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The Contemporary Television Series$
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Michael Hammond and Lucy Mazdon

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780748619009

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748619009.001.0001

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Twin Peaks: David Lynch and the Serial-Thriller Soap

Twin Peaks: David Lynch and the Serial-Thriller Soap

(p.37) Chapter 3 Twin Peaks: David Lynch and the Serial-Thriller Soap
The Contemporary Television Series

Linda Ruth Williams

Edinburgh University Press

Twin Peaks was a pioneering television series created by David Lynch and Mark Frost, aired on ABC from April 1990 to June 1991. The oft-repeated adjective ‘quirky’ has become almost a synonym for Twin Peaks, though the series is as genuinely grief- and horror-driven as it is humour-laced. Viewers did not know whether to laugh or cry, but usually did both. Yet Twin Peaks' tears and fears were predicated on its deployment of two of television's most predictable formats: soap opera and the crime/investigative thriller. Often read as the perfect hybrid of Lynch's cinematic strangeness and Frost's respectable televisual pedigree, Twin Peaks posed a series of questions about genre, seriality and auteurism for television studies. It was a mix of tears and sex, investigation and secrets. The series' twin obsessions with weeping and the unknown/unknowable were indicators of genre, and agents in the confusions bound up with the series' format. Twin Peaks first promised the resolutions of an episodic series, but unfolded as an irresolvable continuous serial.

Keywords:   Twin Peaks, David Lynch, television series, Mark Frost, soap opera, crime/investigative thriller, genre, seriality, auteurism, sex

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