Twin Peaks is an American mystery horror drama television series
Mark Frost and
David Lynch that premiered on April 8, 1990,
on ABC. It was one of the top-rated series of 1990, but declining
ratings led to its cancellation after its second season in 1991. It
nonetheless gained a cult following and has been referenced in a wide
variety of media. In subsequent years,
Twin Peaks has
often been listed among the greatest television series of all
The series follows an investigation headed by
Special Agent Dale
Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) into the murder of homecoming queen Laura
Palmer (Sheryl Lee) in the fictional town of Twin Peaks, Washington.
The narrative draws on elements of detective fiction, but its uncanny
tone, supernatural elements, and campy, melodramatic portrayal of
eccentric characters also draw on American soap opera and horror
tropes. Like much of Lynch's work, it is distinguished
by surrealism and offbeat humor, as well as distinctive
cinematography. The show's acclaimed score was composed by Angelo
Badalamenti in collaboration with Lynch.
Twin Peaks was followed by a 1992 feature film, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk
with Me, that serves as a prequel to the television series. Following
a hiatus of over 25 years, the show returned in May 2017 as a limited
series, also known as Twin Peaks: The Return and appearing on
Showtime. The series comprised 18 episodes written by Lynch and Frost,
and was directed by Lynch. Many original cast members, including
1.1 Season one
1.2 Season two
2.1 Main cast
2.2 Secondary cast
2.3 Recurring cast
3.4 Filming locations
4.1 Critical acclaim
4.2 Declining ratings
6.1 Home media releases
6.2 Books and audio
7 Theatrical film
8.1 Limited series
11 External links
Main article: List of
Twin Peaks episodes
April 8, 1990 (1990-04-08)
May 23, 1990 (1990-05-23)
September 30, 1990 (1990-09-30)
June 10, 1991 (1991-06-10)
Fire Walk with Me
August 28, 1992 (1992-08-28)
May 21, 2017 (2017-05-21)
September 3, 2017 (2017-09-03)
Season one of
Twin Peaks focuses on the mystery of who killed Laura
Palmer (played by Sheryl Lee, pictured in 1990).
In 1989, logger
Pete Martell discovers a naked corpse wrapped in
plastic on the bank of a river outside the town of Twin Peaks,
Washington. When Sheriff Harry S. Truman, his deputies, and Dr. Will
Hayward arrive, the body is identified as homecoming queen Laura
Palmer. A badly injured second girl, Ronette Pulaski, is discovered in
a fugue state.
Dale Cooper is called in to investigate. Cooper's
initial examination of Laura's body reveals a tiny typed letter "R"
inserted under her fingernail. Cooper informs the community that
Laura's death matches the signature of a killer who murdered another
girl in southwestern Washington the previous year, and that evidence
indicates the killer lives in Twin Peaks.
The authorities discover through Laura's diary that she has been
living a double life. She was cheating on her boyfriend, football
captain Bobby Briggs, with biker James Hurley, and prostituting
herself with the help of truck driver Leo Johnson and drug dealer
Jacques Renault. Laura was also addicted to cocaine, which she
obtained by coercing Bobby into doing business with Jacques.
Laura's father, attorney Leland Palmer, suffers a nervous breakdown.
Her best friend, Donna Hayward, begins a relationship with James. With
the help of Laura's cousin Maddy Ferguson, Donna and James discover
that Laura's psychiatrist, Dr. Lawrence Jacoby, was obsessed with
Laura, but he is proven innocent of the murder.
Hotelier Ben Horne, the richest man in Twin Peaks, plans to destroy
the town's lumber mill along with its owner Josie Packard, and murder
his lover (Josie's sister-in-law),
Catherine Martell (Piper Laurie),
so that he can purchase the land at a reduced price and complete a
development project, Ghostwood. Horne's sultry, troubled daughter,
Audrey, becomes infatuated with Cooper and spies for clues in an
effort to gain his affections.
Cooper has a dream in which he is approached by a one-armed
otherworldly being who calls himself MIKE.
MIKE says that Laura's
murderer is a similar entity, Killer BOB, a feral, denim-clad man with
long gray hair. Cooper finds himself decades older with Laura and a
dwarf in a red business suit, who engages in coded dialogue with
Cooper. The next morning, Cooper tells Truman that, if he can decipher
the dream, he will know who killed Laura.
Cooper and the sheriff's department find the one-armed man from
Cooper's dream, a traveling shoe salesman named Phillip Gerard. Gerard
knows a Bob, the veterinarian who treats Renault's pet bird. Cooper
interprets these events to mean that Renault is the murderer and, with
Truman's help, tracks Renault to One-Eyed Jack's, a brothel owned by
Horne across the border in Canada. He lures
Jacques Renault back onto
U.S. soil to arrest him, but Renault is shot while trying to escape
and is hospitalized.
Leland, learning that Renault has been arrested, sneaks into the
hospital and murders him. The same night, Horne orders Leo to burn
down the lumber mill with Catherine trapped inside and has Leo gunned
down by Hank Jennings to ensure Leo's silence. Cooper returns to his
room following Jacques's arrest and is shot by a masked gunman.
After solving the murder of Laura Palmer, Kyle MacLachlan's (pictured
here in 1991) character of
Dale Cooper stays in
Twin Peaks to
Lying hurt in his room, Cooper has a vision in which a giant appears
and reveals three clues: "There is a man in a smiling bag"; "The owls
are not what they seem"; and "Without chemicals, he points." He takes
Cooper's gold ring and explains that when Cooper understands the three
premonitions, his ring will be returned.
Leo Johnson survives his shooting but is brain-damaged. Catherine
Martell disappears, presumed killed in the mill fire. Leland Palmer,
whose hair has turned white overnight, returns to work but behaves
erratically. Cooper deduces that the "man in the smiling bag" is the
Jacques Renault in a body bag.
MIKE is inhabiting the body of Phillip Gerard. His personality
surfaces when Gerard forgoes the use of a certain drug.
that he and BOB once collaborated in killing humans and that BOB is
similarly inhabiting a man in the town. Cooper and the sheriff's
department use MIKE, in control of Gerard's body, to help find BOB
("without chemicals, he points".)
Donna befriends an agoraphobic orchid grower named Harold Smith whom
Laura entrusted with a second, secret diary she kept. Harold catches
Donna and Maddy attempting to steal the diary from him and hangs
himself in despair. Cooper and the sheriff's department take
possession of Laura's secret diary, and learn that BOB, a friend of
her father's, had been sexually abusing her since childhood and she
used drugs to cope. They initially suspect that the killer is Ben
Horne and arrest him, but
Leland Palmer is revealed to viewers to be
BOB's host when he brutally kills Maddy.
Cooper begins to doubt Horne's guilt, so he gathers all of his
suspects in the belief that he will receive a sign to help him
identify the killer. The Giant appears and confirms that Leland is
BOB's host and Laura's and Maddy's killer, giving Cooper back his
ring. Cooper and Truman take Leland into custody. In control of
Leland's body, BOB admits to a string of murders, before forcing
Leland to commit suicide. Leland, as he dies, is freed of BOB's
influence and begs for forgiveness. BOB's spirit disappears into the
woods in the form of an owl and the lawmen wonder if he will reappear.
Cooper is set to leave
Twin Peaks when he is framed for drug
Jean Renault and is suspended from the FBI. Renault
holds Cooper responsible for the death of his brothers, Jacques and
Jean Renault is killed in a shootout with police, and Cooper
is cleared of all charges.
Windom Earle, Cooper's former mentor and
FBI partner, escapes from a
mental institution and comes to Twin Peaks. Cooper had previously been
having an affair with Earle's wife, Caroline, while she was under his
protection as a witness to a federal crime. Earle murdered Caroline
and wounded Cooper. He now engages Cooper in a twisted game of chess
where Earle murders someone whenever a piece is captured.
Investigating BOB's origin and whereabouts with the help of Major
Garland Briggs, Cooper learns of the existence of the White Lodge and
the Black Lodge, two extra-dimensional realms whose entrances are
somewhere in the woods surrounding Twin Peaks.
Catherine returns to town in disguise, having survived the mill fire,
Ben Horne into signing the Ghostwood project over to
her. Andrew Packard, Josie's husband, is revealed to be still alive.
Josie Packard is revealed to be the person who shot Cooper at the end
of the first season. Andrew forces Josie to confront his business
rival and her tormentor from Hong Kong, the sinister Thomas Eckhardt.
Josie kills Eckhardt but she mysteriously dies when Truman and Cooper
try to apprehend her.
Cooper falls in love with a new arrival in town, Annie Blackburn.
Earle captures the brain-damaged Leo for use as a henchman and
abandons his chess game with Cooper. When Annie wins the Miss Twin
Peaks contest, Earle kidnaps her and takes her to the entrance to the
Black Lodge, whose power he seeks to use for himself.
Through a series of clues Cooper discovers the entrance to the Black
Lodge, which turns out to be the strange, red-curtained room from his
dream. He is greeted by the Man From Another Place, the Giant, and
Laura Palmer, who each give Cooper cryptic messages. Searching for
Annie and Earle, Cooper encounters doppelgängers of various people,
Maddy Ferguson and Leland Palmer. Cooper finds Earle, who
demands Cooper's soul in exchange for Annie's life. Cooper agrees but
BOB appears and takes Earle's soul for himself. BOB then turns to
Cooper, who is chased through the lodge by a doppelgänger of himself.
Outside the lodge, Andrew Packard,
Pete Martell and
Audrey Horne are
caught in an explosion at a bank vault, a trap laid by the dead
Cooper and Annie reappear in the woods, both injured. Annie is taken
to hospital but Cooper recovers in his room at the Great Northern
Hotel. It becomes clear that the "Cooper" who emerged from the Lodge
is in fact his doppelgänger, under BOB's control. He smashes his head
into a bathroom mirror and laughs maniacally.
Main article: List of
Twin Peaks characters
Kyle MacLachlan as
Special Agent Dale Cooper
Michael Ontkean as Sheriff Harry S. Truman
Mädchen Amick as Shelly Johnson
Dana Ashbrook as Bobby Briggs
Richard Beymer as Benjamin Horne
Lara Flynn Boyle
Lara Flynn Boyle as Donna Hayward
Sherilyn Fenn as Audrey Horne
Warren Frost as Dr. Will Hayward
Peggy Lipton as Norma Jennings
James Marshall as James Hurley
Everett McGill as Ed Hurley
Jack Nance as Pete Martell
Ray Wise as Leland Palmer
Joan Chen as Jocelyn Packard
Piper Laurie as Catherine Martell
Kimmy Robertson as Lucy Moran
Eric Da Re as Leo Johnson
Harry Goaz as Deputy Sheriff Andy Brennan
Michael Horse as Deputy Sheriff Tommy "Hawk" Hill
Sheryl Lee as
Laura Palmer and Madeline "Maddy" Ferguson
Russ Tamblyn as Dr. Lawrence Jacoby
Kenneth Welsh as Windom Earle
Wendy Robie as Nadine Hurley
Don Davis as Major Garland Briggs
Chris Mulkey as Hank Jennings
Gary Hershberger as Mike Nelson
Grace Zabriskie as Sarah Palmer
Catherine E. Coulson as Margaret Lanterman ("The Log Lady")
Ian Buchanan as Dick Tremayne
Mary Jo Deschanel as Eileen Hayward
Frank Silva as Killer BOB
Al Strobel as Phillip Michael Gerard /
MIKE ("The One-Armed Man")
David Patrick Kelly as Jerry Horne
Miguel Ferrer as
Special Agent Albert Rosenfield
John Boylan as Mayor Dwayne Milford
Victoria Catlin as Blackie O'Reilly
Charlotte Stewart as Betty Briggs
David Lynch as Bureau Chief Gordon Cole
Heather Graham as Annie Blackburn
Robyn Lively as Lana Budding Milford
Dan O'Herlihy as Andrew Packard
Billy Zane as John Justice Wheeler
Don Amendolia as Emory Battis
James Booth as Ernie Niles
Michael Parks as Jean Renault
Carel Struycken as The Giant
Phoebe Augustine as Ronette Pulaski
Robert Bauer as Johnny Horne
Lenny Von Dohlen as Harold Smith
Hank Worden as The Elderly Room Service Waiter
Michael J. Anderson
Michael J. Anderson as The Man from Another Place
Jan D'Arcy as Sylvia Horne
David Duchovny as DEA Agent Denise Bryson
Tony Jay as Dougie Milford
Walter Olkewicz as Jacques Renault
David Warner as Thomas Eckhardt
In the 1980s,
Mark Frost worked for three years as a writer for the
television police drama Hill Street Blues, which featured a large cast
and extended story lines. Following his success with The Elephant
Man (1980) and Blue Velvet in 1986,
David Lynch was hired by a Warner
Bros. executive to direct a film about the life of Marilyn Monroe,
based on the best-selling book Goddess. Lynch recalls being "sort of
interested. I loved the idea of this woman in trouble, but I didn't
know if I liked it being a real story." Lynch and Frost first
worked together on the Goddess screenplay and although the project was
dropped by Warner Bros., they became good friends. They went on to
work as writer and director for One Saliva Bubble, a film with Steve
Martin attached to star, but it was never made either. Lynch's agent,
Tony Krantz, encouraged him to do a television show. He took Lynch to
Nibblers restaurant in Los Angeles and said, "You should do a show
about real life in America—your vision of America the same way you
demonstrated it in Blue Velvet." Lynch got an "idea of a small-town
thing," and though he and Frost were not keen on it, they decided to
humor Krantz. Frost wanted to tell "a sort of Dickensian story about
multiple lives in a contained area that could sort of go perpetually."
Originally, the show was to be titled
North Dakota and set in the
Plains region of North Dakota.
After Frost, Krantz, and Lynch rented a screening room in Beverly
Hills and screened Peyton Place, they decided to develop the town
before its inhabitants. Due to the lack of forests and
mountains in North Dakota, the title was changed from
North Dakota to
Northwest Passage (the title of the pilot episode), and the location
to the Pacific Northwest, specifically Washington. They then
drew a map and decided that there would be a lumber mill in the
town. Then they came up with an image of a body washing up on the
shore of a lake. Lynch remembers, "We knew where everything
was located and that helped us determine the prevailing atmosphere and
what might happen there." Frost remembers that he and Lynch came
up with the notion of the girl next door leading a "desperate double
life" that would end in murder. The idea was inspired, in part, by
the unsolved 1908 murder of Hazel Irene Drew in Sand Lake, New
Lynch and Frost pitched the idea to ABC during the 1988 Writers Guild
of America strike in a ten-minute meeting with the network's drama
head, Chad Hoffman, with nothing more than this image and a
concept. According to the director, the mystery of who killed
Laura Palmer was initially going to be in the foreground, but would
recede gradually as viewers got to know the other townsfolk and the
problems they were having. Lynch and Frost wanted to mix a police
investigation with a soap opera. ABC liked the idea and asked
Lynch and Frost to write a screenplay for the pilot episode. They had
been talking about the project for three months and wrote the
screenplay in 10 days. Frost wrote more verbal characters, like
Benjamin Horne, while Lynch was responsible for Agent Cooper.
According to the director, "He says a lot of the things I say."
ABC Entertainment President Brandon Stoddard ordered the two-hour
pilot for a possible fall 1989 series. He left the position in March
1989 as Lynch went into production. They filmed the pilot for $4
million with an agreement with ABC that they would shoot an additional
"ending" to it so that it could be sold directly to video in Europe as
a feature film if the TV show was not picked up. ABC's Robert Iger
and his creative team took over, saw the dailies, and met with Frost
and Lynch to get the arc of the stories and characters. Although
Iger liked the pilot, he had difficulty persuading the rest of the
network executives. Iger suggested showing it to a more diverse,
younger group, who liked it, and the executive subsequently convinced
ABC to buy seven episodes at $1.1 million apiece. Some executives
figured that the show would never get on the air or that it might run
as a seven-hour mini-series, but Iger planned to schedule it for
the spring. The final showdown occurred during a bi-coastal conference
call between Iger and a room full of New York executives; Iger won,
Twin Peaks was on the air.
Each episode took a week to shoot and after directing the second
episode, Lynch went off to complete Wild at Heart while Frost wrote
the remaining segments.
Standards and Practices had a problem with
only one scene from the first season: an extreme close-up in the pilot
of Cooper's hand as he slid tweezers under Laura's fingernail and
removed a tiny "R". They wanted the scene to be shorter because it
made them uncomfortable, but Frost and Lynch refused and the scene
Veteran film actress
Piper Laurie (pictured here in 1990) helped
Twin Peaks cast.
Twin Peaks features members of a loose ensemble of Lynch's favorite
character actors, including Jack Nance, Kyle MacLachlan, Grace
Zabriskie, and Everett McGill. Isabella Rossellini, who had worked
with Lynch on Blue Velvet was originally cast as Giovanna Packard, but
she dropped out of the production before shooting began on the pilot
episode. The character was then reconceived as Josie Packard, of
Chinese ethnicity, and the role given to actress Joan Chen. It
casts several veteran actors who had risen to fame in the 1950s and
1960s, including 1950s film stars Richard Beymer, Piper Laurie, and
Russ Tamblyn. Other veteran actors included British actor James Booth
The Mod Squad
The Mod Squad star Peggy Lipton, and Michael Ontkean
who co-starred in the 1970s crime drama The Rookies. Kyle MacLachlan
was cast as Agent Dale Cooper. Stage actor Warren Frost, father of
Mark Frost, was cast as Dr. Will Hayward.
Due to budget constraints, Lynch intended to cast a local girl from
Seattle, reportedly "just to play a dead girl". The local girl
ended up being Sheryl Lee. Lynch stated "But no one—not Mark, me,
anyone—had any idea that she could act, or that she was going to be
so powerful just being dead." And then, while Lynch shot the home
movie that James takes of Donna and Laura, he realized that Lee had
something special. "She did do another scene—the video with Donna on
the picnic—and it was that scene that did it." As a result,
Sheryl Lee became a semi-regular addition to the cast, appearing in
flashbacks as Laura, and portraying another, recurring character:
Maddy Ferguson, Laura's similar-looking cousin.
The character of Phillip Gerard's appearance in the pilot episode was
only originally intended to be a "kind of homage to The Fugitive. The
only thing he was gonna do was be in this elevator and walk out,"
according to David Lynch. However, when Lynch wrote the "Fire walk
with me" speech, he imagined Al Strobel, who played Gerard, reciting
it in the basement of the
Twin Peaks hospital—a scene that appeared
in the European version of the pilot episode, and surfaced later in
Agent Cooper's dream sequence. Gerard's full name, Phillip Michael
Gerard, is also a reference to Lieutenant Phillip Gerard, a character
in The Fugitive. Lynch met
Michael J. Anderson
Michael J. Anderson in 1987. After seeing
him in a short film, Lynch wanted to cast the actor in the title role
in Ronnie Rocket, but that project failed to get made.
Richard Beymer was cast as
Ben Horne because he had known Johanna Ray,
Lynch's casting director. Lynch was familiar with Beymer's work in the
1961 film West Side Story and was surprised that Beymer was available
for the role.
Frank Silva was cast as the mysterious "Bob". Lynch
himself recalls that the idea originated when he overheard Silva
moving furniture around in the bedroom set, and then heard a woman
warning Silva not to block himself in by moving furniture in front of
the door. Lynch was struck with an image of Silva in the room. When he
learned that Silva was an actor, he filmed two panning shots, one with
Silva at the base of the bed, and one without; he did not yet know how
he would use this material. Later that day, during the filming of
Sarah Palmer having a vision, the camera operator told Lynch that the
shot was ruined because "Frank [Silva] was reflected in the mirror."
Lynch comments, "Things like this happen and make you start dreaming.
And one thing leads to another, and if you let it, a whole other thing
opens up." Lynch used the panning shot of Silva in the bedroom,
and the shot featuring Silva's reflection, in the closing scenes of
the European version of the pilot episode. Silva's reflection in the
mirror can also be glimpsed during the scene of Sarah's vision at the
end of the original pilot, but it is less clear. A close-up of Silva
in the bedroom later became a significant image in episodes of the TV
Main article: Music of Twin Peaks
Twin Peaks Theme"
A 30 second sample of Angelo Badalamenti's
Twin Peaks theme.
Problems playing this file? See media help.
The score for
Twin Peaks has received acclaim;
The Guardian wrote that
it "still marks the summit of TV soundtracks." In fall 1989,
Angelo Badalamenti and Lynch created the score for the show.
In 20 minutes they produced the signature theme for the series.
Badalamenti called it the "Love Theme from Twin Peaks". Lynch told
him, "You just wrote 75% of the score. It's the mood of the whole
piece. It is Twin Peaks." While creating the score, Lynch often
described the moods or emotions he wanted the music to evoke, and
Badalamenti began to play the piano. In the scenes dominated by young
men, they are accompanied by music that Badalamenti called Cool Jazz.
The characters' masculinity was enhanced by finger-snapping,
"cocktail-lounge electric piano, pulsing bass, and lightly brushed
percussion." A handful of the motifs were borrowed from the Julee
Cruise album Floating into the Night, which was written in large part
by Badalamenti and Lynch and was released in 1989. This album also
serves as the soundtrack to another Lynch project, Industrial Symphony
No. 1, a live Cruise performance also featuring Michael J. Anderson
("The Man from Another Place").
The song "Falling" (sans vocals) became the theme to the show, and the
songs "Rockin' Back Inside My Heart," "The Nightingale," "The World
Spins," and "Into the Night" (found in their full versions on the
album) were all, except the latter, used as Cruise's roadhouse
performances during the show's run. The lyrics for all five songs were
written by Lynch. A second volume of the soundtrack was released
on October 30, 2007, to coincide with the Definitive Gold Box DVD
set. In March 2011, Lynch began releasing previously unavailable
tracks from the series and the film via his website.
Snoqualmie Falls in June 2008
Dale Cooper states, in the pilot episode, that Twin
Peaks is "five miles south of the Canadian border, and twelve miles
west of the state line". This places it in the Salmo-Priest
Wilderness. Lynch and Frost started their location search in
Snoqualmie, Washington, on the recommendation of a friend of Frost.
They found all of the locations that they had written into the pilot
episode. The towns of Snoqualmie, North Bend and Fall City –
which became the primary filming locations for stock Twin Peaks
exterior footage – are about an hour's drive from the town of
Roslyn, Washington, the town used for the series Northern Exposure.
Many exterior scenes were filmed in wooded areas of Malibu,
California. Most of the interior scenes were shot on standing sets
San Fernando Valley
San Fernando Valley warehouse.
The soap opera show-within-the-show Invitation to Love was not shot on
a studio set, but in the Ennis House, an architectural landmark
Frank Lloyd Wright
Frank Lloyd Wright in the Hollywood area of Los
Frost and Lynch made use of repeating and sometimes mysterious motifs
such as trees (especially fir and pines), coffee, cherry pie, donuts,
owls, logs, ducks, water, fire—and numerous embedded references to
other films and TV shows.
During the filming of the scene in which Cooper first examines Laura's
body, a malfunctioning fluorescent lamp above the table flickered
constantly, but Lynch decided not to replace it, since he liked the
disconcerting effect that it created.
Cooper's dream at the end of the third episode, which became a driving
plot point in the series's first season and ultimately held the key to
the identity of Laura's murderer, was never scripted. The idea came to
Lynch one afternoon after touching the side of a hot car left out in
the sun: "I was leaning against a car—the front of me was leaning
against this very warm car. My hands were on the roof and the metal
was very hot. The Red Room scene leapt into my mind. 'Little Mike' was
there, and he was speaking backwards... For the rest of the night I
thought only about The Red Room." The footage was originally shot
along with the pilot, to be used as the conclusion were it to be
released as a feature film. When the series was picked up, Lynch
decided to incorporate some of the footage; in the third episode,
Cooper, narrating the dream, outlines the shot footage which Lynch did
not incorporate, such as Mike shooting Bob and the fact that he is 25
years older when he meets Laura Palmer's spirit.
In an attempt to avoid cancellation, the idea of a Cooper possessed by
Bob came up and was included in the final episode, but it was
cancelled even before the episode was aired.
Before the two-hour pilot premiered on TV, a screening was held at the
Museum of Broadcasting in Hollywood. Media analyst and advertising
executive Paul Schulman said, "I don't think it has a chance of
succeeding. It is not commercial, it is radically different from what
we as viewers are accustomed to seeing, there's no one in the show to
root for." The show's Thursday night time slot had not been a good
one for soap operas, as both Dynasty and its short-lived spin-off The
Colbys did poorly.
Twin Peaks was also up against the hugely
successful sitcom Cheers.
Initially, the show received a positive response from TV critics. Tom
Shales, in The Washington Post, wrote, "
Twin Peaks disorients you in
ways that small-screen productions seldom attempt. It's a pleasurable
sensation, the floor dropping out and leaving one dangling." In
The New York Times, John J. O'Connor wrote, "
Twin Peaks is not a
send-up of the form. Mr. Lynch clearly savors the standard
ingredients...but then the director adds his own peculiar touches,
small passing details that suddenly, and often hilariously, thrust the
commonplace out of kilter."
Entertainment Weekly gave the show an
"A+" rating and Ken Tucker wrote, "Plot is irrelevant; moments are
everything. Lynch and Frost have mastered a way to make a weekly
series endlessly interesting."
Richard Zoglin in Time magazine
said that it "may be the most hauntingly original work ever done for
The two-hour pilot was the highest-rated movie for the 1989–90
season with a 22 rating and was viewed by 33% of the audience. In
its first broadcast as a regular one-hour drama series, Twin Peaks
scored ABC's highest ratings in four years in its 9:00 pm Thursday
time slot. The show also reduced NBC's Cheers's ratings. Twin
Peaks had a 16.2 rating with each point equaling 921,000 homes with
TVs. The episode also added new viewers because of what ABC's
senior vice-president of research, Alan Wurtzel, called "the water
cooler syndrome," in which people talk about the series the next day
But the show's third episode lost 14% of the audience that had tuned
in a week before. That audience had dropped 30% from the show's
first appearance on Thursday night. This was a result of competing
against Cheers, which appealed to the same demographic that watched
Twin Peaks. A production executive from the show spoke of being
frustrated with the network's scheduling of the show. "The show is
being banged around on Thursday night. If ABC had put it on Wednesday
night it could have built on its initial success. ABC has put the show
In response, the network aired the first-season finale on a Wednesday
night at 10:00 pm instead of its usual 9:00 pm Thursday slot. The
show achieved its best ratings since its third week on the air with a
12.6 and a 22 share of the audience. On May 22, 1990, it was
Twin Peaks would be renewed for a second season.
During the first and second season, the search for Laura Palmer's
killer served as the engine for the plot, and captured the public's
imagination, although the creators admitted this was largely a
MacGuffin; each episode was really about the interactions between the
townsfolk. The unique (and often bizarre) personalities of each
citizen formed a web of minutiae that ran contrary to the town's
quaint appearance. Adding to the surreal atmosphere was the recurrence
of Dale Cooper's dreams, in which the
FBI agent is given clues to
Laura's murder in a supernatural realm that may or may not be of his
imagination. The first season contained only eight episodes (including
the two-hour pilot episode), and was considered technically and
artistically revolutionary for television at the time, and geared
toward reaching the standards of film.
Critics have noted that
Twin Peaks began the trend of accomplished
cinematography now commonplace in today's television dramas. Lynch
and Frost maintained tight control over the first season, handpicking
all of the directors, including some Lynch had known from his days at
American Film Institute
American Film Institute (e.g.,
Caleb Deschanel and Tim Hunter) and
some referred to him by those he knew personally. Lynch and Frost's
control lessened in the second season, corresponding with what is
generally regarded as a decrease in the show's quality once the
identity of Laura Palmer's murderer was revealed.
The aforementioned "water cooler effect" put pressure on the show's
creators to solve the mystery. Although they claimed to have known
from the series' inception the identity of Laura's murderer, Lynch
never wanted to solve the murder, while Frost felt that they had an
obligation to the audience to solve it. This created tension between
the two men.
Its ambitious style, paranormal undertones, and engaging murder
Twin Peaks an unexpected hit. Its characters,
particularly MacLachlan's Dale Cooper, were unorthodox for a supposed
crime drama, as was Cooper's method of interpreting his dreams to
solve the crime. During its first season, the show's popularity
reached its zenith, and elements of the program seeped into mainstream
popular culture, prompting parodies, including one in the 16th-season
premiere of Saturday Night Live, hosted by MacLachlan.
See also: List of awards and nominations received by Twin Peaks
David Lynch at the
42nd Primetime Emmy Awards on September 16, 1990,
Twin Peaks was nominated for fourteen awards. He was nominated
for directing and co-writing the pilot episode.
For its first season,
Twin Peaks received fourteen nominations at the
42nd Primetime Emmy Awards, for Outstanding
Drama Series, Outstanding
Lead Actor in a
Drama Series (Kyle MacLachlan), Outstanding Lead
Actress in a
Drama Series (Piper Laurie), Outstanding Supporting
Actress in a
Drama Series (Sherilyn Fenn), Outstanding Directing in a
Drama Series (David Lynch), Outstanding Writing in a
David Lynch and Mark Frost), Outstanding Writing in a
(Harley Peyton), Outstanding Art Direction for a Series, Outstanding
Achievement in Main Title Theme Music, Outstanding Achievement in
Music Composition for a Series (Dramatic Underscore), Outstanding
Achievement in Music and Lyrics, and Outstanding Sound Editing for a
Series. Out of its fourteen nominations, it won for Outstanding
Costume Design for a Series and Outstanding Editing for a Series –
Single Camera Production.
For its second season, it received four nominations at the 43rd
Primetime Emmy Awards, for Outstanding Lead Actor in a
(Kyle MacLachlan), Outstanding Supporting Actress in a
(Piper Laurie), Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series, and
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a
At the 48th Golden Globe Awards, it won for Best TV Series – Drama,
Kyle MacLachlan won for Best Performance by an Actor in a TV Series
Piper Laurie won for Best Performance by an Actress in a
Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for
Sherilyn Fenn was nominated in the same category as
The pilot episode was ranked 25th on TV Guide's 1997 100 Greatest
Episodes of All Time. It placed 49th on Entertainment Weekly's
"New TV Classics" list. In 2004 and 2007,
Twin Peaks was ranked
20th and 24th on TV Guide's Top Cult Shows Ever, and in 2002,
it was ranked 45th of the "Top 50 Television Programs of All Time" by
the same guide. In 2007, UK broadcaster
Channel 4 ranked Twin Peaks
9th on their list of the "50 Greatest TV Dramas". Also that year,
Time included the show on their list of the "100 Best TV Shows of
All-Time". Empire listed
Twin Peaks as the 24th best TV show in
their list of "The 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time".
Entertainment Weekly listed the show at no. 12 in the
"25 Best Cult TV Shows from the Past 25 Years", saying, "The show
itself was only fitfully brilliant and ultimately unfulfilling, but
the cult lives, fueled by nostalgia for the extraordinary pop
phenomenon it inspired, for its significance to the medium (behold the
big bang of auteur TV!), and for a sensuous strangeness that possesses
you and never lets you go." The series has been nominated for the
TCA Heritage Award six consecutive years since 2010. It was ranked
20th on The Hollywood Reporter's list of Hollywood's 100 Favorite TV
As the series' ratings started to decline, the producers added Heather
Graham (seen here in 2011) to the cast.
With the resolution of Twin Peaks' main drawing point (Laura Palmer's
murder) in the middle of the second season, and with subsequent story
lines becoming more obscure and drawn out, public interest began to
wane. This discontent, coupled with ABC changing its timeslot on a
number of occasions, led to a huge drop in the show's ratings after
being one of the most-watched television programs in the United States
in 1990. A week after the season's 15th episode placed 85th in the
ratings out of 89 shows, ABC put
Twin Peaks on indefinite hiatus,
a move that usually leads to cancellation.
An organized letter-writing campaign, dubbed COOP (Citizens Opposed to
the Offing of Peaks), attempted to save the show from
cancellation. The campaign was successful, as ABC agreed to air
the remaining six episodes to finish the season. But due to the
Twin Peaks was moved from its usual time slot "for six weeks
out of eight" in early 1991, according to Frost, preventing the show
from maintaining audience interest. In the final episodes, Agent
Cooper was given a love interest,
Annie Blackburn (Heather Graham), to
replace the writers' intended romance between him and Audrey Horne.
According to Frost, Lara Flynn Boyle, who was romantically involved
Kyle MacLachlan at the time, had effectively vetoed the
Audrey-Cooper relationship, forcing the writers to come up with an
Sherilyn Fenn corroborated this claim in a 2014
interview, stating, "[Boyle] was mad that my character was getting
more attention, so then Kyle started saying that his character
shouldn’t be with my character because it doesn’t look good,
’cause I’m too young... I was not happy about it. It was
stupid." The series finale did not sufficiently boost interest,
despite ending on a deliberate audience-baiting cliffhanger, and the
show was not renewed for a third season, leaving the cliffhanger
Lynch expressed his regret at having resolved the
Laura Palmer murder,
saying he and Frost had never intended for the series to answer the
question and that doing so "killed the goose that laid the golden
eggs". Lynch blamed network pressure for the decision to resolve the
Palmer storyline prematurely. Frost agreed, noting that people at
the network had in fact wanted the killer to be revealed by the end of
In 1993, cable channel Bravo acquired the license to rerun the entire
series, which began airing in June 1993. These reruns included
Lynch's addition of introductions to each episode by the
Log Lady and
her cryptic musings.
Looking back, Frost has admitted that he wished he and Lynch had
"worked out a smoother transition" between storylines and that the
Laura Palmer story was a "tough act to follow". Regarding the
second season, Frost felt that "perhaps the storytelling wasn't quite
as taut or as fraught with emotion".
Writing for The Atlantic, Mike Mariani wrote that "It would be tough
to look at the roster of television shows any given season without
finding several that owe a creative debt to Twin Peaks," stating that
"Lynch’s manipulation of the uncanny, his surreal non-sequiturs, his
black humor, and his trademark ominous tracking shots can be felt in a
variety of contemporary hit shows. In 2010, the television series
Psych paid tribute to the series by reuniting some of the cast in the
fifth-season episode, "Dual Spires". The episode's plot is an homage
Twin Peaks pilot, where the characters of
Psych investigate the
death of a young girl in a small town called "Dual Spires". The
episode also contains several references to the original show. Twin
Peaks actors that guest star in the episode are Sherilyn Fenn, Sheryl
Lee, Dana Ashbrook, Robyn Lively, Lenny Von Dohlen, Catherine E.
Coulson and Ray Wise. Prior to the airing of the episode, a special
event at the
Paley Center for Media
Paley Center for Media was held where the actors from
both shows discussed the episode.
Reviewers and fans of four seasons of Veena Sud's U.S. TV series, The
Killing, have noted similarities and borrowed elements from Lynch's
Fire Walk with Me and Twin Peaks, and compared Sud and Lynch's
Carlton Cuse, creator of Bates Motel, cited
Twin Peaks as a key
inspiration for his series, stating: "We pretty much ripped off Twin
Peaks... If you wanted to get that confession, the answer is yes. I
loved that show. They only did 30 episodes. Kerry [Ehrin] and I
thought we'd do the 70 that are missing."
Twin Peaks served as an inspiration for the 1993 video game The Legend
of Zelda: Link's Awakening, with director Takashi Tezuka citing the
series as the main factor for the creation of the "suspicious"
characters that populate the game, as well as the mystery elements of
the story. The show has also influenced a number of survival
horror and psychological thriller video games—most notably Alan
Wake, Deadly Premonition, Silent Hill, Life Is
Strange, and Max Payne.
The American animated show
Gravity Falls repeatedly referenced the
Black Lodge along with other elements of
Twin Peaks throughout its
Home media releases
Twin Peaks home video releases
The series was released on
VHS in a six-tape collection on April 16,
1995, however, it did not include the original pilot episode.
On December 18, 2001, the first season (episodes 1–7, minus the
Twin Peaks was released on DVD in Region 1 by Artisan
Entertainment. The box set featured digitally remastered video was
noted for being the first TV series to have its audio track redone in
The second season release was postponed several times, and the release
was originally canceled in 2003 by Artisan due to low sales figures
for the season 1 DVD. The second season was finally released in
the United States and Canada on April 3, 2007, via Paramount Home
On October 30, 2007, the broadcast version of the pilot finally
received a legitimate U.S. release as part of the Twin Peaks
"Definitive Gold Box Edition". This set includes both versions of the
pilot. The set also includes all episodes from both seasons, deleted
scenes for both seasons, and a feature-length retrospective
Entertainment Weekly gave the box set a "B+" rating and
wrote, "There are numerous fascinatingly frank mini-docs here,
including interviews with many Peaks participants; together, they
offer one of the best available portraits of how a TV hit can go off
In July 2013, it was revealed that a
Blu-ray version of the complete
series would be released. In January 2014, Lynch confirmed the
Blu-ray release and that it would contain the pilot, season 1, season
2, and new special features, and possibly the film. It was
announced on May 15, 2014, that the
Blu-ray of the complete series of
Twin Peaks and the film containing over 90 minutes of deleted scenes
would be released on July 29, 2014.
Online, the series is available through the pay
CBS All Access
CBS All Access service
in full, along with Showtime's "Anytime" service for pay-TV
subscribers and its over-the-top separate service.
The original series is available for HD streaming via both
Netflix in the U.S.
Hulu also offers The Return, the 18-episode
continuation originally aired on Showtime, as an additional-cost
subscription option for viewing some of Showtime's programming.
Books and audio
Twin Peaks books
During the show's second season, Pocket Books released three official
tie-in books, each authored by the show's creators (or their family),
which offer a wealth of backstory.
The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer, written by Lynch's daughter Jennifer
Lynch, is the diary as seen in the series and written by Laura,
chronicling her thoughts from her twelfth birthday to the days leading
up to her death. Frost's brother Scott wrote The Autobiography of
Special Agent Dale Cooper: My Life, My Tapes. Kyle MacLachlan
also recorded Diane: The
Twin Peaks Tapes of Agent Cooper, which
combined audio tracks from various episodes of the series with newly
recorded monologues. Welcome to Twin Peaks: An Access Guide to
the Town offers information about the history, flora, fauna, and
culture of the fictitious town.
The Secret History of Twin Peaks, a novel by series co-creator Mark
Frost, "places the unexplained phenomena that unfolded in Twin Peaks
in a layered, wide-ranging history, beginning with the journals of
Lewis and Clark and ending with the shocking events that closed the
finale." It was published on October 18, 2016.
Main article: Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me
The 1992 film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me is a prequel to the TV
series. It tells of the investigation into the murder of Teresa Banks
and the last seven days in the life of Laura Palmer. Director David
Lynch and most of the television cast returned for the film, with the
notable exceptions of Lara Flynn Boyle, who declined to return as
Laura's best friend
Donna Hayward and was replaced by Moira Kelly, and
Sherilyn Fenn due to scheduling conflicts. Also, Kyle MacLachlan
returned reluctantly as he wanted to avoid typecasting, so his
presence in the film is smaller than originally planned. Lynch
originally shot about five hours of footage that was subsequently cut
down to two hours and fourteen minutes. Most of the deleted scenes
feature additional characters from the television series who
ultimately did not appear in the finished film. Around ninety minutes
of these scenes are included in the complete series
Blu-ray that was
released on July 29, 2014.
Fire Walk with Me was received poorly, especially in comparison to the
series. It was greeted at the
1992 Cannes Film Festival
1992 Cannes Film Festival with booing
from the audience and has received mixed reviews by American
critics. It grossed a total of USD $1.8 million in 691
theaters in its opening weekend and went on to gross a total of $4.1
million in North America.
In 2007, artist
Matt Haley and
Twin Peaks producer Bob Engels began
work on a graphic novel continuation of the series, to be included in
the "Complete Mystery" DVD box set. Haley stated: "Bob and I had a
number of discussions about what the story would be, I was keen to use
whatever notes they had for the proposed third season. I really wanted
this to be a literal 'third season' of the show. Bob told me they
really wanted to get away from the high school setting, so after the
resolution of the Cooper-BOB-possession plot point, they would have
cut to something like 'Ten Years Later', and then shown us a Twin
Peaks where Cooper had quit the
FBI and had become the town
pharmacist, Sheriff Truman had become a recluse, etc. He also
mentioned they were going to have
Sheryl Lee come back, this time as a
redhead, and probably have her character killed by BOB again. There
were also some vague ideas about BOB and Mike being from a planet made
of creamed corn, something about Truman driving Mike backwards through
the portal into the
Black Lodge (which I think would have been a
really nice cinematic scene)." Lynch vetoed the project, stating that
he respected the effort but did not want to continue the story of Twin
Peaks in any way.
In a 1995
Billy Zane confirmed that his character,
John Justice Wheeler, figured in the third season story, saying: "They
were thinking that Audrey and I would have a baby at one point, which
could have been fun."
In May 2013, cast member
Ray Wise stated what Lynch had said to him
regarding a possible continuation: "Well, Ray, you know, the town is
still there. And I suppose it's possible that we could revisit it. Of
course, you're already dead... but we could maybe work around
Twin Peaks (2017 TV series)
On October 6, 2014, it was announced that a limited series would air
David Lynch and
Mark Frost wrote all the episodes, and
Lynch directed. Frost emphasized that the new episodes are not a
remake or reboot but a continuation of the series. The episodes are
set in the present day, and the passage of 25 years is an important
element in the plot.
Most of the original cast returns, including Kyle MacLachlan, Mädchen
Amick, Sherilyn Fenn, Sheryl Lee, Ray Wise, and several others.
Additions include Jeremy Davies, Laura Dern, Robert Forster, Tim Roth,
Jennifer Jason Leigh, Amanda Seyfried, Matthew Lillard, and Naomi
The limited series began filming in September 2015 and was
completed by April 2016. It was shot continuously from a single,
long-shooting script before being edited into separate episodes. The
series premiered on May 21, 2017, and consists of 18 episodes.
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and Promotion". The New York Times. Retrieved March 10, 2010.
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Mark Frost Out October
18, 2016: Pre-Order Audio & Book". Welcome to Twin Peaks. February
18, 2016. Retrieved June 17, 2016.
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Show Characters' Fates". The Wrap. Retrieved October 16, 2014.
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Bushman, David; Smith, Arthur (2016).
Twin Peaks FAQ: All That's Left
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Essays on the Original Series. McFarland Press.
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Twin Peaks at Showtime
Twin Peaks at CBS
Twin Peaks on IMDb
Twin Peaks at TV.com
Twin Peaks at Curlie (based on DMOZ)
The Man from Another Place
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992)
Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces (2014)
Soundtrack from Twin Peaks
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me
Twin Peaks Music: Season Two Music and More
Twin Peaks Archive
Anthology Resource Vol. 1: △△
Twin Peaks: Music from the Limited Event Series
Twin Peaks: Limited Event Series Original Soundtrack
"Rockin' Back Inside My Heart"
The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer
The Secret History of Twin Peaks
Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier
Black and White Lodges
Double R Diner
The Great Northern Hotel
Awards and nominations
The Elephant Man (1980)
Blue Velvet (1986)
Wild at Heart (1990)
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992)
Lost Highway (1997)
The Straight Story
The Straight Story (1999)
Mulholland Drive (2001)
Inland Empire (2006)
Six Men Getting Sick (Six Times)
Six Men Getting Sick (Six Times) (1967)
The Alphabet (1968)
The Grandmother (1970)
The Amputee (1974)
The Cowboy and the Frenchman (1987)
Premonition Following An Evil Deed (1995)
Darkened Room (2002)
Bug Crawls (2007)
Lady Blue Shanghai
Lady Blue Shanghai (2010)
Idem Paris (2013)
"Wicked Game" (1990)
"Shot in the Back of the Head" (2009)
"Came Back Haunted" (2013)
Twin Peaks (1990–1991)
American Chronicles (1990)
On the Air (1992)
Hotel Room (1993)
Twin Peaks (2017)
The Air Is on Fire (2007)
Polish Night Music
Polish Night Music (2007)
Crazy Clown Time
Crazy Clown Time (2011)
The Big Dream
The Big Dream (2013)
Catching the Big Fish
Catching the Big Fish (2006)
Genealogies of Pain (2011)
Awards by film
The Elephant Man
Wild at Heart
Jennifer Lynch (daughter)
The Angriest Dog in the World
Industrial Symphony No. 1 (1991)
Lynch on Lynch (1997)
Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces (2014)
David Lynch: The Art Life (2016)
David Lynch Foundation
Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Drama
Marcus Welby, M.D., season 1 (1969)
Medical Center, season 1/season 2 (1970)
Mannix, season 4/season 5 (1971)
Columbo, season 1/season 2 (1972)
The Waltons, season 1/season 2 (1973)
Upstairs, Downstairs, season 3/season 4 (1974)
Kojak, season 2/season 3 (1975)
Rich Man, Poor Man (1976)
60 Minutes (1978)
Lou Grant, season 2/season 3 (1979)
Hill Street Blues, season 1/season 2 (1981)
Hill Street Blues, season 2/season 3 (1982)
Dynasty, season 3/season 4 (1983)
Murder, She Wrote, season 1 (1984)
Murder, She Wrote, season 1/season 2 (1985)
L.A. Law, season 1 (1986)
L.A. Law, season 1/season 2 (1987)
thirtysomething, season 1/season 2 (1988)
China Beach, season 2/season 3 (1989)
Twin Peaks, season 1/season 2 (1990)
Northern Exposure, season 2/season 3 (1991)
Northern Exposure, season 3/season 4 (1992)
NYPD Blue, season 1 (1993)
The X-Files, season 1/season 2 (1994)
Party of Five, season 1/season 2 (1995)
The X-Files, season 3/season 4 (1996)
The X-Files, season 4/season 5 (1997)
The Practice, season 2/season 3 (1998)
The Sopranos, season 1 (1999)
The West Wing, season 1/season 2 (2000)
Six Feet Under, season 1 (2001)
The Shield, season 1 (2002)
24, season 2/season 3 (2003)
Nip/Tuck, season 2 (2004)
Lost, season 1/season 2 (2005)
Grey's Anatomy, season 2/season 3 (2006)
Mad Men, season 1 (2007)
Mad Men, season 2 (2008)
Mad Men, season 3 (2009)
Boardwalk Empire, season 1 (2010)
Homeland, season 1 (2011)
Homeland, season 2 (2012)
Breaking Bad, season 5, part II (2013)
The Affair, season 1 (2014)
Mr. Robot, season 1 (2015)
The Crown, season 1 (2016)
The Handmaid's Tale, season 1 (2017)
TCA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Drama
The Jewel in the Crown (1985)
Death of a Salesman (1986)
L.A. Law, season 1 (1987)
St. Elsewhere, season 6 (1988)
Lonesome Dove (1989)
Twin Peaks, season 1 (1990)
thirtysomething, season 4 (1991)
I’ll Fly Away, season 1 (1992)
I’ll Fly Away, season 2 (1993)
NYPD Blue, season 1 (1994)
My So-Called Life, season 1 (1995)
Homicide: Life on the Street, season 4 (1996)
Homicide: Life on the Street, season 5 (1997)
Homicide: Life on the Street, season 6 (1998)
The Sopranos, season 1 (1999)
The West Wing, season 1 (2000)
The Sopranos, season 3 / The West Wing, season 2 (2001)
Six Feet Under, season 1/season 2 (2002)
Boomtown, season 1 (2003)
The Sopranos, season 5 (2004)
Lost, season 1 (2005)
Lost, season 2 (2006)
The Sopranos, season 6, part II (2007)
Mad Men, season 1 (2008)
Mad Men, season 2 (2009)
Breaking Bad, season 3 / Lost, season 6 (2010)
Mad Men, season 4 (2011)
Breaking Bad, season 4 (2012)
Game of Thrones, season 3 (2013)
The Good Wife, season 5 (2014)
The Americans, season 3 (2015)
The Americans, season 4 (2016)
The Handmaid's Tale, season 1 (2017)
TCA Award for Program of the Year
The Jewel in the Crown (1985)
Death of a Salesman / The Vanishing Family: Crisis in Black America
Eyes on the Prize
Eyes on the Prize (1987)
Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam (1988)
Lonesome Dove (1989)
Twin Peaks (1990)
The Civil War (1991)
Northern Exposure (1992)
Barbarians at the Gate (1993)
Late Show with David Letterman
Late Show with David Letterman (1994)
Homicide: Life on the Street (1996)
EZ Streets (1997)
From the Earth to the Moon (1998)
The Sopranos (1999)
The West Wing
The West Wing (2000)
The Sopranos (2001)
American Idol (2003)
Angels in America (2004)
Desperate Housewives (2005)
Grey’s Anatomy (2006)
Mad Men (2008)
Battlestar Galactica (2009)
Friday Night Lights (2011)
Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones (2012)
Breaking Bad (2013)
Breaking Bad (2014)
The People v. O. J. Simpson:
American Crime Story
American Crime Story (2016)
The Handmaid's Tale (2017)
BNF: cb12356073n (da