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Blu-Ray : Highly Recommended
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Release Date: September 20th, 2016 Movie Release Year: 1990

Twin Peaks: The Original Series, Fire Walk With Me & The Missing Pieces

Overview -

An idiosyncratic FBI Agent investigates the murder of a young woman in the even more idiosyncratic town of Twin Peaks.

Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
Nine 50GB Blu-ray Discs
Video Resolution/Codec:
1080p MPEG-4 AVC
Aspect Ratio(s):
Audio Formats:
English: Dolby Digital 2.0
English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, German, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish
Special Features:
Image Galleries
Release Date:
September 20th, 2016

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take


"She's dead, wrapped in plastic."

Some fans will tell you that 'Twin Peaks' was the greatest TV series of all time. I have one issue with that claim: 'Twin Peaks' was not just a TV series. 'Twin Peaks' was, and still is, an experience – a insular dreamworld that exists beyond our narrow definitions of traditional narrative storytelling. Yes, the show has a plot, broken up into digestible hour-long bites originally spread out week-to-week over a network broadcast schedule. In form, it looks like something very conventional and recognizable, but looks are deceiving. At every step, 'Twin Peaks' asks us to dig beneath the surface, to chip away at the artificial veneer of comfort and familiarity to find new layers below where truth and beauty and horror and madness all reside together, often indistinguishable from one another.

And it's funny too. Really damn funny, in fact.

On the most superficial level, 'Twin Peaks' was a captivating murder mystery that kept the entire world guessing "Who killed Laura Palmer?" for most of a year. Much like director David Lynch's 'Blue Velvet', the characters' attempt to find a killer causes them to uncover many dark, disturbing secrets about their small American town and about each other. However, that crime story was just the lure to drag viewers into the bizarre world created by Lynch and veteran television writer Mark Frost. Once there, the series became many other things: a fantasy, a soap opera, a supernatural thriller, a teenage melodrama, an offbeat comedy, and a devastating portrait of the dark underside of American society. It managed to be all of these things at once, without contradiction, woven up into a tightly structured narrative that demanded strict attention from its audience.

In the spring of 1990, 'Twin Peaks' was utterly unlike anything that had ever aired on American television. In fact, it still is. Despite countless imitators that have attempted to copy one aspect or another of its formula, no other series has ever fully replicated its perfect blend of elements. Frankly, no other series has ever had the audacity to even try. The ambition of this show is still staggering. The fact that Lynch and Frost pulled it off within the restrictive confines of network television is a miracle. The show features moments of raw, searing emotions, such as Sarah Palmer's unbearable howl of agony over the telephone line when she realizes that her daughter is dead, interspersed with other moments of levity, including FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper's childlike enthusiasm for cherry pie and fir trees, without any jarring tonal disconnection. The power of Lynch's vision holds everything together. It flows beautifully from one extreme to the other.

During its first, short season (the series was a mid-season replacement), the show was a massive ratings hit, a critical darling, and a genuine cultural phenomenon. Each episode became the must-discuss topic of water cooler conversation throughout America and even the rest of the world. Unfortunately, viewer enthusiasm cooled in the second season when the main mystery plot dragged on further than impatient audiences of the day were accustomed to. The public fell out of love with 'Twin Peaks' almost as quickly as it had fallen into love with the show in the first place.

The reasons that 'Twin Peaks' flamed out are myriad and complicated. At the time, serial dramas were a rarity on American television, and none had ever required viewers to pay such strict attention to its plot continuity and clues as 'Twin Peaks' did. A viewer who missed an episode could fall hopelessly lost in the narrative, with little chance of catching up until re-runs that might air months later. In the days before DVRs, cable On-Demand or Netflix instant streaming, audiences weren't ready for that sort of commitment. Compounding this problem were some obvious artistic missteps in the second season. Lynch himself stepped away from the series for a time to make his film 'Wild at Heart' and pursue other interests. He left it in the hands of his collaborators, who struggled to find a new direction for the story after the revelation of Laura Palmer's murderer. Storylines meandered, overemphasized goofy humor, and simply weren't as compelling as those in the first season. Although the show pulled itself back together for the final run of episodes, by that point, most of the audience had long since abandoned it.

As its ratings declined, the ABC network lost confidence in the series and began shuffling it around the schedule, delaying episodes, and frustrating even the die-hard fans who still wanted to watch it every week. By the end of its second, final season, hardly anyone even noticed when the show limped to its conclusion on a Monday night in the middle of June, a good two months after its previous episode had aired. Burning with feelings of betrayal and resentment, David Lynch made arrangements to carry his beloved property to the big screen and reclaim it as his own personal vision, unconstrained by the limitations of network television. Just to hammer the point home that he wasn't messing around, he opened the film with the image of a television set being smashed to pieces.

'Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me' is framed as a prequel that takes place before the events of the TV series. However, it assumes that viewers are aware of key plot points and freely divulges the identity of Laura Palmer's killer. It must absolutely be watched last. The film depicts the last seven days of Laura's life, and in doing so, dispenses with the humor that took the edge off the darker aspects of the series. 'Fire Walk With Me' is a harrowing, uncompromising tale of sexual abuse, mental illness, drug addiction, prostitution and finally murder. Even if critics and audiences at the time didn't understand the movie, it's also a beautiful, haunting and poetic journey into the life of a broken girl.

Though imperfect, 'Twin Peaks' was the richest, boldest, darkest, most innovative, most engrossing, and most wonderfully strange show to ever air on network television, and it hasn't lost a bit of its power over the past two decades.

The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats

'Twin Peaks - The Original Series, Fire Walk With Me, and The Missing Pieces' comes with nine 50GB Blu-ray Discs from Paramount and CBS that are Region A Locked. There is no insert included here nor is there a digital download code. The back of the cover art details what is on each  disc. The discs are housed in a hard, blue plastic case with a cardboard sleeve.

Video Review


I've seen 'Twin Peaks' in a lot of different video formats. Years ago, I even watched the entire series in the atrocious quality EP-speed VHS collection that was the only way to see it after the original ABC broadcasts. Later Laserdiscs were a little better. The DVDs were a significant jump over that, and at the time I couldn't imagine the show ever looking better. More recently, 'Twin Peaks' has been offered in high definition on streaming services including Netflix and VUDU, sourced from the same masters as the DVDs, which are now showing their age but still mostly look pretty decent.

For the Blu-rays, all 30 episodes and 'Fire Walk With Me' were newly remastered under the supervision of David Lynch. My first reaction is to say: "WOW, BOB, WOW!" The TV episodes are a big step up in quality, even over current HD streaming options. The 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfers are slightly soft in general, but the image has very good detail and sometimes exhibits startling clarity. In almost every episode, I've noticed new details in the sets and costumes and production design that I never saw before. Contrasts are rich, and colors are striking and vivid. Though I detected a slight red push, it's not objectionable.

With that said, occasional shots here and there may suffer from focus issues. The black levels in dark night scenes often look pushed and very grainy. However, these traits stem back to the original production. Although 'Twin Peaks' marked a milestone in bringing beautiful cinematic photography to television, it was still a TV show produced on a quick shooting schedule and small budget (compared to feature films). Also notable is that the pilot episode was filmed several months before the rest of the series was picked up (notice Sherilyn Fenn's much different hairstyle in the second episode), and some changes in production values are noticeable between the two.

In the show's second episode (identified as Episode 1 after the pilot), a shot at time code 22:43 looks really poor, possibly even upconverted from standard definition. Fortunately, it's very brief and all the footage around it looks fine. I'll be honest that I have not had time yet to watch every episode, so it's possible that minor problems like this may occur elsewhere.

My biggest concern with the Blu-rays is that grain is often pronounced throughout the series, even in bright daylight scenes. I don't have an objection to film grain, but the way it's been digitized and compressed here frequently looks very noisy. If you pause the image, the grain often appears in a very unnatural blocky, thatched pattern. It looks worse in still frames than it does in motion, but it can still be distracting. Even with this flaw, the show looks pretty terrific overall.

All 30 episodes of the TV series are presented in their original 4:3 broadcast aspect ratio with pillarbox bars on the sides of the frame. For the 'Fire Walk With Me' theatrical feature, David Lynch expanded 'Twin Peaks' to widescreen 1.85:1. (I've long considered it a disappointment that he didn't go all the way to 2.35:1 like the majority of his other movies.) I was pretty impressed with the Japanese import Blu-ray of 'Fire Walk With Me' that I reviewed a couple years ago, and assumed that the domestic copy would come from the same master. As it turns out, the movie has also been freshly remastered, and I think it looks even better now. In comparison, the new disc is a little sharper and more detailed. It's also a bit brighter with more red, but I won't claim that one version is necessarily "right" and the other "wrong." Honestly, both discs are satisfying, but I give the edge to the copy in the 'Entire Mystery' box.

The grain structure in 'Fire Walk With Me' is much tighter and less noisy than the TV episodes. I can't say for certain whether this means the movie got a better video transfer, or whether this can be chalked up to the movie having a bigger budget and better production values.

Audio Review


The sound mix for 'Twin Peaks' has also been overhauled by David Lynch for brand new DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 soundtracks on every episode and the movie. Lynch is an audio freak and pays very strict attention to the sound quality of everything he makes. Don't get too excited about seeing the 7.1 indicator light up on your A/V receiver, though, because Lynch has also developed an aversion to surround sound in recent years, and often favors a 3.1 configuration with everything happening in the front of the soundstage and little to nothing behind the listening position.

If anything, the director is actually pretty lenient in this regard for 'Twin Peaks'. Angelo Badalamenti's lush musical score fills the room from every speaker. While music is pretty much the only thing the surround channels get used for, considering that Lynch has essentially turned off the back speakers in most of his movies, the fact that they're used at all here is a nice surprise.

Even though you'll hear some variance from specific episode to episode, the fidelity of these soundtracks is typically outstanding. That Badalamenti score is rich, full-bodied and resonant. Dialogue and the subtle details of the show's atmospheric sound design are presented with excellent clarity, and certain sound effects like revving engines have throaty bass.

In making 'Fire Walk With Me' as a theatrical film, Lynch amped up the dynamic range well beyond anything he could have gotten away with on TV. Prints of the movie were actually shipped to theaters with a note instructing projectionists to turn up the volume. The Partyland nightclub scene has blaring, deafening music that intentionally drowns out the dialogue. Unlike the Japanese import Blu-ray, that scene, as well as those that take place in the Red Room, include the original English subtitles on screen when dialogue is obscured.

Special Features


The Missing Pieces: Deleted/Extended Scenes (HD, 92 min.) – David Lynch has a habit of overshooting his movies and then paring them down to the essentials in editing. For 'Fire Walk With Me', he filmed almost an entire second movie's worth of footage that he never used, including numerous scenes involving characters from the TV series that don't appear in the final movie at all (Pete, Josie, Big Ed, Sheriff Truman, Deputy Andy, Lucy and Dr. Jacoby, among others). Due to a protracted legal dispute between Lynch and the European production company that owned the footage, the scenes were never released to the public until now. Finally available, these "missing pieces" provide a glimpse into what else was happening in the town of Twin Peaks during and around the events of the film. Fully restored to high-definition quality with polished editing and sound design, the scenes are a revelation and truly feel like stepping back into Lynch's wonderfully weird world again. With that said, for as great as they are to watch separate from the movie, most of these scenes would have tremendously distracted from the story of Laura Palmer and didn't belong in the film. (Honestly, I don't even know where many of them would go at all.) In addition to cameo appearances for the series' cast, we also get some extra time with movie characters Chet Desmond, Sam Stanley and Phillip Jeffries (who actually has a somewhat coherent story), plus an epilogue that ties directly into the show's Season 2 finale.

Log Lady Intros (HD, approx. 1 min. each) – For the series rebroadcast on the Bravo cable network in the mid 1990s, David Lynch wrote and shot introductions to every episode with actress Catherine Coulson in character, speaking rambling nonsense that has little pertinence to anything. I've never cared for these but, for better or worse, they're part of the show's legacy. The video is encoded in 1080p resolution but is extremely grainy and looks upconverted from standard definition. (I believe the intros were shot on video at the time.)

Recaps & Previews (HD, lengths vary) – "Previously on" and "Next on Twin Peaks" trailers. Not every episode has both. The disc menu offers an option to play everything together with each episode.

Pilot Episode: International Version (HD, 113 min.) – As a condition of financing the show's pilot episode, the production company demanded that David Lynch shoot an ending that would wrap up the story early so that it could be sold as a self-contained movie if the series wasn't picked up. This version of the episode was distributed to the European market and became known as the "Euro Pilot." The alternate ending (which adds about 20 minutes to the running time) is unsatisfying, contradicts later episodes, and is not considered canon to the show's narrative. However, the necessity of it prompted Lynch to conceive the famous Red Room scene, which he would repurpose for a later episode.

Season 1 Image Gallery – Lots of priceless behind-the-scenes shots. 

Promos (HD, 9 min.) – A ton of different ads and promos for the show that aired.

Season 2 Image Gallery - More priceless behind-the-scenes shots. 

Return to Twin Peaks (SD, 20 min.) – Fans and organizers talk about 'Twin Peaks' fan festivals and what they love about the show. Some dress up in cosplay, and some are kind of creepy. We follow a bunch on a tour through Snoqualmie (the Washington town where the series was filmed).

Location Guide (SD, 8 min.) – An interactive map to the fictional town of Twin Peaks. Click on the eight highlighted areas to play short video clips with then-and-now (circa 2006) comparisons of the locations.

17 Pieces of Pie: Shooting at the Mar T (aka RR) Diner (SD, 10 min.) – An interview with the owner of the café that became an iconic part of the series.

Mark Frost Interview with Wrapped in Plastic (SD, 15 min.) – The two editors of the long-running 'Twin Peaks' fan magazine conduct a telephone interview with the show's co-creator. Frost has interesting things to say about the development of the series, but the format of the interview is a little distracting. Each side of the conversation talks on the telephone to the other, but it's explained that the interviewers' portion of the footage was actually reshot due to a technical gaffe. So, in essence, we see the interviewers talking into a dead telephone as though responding to a person they spoke to several days earlier.

Learning to Speak in the Red Room (SD, 4 min.) – Michael J. Anderson demonstrates how he affected his character's strange speech patterns.

An Introduction to David Lynch (SD, 22 min.) – Numerous interviews with the cast, crew and a film professor attempt to explain Lynch's impact on the series. The piece doesn't contain anything that a fan doesn't already know, but includes some nice anecdotes. First-time viewers should be warned that the featurette reveals a major plot point from the middle of the second season.

Lucy Bumpers (HD, 2 min.) – "It's time for a donut! Twin Peaks will be right back." So went a typical commercial break interstitial. Eleven variations are collected here.

1-900 Hotline (SD, 23 min.) – At the height of the show's popularity, the producers and network set up a pay telephone line where fans could listen to pre-recorded messages from the cast in character. (Yes, kids, your parents actually paid for stuff like this.) The disc includes a TV ad and eight of the messages. The volume and quality of the recordings is very poor.

Production Documents – A still gallery of script pages, call sheets, production breakdowns and other similar items, most with notes scrawled in the margins.

Image Galleries – Photos taken on set by actor Richard Beymer (Ben Horne), official publicity stills, and images of the 'Twin Peaks' collectible trading card set.

Postcards from the Cast (SD, 60 min.) – Random interview snippets from twenty members of the cast, some of which pertain to 'Twin Peaks' and many that don't. Among others, Richard Beymer basks in the memory of trying psychedelic drugs, Michael J. Anderson describes his first experience of fans freaking out at seeing him on the street, Kyle MacLachlan talks about being cast in 'Dune', and Al Strobel tells the horrifying story of how he lost his arm.

Cast Interview (SD, 46 min.) – More interviews with thirteen members of the cast. An interactive grid breaks down each actor's comments to the themes of "Origin," "Production" or "Legacy."

Crew Interviews (SD, 23 min.) – Six members of the production team speak, including David Lynch's daughter Jennifer (author of the 'Secret Diary of Laura Palmer' tie-in book) and five episode directors.

Lucy's Special Announcement (HD, 1 min.) – As originally broadcast, the end credits of Episode 27 included audio from Kimmy Robertson announcing the date that the second season finale would air.

Secrets from Another Place: Creating Twin Peaks (HD, 106 min.) – The most substantive feature from the Definitive Gold Box DVD was this feature-length, four-part production documentary, which covers the origins of the series as a script called 'Northwest Passage' through to the final episode. Countless members of the production team are interviewed, and a lot of behind-the-scenes photos and video are shown.

Archival Interviews (SD, 6 min.) – Ray Wise, Sheryl Lee, Moira Kelly and Madchen Amick appear in vintage interviews to promote 'Fire Walk With Me'. Both Lee and Amick wear hilarious 'Blossom' hats. Ah, the '90s…

Final Thoughts

'Twin Peaks - The Original Series, Fire Walk With Me, and The Missing Pieces' was basically already released just two years ago. This is the same transfer in both video and audio with a ton of the previous extras transferred over here. It's just the tenth disc from the previous set that is not included here, which had several other bonus features. Again, this is a shelf friendly set now and is much cheaper than the previous release. So if you missed out on the last release, this one comes highly recommended.