The 90s giveth, and the 90s taketh away. Twin Peaks ushered in the 90s, premiering in April of 1990. I won't pretend to be a hipster who was on to the show from the beginning: by the time I heard about it, enough episodes had passed that I was completely lost when I tried to watch it. It wasn't until the episodes came out on VHS in the mid 90s that I was finally able to sit down and watch them all.
Twin Peaks/Fire Walk With Me
The 90s giveth and the 90s taketh away.
Twin Peaks set the stage for so many shows and movies to follow. I doubt there would have been an X-Files without a Twin Peaks. When The X-Files debuted, it was pretty clear (to me at least) that Mulder was a direct descendent of Agent Cooper. The short dark hair; the interest in the occult.
I also doubt there would have been a Lost without a fan base of people who cut their teeth on Twin Peaks, and who yearned for that long form storytelling of a very strange story. Twin Peaks certainly was that. The show was so ground-breaking, so mind-meltingly strange, that its effects are still felt now, more than 20 years later. You can still make a "backwards-talking dwarf" reference, and people will laugh.
But the 90s also brought Fire Walk With Me, the movie prequel which was widely considered one of Lynch's worst works. It infuriated and baffled fans of the show, fans of David Lynch, and filmgoers everywhere. I watched the movie twice, then gave it up as an historical oddity.
I was kind, in that. Many people felt that, between the final year of the show (when it had been abandoned by everyone who cared about it, and the production was visibly flailing) and this movie, many Twin Peaks fans were outraged. I mean, out of everything in the whole entire show, the only thing the prequel really explains and demystifies is the darned traffic light. How could you not be infuriated?
But superfan Alex Pappademas kept watching, and 20-some years later he has written what is clearly the user notes that the movie needed all along. After reading Pappademas' extensive, thoughtful, and thought-provoking guide, I feel the strange urge to watch it again. (Another confession: I bought the DVD almost a decade ago on sale at Best Buy. It sat, unwrapped, on my shelves until I sold it at a used bookstore - still wrapped - three years ago.)