• Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) found murdered in 'Twin Peaks'. (CBS)Source: CBS
These series all owe a debt to David Lynch’s TV masterpiece.
By
Gavin Scott

22 May 2017 - 10:53 AM  UPDATED 22 May 2017 - 10:53 AM

Since the revival of Twin Peaks was officially announced back in 2014, the wait for the new batch of episodes has felt interminable. Yes, we've been entertained with all the behind-the-scenes drama of David Lynch quitting the project, then being lured back. And we've been teased with (limited) information about which former stars would be returning, and which Lynch collaborators and other big-name actors would also be involved.

But while the endless stream of news stories about the project was great, some of us actually just wanted to watch it. Finally, that time has come with the debut of the first four of 18 new episodes today. And while the TV landscape had changed considerably since 1990-91, when Twin Peaks originally aired, a raft of shows have kept its legacy alive.

These are the series that were most influenced by Lynch’s revolutionary, mind-bending, genre-defying series about life – and death – in the small US town of Twin Peaks, Washington.

 

The X-Files (1993-present)

It’s fair to say that audiences (or, more importantly, US network television) might not have been as open to the idea of The X-Files had Twin Peaks not weirded them out first. Like Twin Peaks, The X-Files operates firmly in the supernatural genre (with a heavier emphasis on sci-fi), and, as well as being scary, manages to also be funny, off-the-wall and dramatic on a regular basis.

 

American Gothic (1995-96)

As small towns go, Trinity, South Carolina is right up there with Twin Peaks when it comes to demonic goings-on – mostly at the hands of the evil Sheriff Buck (Gary Cole). American Gothic had an even shorter run, only lasting a single season, but drew just as dedicated a fan base.

 

Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)

From its complex, overarching mythology to its use of dream sequences and the ability to merge seemingly disparate genres into one series, Buffy perfected many of the elements seen earlier in the decade in Twin Peaks. And, of course, at the centre of both shows was a female high school student with a stack of secrets. See also: Veronica Mars.

 

Lost (2004-10)

Speaking of complex mythologies, no show has ever had as intricately woven a central mystery as Lost. Keeping track of what on earth was going on in Lost was akin to keeping tabs on all the clues and suspects in the Laura Palmer case. Lost also didn’t shy away from the supernatural, with an island that literally had a life of its own.

 

The Killing (2007-12)

Present in both its original Danish version and its American remake, the construct of having a single murder mystery solved over one – or two – seasons is pure Twin Peaks. And, let’s face it, Sarah Lund (Sofie Gråbøl) would not be at all out of place working alongside Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) in gloomy Washington. See also: Top Of The Lake, Broadchurch.

 

Pretty Little Liars (2010-present)

If Laura Palmer were killed today – and had a gaggle of bitchy pals – things might go down kind of like they do in this soapy teen drama about the murder of seemingly perfect Alison DiLaurentis (Sasha Pieterse). With more similarities to Twin Peaks than you might think, Pretty Little Liars even had a character called Agent Cooper in one episode.

 

American Horror Story (2011-present)

Besides its obvious horror genre parallels, American Horror Story has also drawn from the same surreal well that David Lynch dug with Twin Peaks’ more bizarre moments. An equal mix of creepy and campy, the ever-morphing AHS franchise even cast Twin Peaks alum Mädchen Amick in its fifth instalment, American Horror Story: Hotel.

 

Bates Motel (2013-17)

Don’t take our word for it, take it from executive producer Carlton Cuse, who’s admitted to ripping off Twin Peaks in creating the tone for this Psycho prequel. Set in yet another not-so-quaint small town, the series featured a drug ring and a killer who didn't know he was committing murders. Now where have we seen those things before?

 

True Detective (2014-present)

The first season of the HBO crime series featured some nods to Twin Peaks and the work of David Lynch in general – an influence that creator Nic Pizzolatto acknowledged. But, the homage became more direct in the second season, with True Detective’s version of killer BOB and club performer Julee Cruise making their appearance.

 

Wayward Pines (2015-present?)

A cop finds himself in a totally bizarre small American town where everybody has a secret. Sound familiar? Although there were significant plot differences between Wayward Pines and Twin Peaks, there were some major thematic and tonal similarities between the two series, most notably Matt Dillon’s outsider character becoming a pivotal part of the community he’d just joined in season one.

 

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