This series was selected as one of the "best video essays of 2014" by Kevin B. Lee at Fandor
Twin Peaks has entertained, frustrated, and challenged generations of viewers - and will continue to do so when it returns in 2016. Once you fall under its spell, the presence of this moody, mysterious world is hard to shake. I created Journey Through Twin Peaks as a companion for all kinds of Twin Peaks fans: the passionate enthusiast, always looking for new clues and avenues; the veteran viewer, who hasn't seen the show in years but is considering a re-visit; the enthusiastic newcomer, fresh from a first viewing and bursting with questions; and even the curious outsider, ready to take a first trip into these dark woods.
Each chapter avoids plot spoilers for upcoming episodes, but you should check my descriptions and spoiler warnings just to be on the safe side. If you don't want to know anything about the narrative shape of the story - if/when the mystery ends, who/what the film is about - don't scroll beyond the episodes you've seen. I would love to hear feedback from anyone who watches these videos alongside their first viewing of Twin Peaks; however, there's also something to be said for flying blind. I had no idea what I was getting into when I pressed play on that first disc years ago, and have been reeling from the aftershocks ever since.
Journey Through Twin Peaks analyzes the Twin Peaks narrative in chronological order, from pilot to feature film (with occasional character/subject asides that look back but not forward). You can break it into installments, watching each chapter as it becomes relevant to your own journey. Or you can jump directly into the chapters that interest you most - "The Twin Peaks Mythology" and "7 Facts About Fire Walk With Me" have proved particularly popular as standalones. Some have also marathoned the videos immediately after finishing Twin Peaks, treating them as a lengthy documentary epilogue. "What did I just see?" is a pretty common response to a first - or even second, third, fourth - viewing of the show and film. I've asked that myself many times, which is how this project came to be.
The first Twin Peaks cycle was born an acclaimed television phenomenon and died a reviled box-office flop. In between, David Lynch's and Mark Frost's visions sharply diverged, on everything from the central mystery to Cooper's character - they even disagreed on what the show was fundamentally about. These videos do visit the creative differences between Lynch and Frost, and touch on the larger context of Twin Peaks' reversal of fortune (a subject explored more extensively elsewhere on this blog), but their primary purpose is to reveal the series and film, together, as a complete, effective work of art. Despite the detours, dead ends, and disagreements involved in its making, Twin Peaks is not simply the failed experiment that media narratives lead us to believe.
So pour the coffee, slice up the cherry pie, and queue up the pilot episode. The journey starts right now, with this preview (cross-posted on YouTube)...