PEDESTRIAN.TV has partnered with Stan to celebrate the launch of the brand new Twin Peaks (streaming now exclusively on Stan).
Something funny happens when you follow modern shows back far enough, though: they all wind up at Twin Peaks. All of them. While we don’t have the bandwidth to host the great chart in our collective minds that proves this fact, it is possible to point out a few of the most obvious examples of this excellent phenomena.
Across genres, years, and even mediums, we reckon these shows can thank David Lynch and Mark Frost for their 90s groundbreaker. And, with Twin Peaks: The Return now out in the wild, there hasn’t been a better time to crack out the coffee and do some investigating.
Look, nearly every teen drama of the past decade or so owes a debt of gratitude to Twin Peaks, largely due to how Lynch and Frost used their younger characters. It showed high school kids as, well, adults: they got caught up in sex work. They were deep into hard drugs. When they weren’t sinking cold ones at the Roadhouse, they played instrumental roles in the investigation into Laura Palmer’s death.
A heap of shows have borrowed from that playbook, but perhaps none as obviously as Riverdale. It features a wild series of parallels to Twin Peaks, and if you’ve seen both, the Archie Comics-inspired show often feels like a straight-up homage. When Archie, Jughead and crew aren’t doing their own sleuthing into the death of one of their own, they’re plotting drug deals with bikers and burning shit to the ground.
That’s not even getting into the show’s visual style and overall tone, which leans hard on Twin Peaks’ dimly-lit depiction of a small town and its seedy underbelly.
Oh, Mädchen Amick’s in both, too. That counts for something, right?
Donald Glover, showrunner and overall genius behind Atlanta, quite famously said “I just always wanted to make Twin Peaks with rappers.” The resulting product does assume elements of the 90s cult hit, but probably not the ones you’d first expect.
While there are pockets of left-field surrealism dabbed around the show, it’s easier to see Twin Peaks‘ influence in terms of place. Atlanta is a show defined, literally and figuratively, by its location. Glover ruminates on the mystic weirdness of a neighbourhood fried chicken joint with the same reverence Lynch showed a pie-slinging diner; chirping insects in the summer night echo hooting owls in the cold northwest.
Don’t come into Atlanta expecting the all-or-nothing acting vibe of Twin Peaks. Do take notice of the contemplative silence, its deliberate pace, and utterly immersive vibe. We’ll also grant you Darius, the closest modern television analogue to the iconic Log Lady.
If you wanted to make Twin Peaks for kids, you’d probably end up with something a lil’ like Gravity Falls. Aside from the copious wink-and-a-nod references, the way that two-season wonder handled precocious young guns in a distinctly odd pocket of the Pacific Northwest felt mighty familiar.
The show’s creator Alex Hirsch even admitted as much, saying he thought he’d “acknowledge [Twin Peaks] with some design choices that influence. I’ve been very surprised and pleased that people have picked up on it and embraced it.”
Animation allows its masterminds to head off in all kinds of wondrous directions, so it shouldn’t be a surprise Twin Peaks‘ influence has been felt in that traditionally kid-focussed art form.
Twin Peaks initially buried its oddness within the tropes of deliberately sappy soap operas, and it allowed Lynch and Frost to slowly introduce its audience to the dark wonders underneath. In 2014, Nic Pizzolatto found an audience who’d been prepped for that crushing bleakness, so his show True Detective got right on with it.
A howling maw of a first season saw Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson riff on each other like a nihilistic, hollowed-out Dale Cooper and Sheriff Harry Truman, as they investigated – you guessed it – the murder of a young woman. Once again, what could have been a solid crime procedural spiralled out into something cagey and unknown; watching the first series’ mind-expanding finale, you have to draw comparisons to Twin Peaks.
Time is a flat circle, and that gum you like is coming back in style.
Oh, you didn’t actually think we’d omit this one, did you?
Much has been written about Lost and how its interwoven mysteries borrowed from Twin Peaks, but a few years on, what sticks out most about the genre-bending show is the community it created. Each and every week, viewers shared their theories on black clouds, polar bears, plane crashes and walking paraplegics; ask your cool auntie about her time catching Twin Peaks the first time around, and she’d probably tell you the exact same thing.
It was visionary. It was off-kilter. It took viewers to unexpected places, but its lush palms were really never that different from those rich Douglas firs.
Don’t forget the only place you can catch the brand new Twin Peaks is over on Stan, so get on over there and sign up for your 30-day free trial and start the binge.
Photo: Riverdale / Supplied / Atlanta.