Twin Peaks (Sky Atlantic, Monday/NOW TV) is back after 25 years
But the return of the most bonkers TV drama ever made. This is not said lightly. The show is called Twin Peaks (Sky Atlantic, Monday/NOW TV), and it’s back after 25 years.
The first two episodes of David Lynch’s utterly bizarre offering were broadcast in the early hours of Monday here to coincide with the US transmission. If you watched then, I do hope you didn’t try to sleep afterwards. The new Twin Peaks has topped the scale in nightmares and you won’t have rested comfortably.
It’s like Alice In Wonderful with brutal killings and decapitated corpses but with barely a comforting slice of the talked about cherry pie. Scary pie, yes. It would probably be laced with LSD because this was the trippiest TV offering since The Magic Roundabout and backed with a soundtrack to lull you into thinking that what we know as “reality” has gone. It’s almost an appealing thought.
What can we say for certain? Very little. FBI Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) has returned in two, possibly three, forms.
In one he’s watching and occasionally communicating with characters who speak like Max Headroom on a dodgy video link from Moscow. This is not a good thing, at any time of the day. One piece of fact emerged: “Remember 430”. I immediately wrote this down and now share it with you in case my own whereabouts suddenly become unknown.
It’s obviously a ticket for a very busy dry cleaners used by a killer, so keep it safe.
His clothes will be evidence.
Then we had longer-haired Agent Cooper: a desperate, determined, soul who looked a little like his “rock god” namesake Alice. He was a bad boy, brutally killing a bikini-clad girl in a motel room who was merely trying to be friendly. He rewarded her by holding a pillow over her head and shooting her with a handgun. There’s gratitude for you.
Twin Peaks then & now Wed, May 17, 2017
Twin Peaks is back! See the stars of the show then and now from Kyle MacLachlan to Peggy Lipton & more.
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Kyle MacLachlan as Dale Cooper
He seems to be in a race against time, and by the end of episode two was heading to Buckhorn, South Dakota. This is where another plot line is developing involving a headteacher who, in a nightmare he says, has killed a local librarian, separating her head from her body when she wasn’t looking.
You will be delighted to learn this is the most watchable story of the two-and-a-quarter hour offering. It appeared a straightforward murder-mystery but, of course, nothing is ever what you see here. That’s part of the appeal. With Lynch’s work you either go with the madness or not.
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Each time I thought about turning it off, I just couldn’t. It must make sense eventually, I thought. There is, of course, no guarantee.
The recurring line in the first two episodes is “something is missing”. The audience will wholeheartedly agree with this but something might also keep dragging you back.
In the most surreal of scenes, a young man continues to peer unemotionally into an empty glass box in a New York apartment under the instructions of a mystery billionaire who is filming him. We have no idea why.
But “meaning” is so over-rated. David Lynch would no doubt agree.
At least we know where we are with Martin Shaw. One of TV’s best actors, his Inspector George Gently (BBC1, Sunday) returned with two further, feature-length, episodes. Set in Newcastle in 1970, the background theme was the rights of women and domestic violence.
Unlike ITV’s Prime Suspect 1973, which bludgeoned you over the head with the issue, this story treated the viewer as someone who might have lived through the 1970s and knew exactly what was going on. But it was also nice to be reminded of the ground-breaking changes that were happening.
A constable walked into Gently’s with a morning drink for his inspector, announcing: “It’s frothy coffee from the machine. It’s Italian!” Remember when that was a treat? There was abstract art, too, in the art school where the daughter of the victim was working. Weren’t they interesting times?
Inspector George Gently (BBC1, Sunday) returned with two further, feature-length, episodes
But there was real change happening in the drama. Lorcan Cranitch’s police boss told Gently the words he really didn’t want to hear: “You need to set a date for your retirement.” But as we know, it’s the single detective who is really facing his demise across television.
All the while, his sidekick Lee Ingleby was seeking “answers in the bottom of a glass”.
His own spin-off, a la Lewis, looks unlikely.
A fine episode of drama with an extraordinary performance from Shaw and Victoria Bewick, who played the wife of the victim, Marion Liddell. The final episode has now been delayed indefinitely, apparently, due to a politically sensitive plot line. More and more intriguing.
Finally, there was a merry dance, literally,
in barmy Grantchester (ITV, Sunday). Malcontented vicar James Norton took himself off to a Romany camp where there was the prospect of a 1950s’ slimline big fat gypsy wedding. Sidney attended the engagement party as he tried to extract money from his housekeeper’s thieving estranged husband (Charlie Higson).
The former The Fast Show man is now marketing himself as a bit-part bad boy. And very good he is, too. Alas, the party ended in typical style with someone opting for a shotgun wedding. In the next episode Sidney threatens to decamp to the seaside town of Mablethorpe on the Lincolnshire coast, in an episode that should be entitled, “See a vicar on a donkey”.