Twin Peaks: classic fate of a television original

It is almost 20 years since Twin Peaks challenged television conventions.

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These days the phrase "cult classic" is in danger of losing all meaning, attached as it is to almost any halfway quirky television series with its own fanpage. So as David Lynch's masterpiece Twin Peaks approaches its 20th anniversary, it's fitting to take a moment to remember a show that, without any doubt, deserves the accolade. Set in the fictional town of Twin Peaks, Washington, the series followed the FBI's Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) as he set about trying to solve the murder of the town's prom queen and girl-next-door, Laura Palmer.

It turned out that, far from being the paragon of virtue the townsfolk took her for, the teenager had lots of dark and distressing secrets, all of which inevitably came to light. With its surreal storylines and strange characters, Twin Peaks was unlike anything that had been on American television before, but it became a surprise hit. Sadly, like many other series before and since, it suffered from conflict with the TV network. ABC changed its timeslot, and pushed for the identity of the killer to be revealed in the first half of season two. Ratings declined further, and after 30 episodes, Twin Peaks came to an abrupt end in the summer of 1991, leaving its fans hanging off the edges of their sofas with its nail-biting and unfinished climax.

We will never know what became of Special Agent Cooper, nor of the twisted and troubled townsfolk, but we're sure that's the way Lynch would have wanted it anyway.