When you establish yourself as a genius within a certain community, you’ll be talked about, and heavily so. Some people will hate what you do, and some will love what you do, but your work will remain a staple of its field and genre. Such is the blessing – or curse, depending on how you choose to look at it – of David Lynch. His works are known for consistently pushing the boundaries of the acceptable and deemed entertaining, forcing viewers to often exist in planes of reality they didn’t think possible.
Perhaps his most notable work to ever reach television screens was the ever-so-frightening Twin Peaks, which intrigued its audiences with the mysterious disappearance of Laura Palmer. The series was so popular it paved the way to a follow-up movie and show – such was the influence of Twin Peaks in the world of entertainment. It’s only natural that a work like this would go on to inspire other shows for years to come. Let’s take a look at ten projects that Twin Peaks inspired.
10 Wayward Pines
Wayward Pines aired between 2015 and 2016, and it told the story of Secret Service agent Ethan Burke, portrayed by Matt Dillon, as he ventured into a small town in Idaho to investigate the disappearance of two federal agents. Aptly named after the small town in which it takes place, the show is impregnated with suspense and sci-fi themes.
Although it doesn’t touch the supernatural element Lynch is known for, the mystery surrounding the agents’ disappearance and the insertion of a law enforcement entity in a small town where nothing is where it seems just screams Lynch.
Even though Riverdale is meant to be an adaptation os a series of light-hearted comics, it clearly has its own take on what Archie and company do with their lives. Everything from the paranormal to mysterious murders is present on the show, alongside the lives of a group of teenagers who got dealt a very unexpected hand.
Even the small-town America with tons of secrets underlying what seems to be an inconsequential existence trope is heavily present in Riverdale. Plus, the show includes one of the original cast members of Twin Peaks in the form of Betty’s mom. What more could a Twin Peaks aficionado want?
8 True Detective
Even though none of the seasons that followed the first installment of True Detective managed to match its sheer brilliance, the show still deserves a mention precisely because of its first season. From the small-town setting to the uneasy and threatening atmosphere surrounding the entire investigation, True Detective has Lynch written all over it.
In fact, it one was to add a single supernatural element to the story, True Detective‘s first season could have easily been Lynch’s brainchild. Plus, the performances delivered by Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson are absolutely breathtaking, and we can only hope the genius himself would collaborate with the actors in the future.
7 Veronica Mars
Veronica Mars was so popular during its original run between 2004 and 2006, that a new season even made its way to our television screens earlier this year. But what truly shows the cult series was inspired by Lynch’s masterpiece was the first season, which also centered around the death of a teenage girl in California.
The aesthetic of the show and its darker elements are a clear odd to Twin Peaks, as is the character of Veronica Mars herself, along with the entire supporting circle of characters. A must-watch for anyone who craves the tale of social decay and mystery that defines Twin Peaks.
Hannibal aired from 2013 to 2015, and not only did it deliver fantastic performances by Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen, but it also cemented itself as one of the best television series to ever air (it currently sits on IMDb’s list of Top-Rated shows). Depicting the early relationship between Hannibal Lecter and his patient, the show is gripping and glorious in its menacing atmosphere.
Had it premiered two decades ago, Hannibal would be considered ground-breaking, but it was thanks to Lynch’s first dabble with dark and gritty themes that laid the foundation for a show like this to one day make its way into our screens.
5 The Killing
Netflix’s The Killing aired from 2011 to 2014, and those familiar with Twin Peaks would be quick to recognize the similarities between the two shows. This isn’t to say that The Killing doesn’t have its own merits – on the contrary! The show is filled with compelling plotlines, spectacular acting, and writing that earned a nomination for a Primetime Emmy.
However, the theme of a teenage girl showing up dead and stirring the life of investigators and small-town residents alike is a clear ode to Lynch’s work. Which, again, is a pretty good thing. We love nothing more than fantastic pieces of art being born thanks to past inspiration form the genre.
It’s not a stretch to assume that Fringe was inspired by Lynch’s masterpiece simply because the creators have admitted so themselves. Writer Roberto Orci stated that co-writer Alex Kurtzman was a huge fan of the show, and wanted to bring certain elements from Twin Peaks into Fringe.
The result was a gripping narrative that wasn’t afraid to challenge viewers’ notions of what reality truly means, just like Twin Peaks did decades before. Plus, the show is ripe with references to Lynch’s work. A perfect 100 episode watch for any fan of David’s original series.
3 Desperate Housewives
If you’re not familiar with Desperate Housewives and fool yourself into thinking it’s a reality TV show, think again. The show, which aired from 2004 to 2012, managed to combine drama, mystery and dark comedy all into one in a way that very few television series manage to do.
And it all begins with the death of a woman in the suburbs. Sounds familiar? Sure, as time went on, Desperate Housewives strayed away from its original premise but maintained the themes of underlying decay of the mask the inhabitants of the neighborhood so desperately tried to keep.
Airing between 2003 and 2005, Carnivàle didn’t just take some inspiration from Twin Peaks due to the fact its cast included Michael J. Anderson, a favorite of Lynch’s to star in his projects – Peaks among them.
Detailing the story of a traveling Carnival during the Great Depression, Carnivàle plays with many of the freakish elements and morbid themes that Lynch’s original show did. Plus, much like Twin Peaks when it first aired, Carnivàle too was canceled way too soon, leaving audiences to use their imagination to fill in the gaps the show left.
1 The OA
A drama mystery that centers around the story of a blind girl who went missing, only to return seven years later with her sight completely restored? That just has David Lynch written all over it, especially when you add all the metaphysical elements and wacky backstory that Prairie Johnson walks us through.
The OA only aired for two seasons, and the fans were forced to wait three long and excruciating seasons between the first and the second. But anyone who followed the whole thing can tell you it was worth it, without a second thought.
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