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Buy from Amazon

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Paramount Home Video presents
Twin Peaks: The Second Season (1990-91)

"The owls are not what they seem."
- The Giant (Carel Struycken)

Review By: Mark Zimmer  
Published: April 02, 2007

Stars: Kyle Maclachlan, Michael Ontkean
Other Stars: Joan Chen, Madchen Amick, Richard Beymer, Lara Flynn Boyle, Sherilynn Fenn, Warren Frost, Peggy Lipton, James Marshall, Everett McGill, Jack Nance, Ray Wise, Russ Tamblyn, Eric Da Re, Mary Jo Deschanel, Harry Goaz, Michael Horse, Grace Zabriskie, Kimmy Robertson, Don Davis, Catherine Coulson, Sheryl Lee, David Lynch, Al Strobel, Michael Anderson, David Patrick Kelly, Miguel Ferrer, Billy Zane, Heather Graham, Chris Mulkey, Dan O'Herlihy, Carel Strucken, Frank Silva, Lenny von Dohlen, David Duchovny, Kenneth Welsh, Hank Worden, Royal Dano, Julee Cruise
Director: David Lynch, Todd Holland, Caleb Deschanel, Duwayne Dunham, Stephen Gyllenhaal, Tim Hunter, Diane Keaton, Lesli Linka Glatter, Graeme Clifford, Tina Rathbourne, Uli Edel, Jonathan Sanger, James Foley

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (violence, sexual situations, prostitution, drug use, thematic elements)
Run Time: 18h:00m:57s
Release Date: April 03, 2007
UPC: 097360383447
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A+ AB+B+ B-

DVD Review

The long, long wait is finally over. More than five years after season one of the epochal television series Twin Peaks, created by David Lynch and Mark Frost, was released on DVD, and after a series of rights transfers, the second season has arrived from CBS/Paramount DVD. Whether the wait was worth it is an open question, but the series itself was definitely worth the wait.

The mystery of the murder of homecoming queen Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) in the Northwest logging town of Twin Peaks continues, investigated by local sheriff Harry Truman (Michael Ontkean) and FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), who believes this is the work of a serial killer he has encountered before. Also working on the mystery are Laura's teenage friends, Donna Hayward (Lara Flynn Boyle), James Hurley (James Marshall) and Laura's identical cousin Maddie (Lee). Other denizens of Twin Peaks range from the zany, such as crazy Nadine Hurley (Wendy Robie) or weeping deputy Andy Brennan (Harry Goaz), to the sinister such as sociopathic tycoon Ben Horne (Richard Beymer) and suspicious psychiatrist Lawrence Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn). Storylines intertwine in various surprising ways as murder and mayhem, blackmail and extortion, and romance and lust interact. And along the way there's plenty of pie, doughnuts and good black coffee.

Although the first season of Twin Peaks was an enormous success, the expectations for the second season worked to help do the series in. There was a certain impatience with the slowness that the series pursued the murder of Laura Palmer, causing many viewers to tune out in frustration. When the killer was revealed about halfway through the second season, then the loss of the energy that storyline provided was felt quite seriously. As the Log Lady (Catherine Coulson) says in her introduction to the episode where the identity of the murderer is revealed, "There is a depression after an answer is given. It was almost fun not knowing." The story tries to continue with a storyline about Cooper being under suspension for his actions, and then facing off against his mad former partner, Windom Earle (Kenneth Welsh) in a complex cat and mouse game. Unfortunately, the show was cancelled before the latter could really develop, resulting in a great many loose ends (such as a chess game that figures prominently in a few episodes, but ultimately goes nowhere).

Despite the limitations forced upon the show by its sudden cancellation, the second season is nonetheless still very strong. The writing is impeccable, supported by marvelous characterizations that form a vast panorama of the grim underbelly of life in a picture-perfect small town, a theme previously explored by Lynch in Blue Velvet. There is a little too much dependence on people going insane, which occasionally feels like a crutch, or an opportunity to add some gratuitous quirkiness to the story. But the comedy relief weirdness is absolutely necessary; without it the grim aspects of the series would be too much to take. That's particularly true in the episode in which the murderer of Laura is revealed, which remains one of the most shocking moments ever aired on network television. That's true not just for the identity of the killer, but for the incredibly brutal and visceral manner in which the reveal is accomplished.

As the story wheels towards its conclusion, there's an ever-deepening interest in mysticism, centering on a darkness lurking in the primeval forests, with pagan elements of esotericism, loosely based on such writers as Dion Fortune. The concluding segments featuring the mystery of the Black Lodge, which seems to intersect with the lair of the Man from Another Place (Michael J. Anderson), as well as being decorated in a manner not unlike the mysterious casino/brothel One-Eyed Jacks owned by Ben Horne. Lynch is if nothing else a master of evoking the subconscious and appealing to surreal elements. Nightmarish and impossible things happen, but in the bizarre atmosphere so lovingly created here they seem not only possible but natural. Some matters are left as total mysteries, such as the connection between Josie Packard (Joan Chen) and a strange drawer pull, or the cryptic finale that still offers plenty of puzzles. The nature of the terrifying "Bob" (Frank Silva) is never quite explained, but certain dialogue exchanges suggest that he may be a manifestation of psychic pain after a decades-before molestation, wreaking havoc through supernatural means.

Angelo Badalamenti again provides the cool jazzy score, with a moody depth and an emotional content that works through its surface simplicity. The show is hardly unimaginable without Badalamenti evoking the pain, romanticism and fear lurking in the town. The series still holds up exceptionally well, and remains even in its slightly lesser second season one of the best things ever to air on television. Returning to it again on this set is not only absorbing but moving all over again. Now, if only Warner (or whoever now owns the rights) would see fit to release a proper region 1 version of the pilot episode on DVD.

Rating for Style: A+
Rating for Substance: A

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: The original full-frame picture is quite attractive, and a big improvement over those now aging videotapes. Color is rich (especially those deep reds that crop up throughout the series), and shadows are deep and dark. Detail is quite good and grain is not a problem. Mosquito noise is occasionally visible but not overly prominent. The Log Lady introductions appear to be taken from a videotape source and accordingly are much inferior, lacking in clarity and crispness.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Spanish, Portugueseyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The 5.1 English track benefits Badalamenti's score most of all, with the synths in the surrounds being highly evocative. Most dialogue is center-bound, though there are occasional foley effects that are a little startling in their directionality. Hiss and noise are virtually nonexistent.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish, Portuguese with remote access
1 Other Trailer(s) featuring Inland Empire
1 Documentaries
6 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Box Set
Picture Disc
6 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Introductions by the Log Lady
Extras Review: After the lavish presentation of the season one set by Artisan (now long out of print and demanding enormous prices in the secondary market), the extras here seem a little lackluster. There are no commentaries or deleted scenes, but there are five three-to-four minute featurettes that feature a number of directors in the second season (but of course, not Lynch himself). A sixth one centers on his daughter, Jennifer Lynch, and her authorship of Laura Palmer's diary, which is one of the most interesting of the grouping. Alas, they're too brief to get into any depth. The sixth disc includes an "interactive grid" that allows you to see about a minute of interview with a dozen of the actors (including MacLachlan, Sherilyn Fenn and David Duchovny, who had a memorable turn as a transvestive DEA agent in a few episodes). These cover how each actor got involved in the series, anecdotes about the production, and a summary of the actor's thoughts on the legacy of the series. These can be viewed by actor, by subject matter, or all of them can be played one after another (totalling a substantial 38m:54s documentary). Disc one features a trailer for Lynch's upcoming film Inland Empire. Each episode may be played with the optional introduction by the Log Lady, packed with cryptic non sequiturs and obscure hints, which originally were filmed when the program was re-run on Bravo. They're definitely a valuable addition even if they raise more questions than they answer. There's also a handy "Play All" button.

Extras Grade: B-

 

Final Comments

One of the great television series is just as haunting in its second and final season, and this long-awaited set finally returns us to the endlessly fascinating world of David Lynch. Most highly recommended.

 


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