

    DISC TWO:

    The second disc in the set includes a large still gallery for season one and a collection of a half dozen ‘Tonight On Twin Peaks…’ network promos.

    DISC THREE:

    Found here is the nearly hour featurette A Slice Of Lynch: Uncut which is an interesting sit down chat with the man himself. Set inside a familiar looking tavern, Lynch orders a slice of cherry pie while images from the series flash through his mind. Three cast-members show up (Kyle MacLachlan, John Wentworth and Madchen Amick) and a discussion ensues, and we learn why David Lynch calls Kyle MacLachlan Kale instead. We learn about the casting of the show and what it was like to work on it, and there are some fun back and forth moments here where Lynch talks about the core sacred mystery of the show which served as a tree, holding the other mysteries of the show as its branches. Lynch talks about shooting the core moment with 'Bob' and he wiggles his fingers a lot. Lynch might be getting stranger with age, but either way, this is a fun conversation. It’s also a good twenty minutes longer than the version that was included on the DVD release years back.

    Also found on disc three is a still gallery for season two and five minutes of original network promo spots that were shot when the show was still being aired: There's No Place Like Home / T-Shirt Ad / Holiday Greeting / Patriot Greeting / Big Game Promo

    DISC FOUR:

    The best extra on disc four is the inclusion of roughly fifteen minutes of deleted scenes: Cooper And Donna Talk About Picnic / Picnic / Cooper And Truman At Gazebo / Mayor's Speech / Lucy And Raccoons / 16mm Period Piece / Bobby Coaches Shelly / Lucy And Deputy Andy / Jerry's Wandering Eye / 27 Going On 6 / Lucy, Andy And Donuts / Something About Johnny. There are also two minutes of outtakes here featuring Kyle MacLachlan and Michael Ontkean.

    DISC FIVE:

    On disc five we find The Glastonbury Archives which is seventy five minutes of archival featurettes and interviews from the older DVD releases along with some other random bits and pieces that will be of interest to fans. Found here are the 17 Pieces Of Pie: Shooting At The Mar T Diner, a Mark Frost Interview For Wrapped In Plastic, the Learning To Speak In The Red Room ‘instructional’ video, An Introduction To David Lynch, all of the original six Lucy bumpers created for the show, a 1-900 Hotline promo spot and a selection of Production Documents and still galleries.

    In the twenty minute Return To Twin Peaks we see some of the Washington locations as they look today as well as clips of some of the co-coordinators of the show speaking at the convention. Disc five also includes an eight minute Twin Peaks Location Guide that serves as an interesting, albeit fairly brief, look at each one of the main locations used throughout the series’ run.

    DISC SIX:

    Disc six includes an eight minute Twin Peaks Location Guide that serves as an interesting, albeit fairly brief, look at each one of the main locations used throughout the series’ run. Also on this disc is a collection of interviews with Kyle MacLachlan, Richard Beymer, Michael Anderson, Kimmy Robertson, Everett McGill, Wendy Robie, Grace Zabriskie, Dana Ashbrook, Peggy Lipton, Ray Wise, Sheryl Lee, Miguel Ferrer, Madchen Amick, Don Davis, Al Strobel, Michael Horse, Piper Laurie, James Marshall, Russ Tamblyn and Catherine Coulson. This is all found under the Postcards From The Cast banner and all totaled there’s about an hour of material here. A minute of additional network promos rounds out the supplements on disc six.

    DISC SEVEN:

    There’s an hour and six minutes of cast and crew interviews on this disc, so look for more input from Kyle MacLachlan, Madchen Amick, Sherilyn Fenn, Dana Ashbrook, Gary Hershberger, James Marshall, David Duchovny, Kimmy Reobertson, Don Davis, Mary Jo Deschanel, Lenny Von Dohlen, Charlotte Sewart, Robyn Lively, Jennifer Lynch, Todd Holland, Caleb Deschanel, Duwayne Dunham, Stephen Gyllenhaal and Tim Hunter.

    DISC EIGHT:

    Found on disc eight is the one hundred and six minute Secrets From Another Place: Creating Twin Peaks featurette which is a fantastic feature length documentary that contains interviews with a wealth of people involved in various aspects of the series. Divided into four chapters (watch them on their own or through the 'play all' button), this documentary covers creating the pilot, creating season one, creating the music and creating season two. Look for interviews here with Mark Frost, Kyle MacLachlan, Madchen Amick, Angelo Badalamenti, Jula Bell, Julee Cruise, Joan Chen, Catherine E. Coulson, Don S. Davis, Caleb and Mary Jo Deschanel, Sherilyn Fenn, Miguel Ferrar, Todd Holland, Richard Hoover, Piper Laurie, Sheryl Lee, Ray Wise and more. Through these interviews and a bunch of behind the scenes photos we're taken through pretty much the entire history of the series from start to finish. We learn about casting, location shooting, what it was like working with CBS, set design, the score, art direction and more. It's an extremely extensive piece and a total joy for any fan of the series.

    DISC NINE:

    As to Fire Walk With Me, which is included on disc nine, the main extra here is the inclusion of the so-called Missing Pieces, which accounts to over ninety minutes of material shot but excised from the theatrical cut of the feature. They appear here, all in high definition, as deleted/extended scenes:

    Desmond's Mo / Say Hello To Jack / Good Morning Irene / This One's Coming From J. Edgar / Cooper And Diane / Stanley's Apartment / Buenos Aires / Above The Convenience Store / Mike Is The Man / Sharing A Cigarette / School Books / The Palmers / Laura's Party / 2x4 / Kind Of Quiet / Best Friends / I'm The Muffin / The Ring / Bob Speaks Through Laura / Blue Sweater / Sunday At The Johnson's / Smash Up / The Power And The Glory / Fire Walk With Me / Party Girl / Don't Forget / Laura's Secret Stash / Bernie The Mule / I Killed Someone / Baby Laxative / Send Me A Kiss / Asparagus / Bobby And Laura In The Basement / Goodnight Lucy / Waiting For James / Distant Screams / Lonesome Foghorn Blows / Epilogue

    There are also roughly five minutes of archival interviews with Ray Wise, Sheryl Lee, Moira Kelly and Madchen Amick included on the Fire Walk With Me disc in which they talk rather briefly about their work on the picture.

    Note that the 2014 Blu-ray release included a tenth disc in the set that contained a few additional supplements: Between Two Worlds, Moving Through Time: Fire Walk With Me Memories, Reflections On The Phenomena Of Twin Peaks, Atmosperhics, trailers and a still gallery. That tenth disc has not been included in this 2016 reissue set (which is fair as it’s being offered at a lower price). Additionally, the packaging has been changed a bit, it’s thinner and less ornate.

    Each disc in the set also includes menus and episode/chapter selection.

    The Final Word:

    If you’ve already got the 2014 Blu-ray collection then you won’t need this new Twin Peaks: The Original Series, Fire Walk With Me & The Missing Pieces boxed set. However, if you haven’t picked up that set and want a more affordable, scaled down version to catch up with the show before the new series starts next year, this is an excellent way to do just that.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!


















































    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      I grabbed the 2014 version, if anyone hasn't gotten this set yet, get on it. Fire Walk With Me looks stunning, and the 90 minutes of cut scenes are edited together so well that it plays like a separate feature.