Pics and Pans

People April 2, 1990

Picks and Pans

By David Hiltbrand

The foray of filmmaker David (Blue Velvet) Lynch into series television is visually arresting and mysteriously atmospheric, as strange and unsettling a project as any in the medium's history.

A 17-year-old homecoming queen in the Pacific Northwest is found murdered. The investigation into her death, led by town sheriff Michael Ontkean and FBI agent Kyle MacLachlan, uncovers pervasive corruption and decadence. As the plot unfolds, it also includes Dana Ashbrook, Lara Flynn Boyle, Everett McGill, Sherilyn Fenn, Peggy Lipton, Joan Chen and Piper Laurie.

What a surreal stew! People behave and sometimes talk inexplicably, the music is spooky, and the camera lingers to Dadaist effect on odd details like a traffic light swaying in the night wind.

The storytelling isn't linear, pointed or swift in the way television viewers are accustomed to having it spoon-fed to them. The style is certainly too arty, obtuse and arch for wide popularity, but I had images from the show floating into my mind's eye days afterward. It's impossible to guess where they will take the plot from here, but I intend to find out when Twin Peaks moves to its regularly scheduled time on Thursday at 9. The show may well be the '90s equivalent of the '60s cult hit The Prisoner. Grade: B+

Copyright 1990 People Magazine

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