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Wrapped Up in Plastic 

David Lynch's strange and wonderful TV series gets the Blu-ray treatment it deserves

It was 1990 when Laura Palmer—dead and wrapped in plastic—first washed up on shore at the Packard Mill.

The state of American hour-long TV shows was as follows: Dynasty had gone off the air a year before, and Dallas had one year left. Those two shows were the high watermark of dramatic, episodic programming. In retrospect, they were also kind of awful.

Twin Peaks only made it for two seasons, but creator David Lynch created quite the lasting legacy in those two years. He also got a lot of college-aged kids and young adults glued to their TV sets on a weekly basis, coffee and cherry pie nearby.

Lynch put together an eclectic cast of his usual cronies from films like Blue Velvet and Eraserhead (Kyle MacLachlan, Jack Nance) as well as calling upon forgotten names with recognizable faces (Richard Beymer and Russ Tamblyn of West Side Story; Peggy Lipton from The Mod Squad). Rounding out the cast were some of the best looking new female faces ever to grace a TV screen (Sherilyn Fenn, Madchen Amick, Sheryl Lee and a pre-plastic surgery Lara Flynn Boyle).

Dallas had caused an uproar by shooting J.R. (Larry Hagman) in the last episode of a season and making viewers wait to find out the shooter. Lynch gave us the mystery of Laura Palmer's death and made us wait through an entire first season, the off-season, and then part of season two.

Lynch, who directed six episodes, including the infamous pilot and the underrated series finale, managed to mix his bizarre sense of humor into each series episode, even the ones he didn't direct. The murder mystery was a real puzzler, and I remember changing my "Who dunnit?" guess many times.

One year after the series left television unceremoniously (audiences dropped off after the mystery was solved), Lynch attempted to take the phenomena to the big screen with Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, a film that showcased the ugly side of Twin Peaks and met with resounding boos at the Cannes Film Festival. It was a prequel to the TV series, allowing Lynch and Sheryl Lee to show us the final days of Laura Palmer. Because it lacked the sense of humor, and many of the characters that made the TV show a success, fans and general moviegoers alike shunned it.

Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery Blu-ray packages the show and movie together. Peaks geeks finally get "The Missing Pieces," 90 minutes of deleted and extended scenes from the movie.

These scenes show that Lynch had intended for something a little fuller, and a little funnier, with his original cut (which some claim was close to four hours). Many of the show's characters (Sheriff Harry Truman, Big Ed Hurley) had a place in Fire Walk with Me, but wound up on the cutting room floor. There's one scene involving Pete Martell (Nance) that is as good as anything in the movie.

There's also "Between Two Worlds," featuring new interviews done by Lynch with the Palmer family. The Palmers stay in character for the first part of the black-and-white interview (Ray Wise's Leland Palmer gives a chilling recollection of his memories since Peaks), and then things switch to color as the actors become themselves and simply reminisce.

Hold on to your older DVD editions. While the new features are a must have, you aren't getting some of the archival stuff, including director commentaries and other documentaries.

Also, be warned that some copies of the Blu-ray have an audio sync problem on "The Missing Pieces." Some fiddling with your player's audio settings fix the problem a little, but the discerning eye can see that everything is a bit off.

A deleted scene from Fire Walk with Me features the direct aftermath of Agent Cooper busting his head on a mirror and asking, "How's Annie?" (the final scene from the TV show). That's probably the closest thing we will ever get to a Twin Peaks sequel.

More by Bob Grimm

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