Combustible Celluloid

Twin Peaks: The Second Season (1991)

4 Stars (out of 4)

'Twin'-Win Situation

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Buy Twin Peaks: The Second Season on DVD

At last, after Artisan released the seven episodes that comprised the first season of "Twin Peaks" all the way back in 2001, Paramount finishes the job. Their new six-disc set contains the final 22 episodes of one of the greatest TV shows of all time, aired between September of 1990 and June of 1991. During the first season, creators David Lynch and Mark Frost managed to pique viewer interest with their "Who Killed Laura Palmer" gimmick, but by the time Season Two arrived with no killer in sight, most viewers became impatient. Cult fans never gave up though, and kept plowing through the show's odd rhythms, meaningful (or meaningless) exchanges and soapy plot twists. Certainly by today's standards, the show no longer feels terribly unique -- except, of course, in its creepy Lynchian "Black Lodge" sequences. But without its innovations, many subsequent shows (from "Northern Exposure" all the way up to "Lost") wouldn't exist. Lynch himself directed several episodes of Season Two, including the two-hour opener.

One of the tricks accomplished in Season Two was keeping Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) in town, even after Laura's killer finally surfaced, and so Lynch and Frost kept adding new layers of mystery, even bringing in a new girl, Annie (Heather Graham) to pique Cooper's interest. The rest of the familiar cast returns, including Sheriff Harry S. Truman (Michael Ontkean), a batch of former "B" movie stars, and the famous "Twin Peaks" girls: Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle), Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn), Shelly (Madchen Amick), Maddy/Laura (Sheryl Lee) and Graham.

Of course, Lynch and Frost's magnum opus was unceremoniously shut down before it could run its cycle, and so the last episode in the box closes on what could be called a cliffhanger ("Where's Annie?"). But at the same time, it still feels like a closure -- dark and horrifying, yes, but a closure.

DVD Details: Paramount's new box set includes six interviews with various and assorted writers and directors, including Jennifer Lynch (David's daughter) who wrote the book "The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer" that many viewers (myself included) read to try and gain insight into the series. Other interviewees include directors Caleb Deschanel and Stephen Gyllenhaal who later became famous fathers (of Zooey, and Jake and Maggie, respectively), as well as Tim Hunter (River's Edge) and former editor Duwayne Dunham. There's also an "interactive interview grid," optional "Log Lady" introductions (filmed later on for reruns) and optional subtitles. Now, if only someone could get on the ball and release the original two-hour pilot episode, as well as the overseas theatrical version (with a different ending), both of which Artisan failed to include in their Season One box.

See also: Twin Peaks: The First Season and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992).

Starring: Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Ontkean, Richard Beymer, Lara Flynn Boyle, Sherilyn Fenn, Warren Frost, Michael Horse, Harry Goaz, Madchen Amick, Dana Ashbrook, Peggy Lipton, Jack Nance, Everett McGill, James Marshall, Kimmy Robertson, Eric DaRe, Piper Laurie, Wendy Robie, Ray Wise, Joan Chen, Sheryl Lee, Russ Tamblyn, Don S. Davis, Grace Zabriskie, Gary Hershberger, Chris Mulkey, Frank Silva, Catherine E. Coulson, David Patrick Kelly, Miguel Ferrer, David Lynch, Heather Graham, Billy Zane, Michael J. Anderson, David Duchovny, David Warner, Ted Raimi, Julee Cruise, Royal Dano
Written by: Mark Frost, David Lynch, etc.
Directed by: David Lynch, Lesli Linka Glatter, Caleb Deschanel, Duwayne Dunham, Tim Hunter, Todd Holland
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 1081 minutes
Date: April 13, 2007

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