May. 20th, 2017

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[personal profile] froodle
It happens every TV season now like clockwork: some cryptic new drama bills itself as being like Twin Peaks. This year, according to its writer Robert Aguirre-Sacasa, it was Riverdale, The CW’s dark Archie reboot. Last year, it was FX comedy Atlanta, which creator Donald Glover touted as “Twin Peaks with rappers.” The list goes on: Wayward Pines, Bates Motel, The Killing, Stranger Things — all marketed, in varying ways, as being Twin Peak-y. The show was cancelled in 1991, but “like Twin Peaks” remains industry shorthand for “strange, boundary-pushing TV.”

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But Twin Peaks’ greatest legacy? It gave TV permission to be weird. The standard narrative arc was eschewed for an auteur’s singular vision: one full of idiosyncratic character studies, a labyrinthine plot, and dialogue juxtaposing the humdrum with the haunting. Never before — and really, never since — had a TV show challenged this many people to such a WTF-worthy extent. Twin Peaks was more about steeping viewers in a Lynchian underworld than solving a murder. Of course, once it became clear closure wasn’t coming, audiences began losing patience. Nervous ABC execs insisted Laura’s murderer be revealed midway through the second season. By then, a disenchanted Lynch and Frost were focusing on other projects, only peripherally involved with Twin Peaks. The show was canned (with a chilling finale directed by Lynch). Soon after, however, other dramas would ape the “supernatural mystery” formula (see: Wild Palms, Eerie, Indiana, The X-Files). We’ve seen countless more shows since centred on uncanny, out-there visions, from Lost to The OA. All have either pilfered from Twin Peaks directly, or were encouraged by what it proved: that TV could be peculiar, ambitious, and radically unique. Well, to an extent — audiences still expect loose ends to be tied. (Stranger Things’ writers promised there’d be “justice for Barb” in Season 2 due to Internet rage over the matter.)

Which is why now, given a carte blanche to realize their vision, Lynch and Frost are about to reintroduce us to a world still unlike anything out there. Sure, we’ve got weird shows today, but they’ll never be this unhinged, this disturbing, this blasé about viewers’ desires. That all makes for damn fine TV. Drink it up.
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[personal profile] froodle
Eerie, Indiana is an American television series that aired on ABC from 1991 to 1992 and then on syndication on FOX from 1997 to 1998. The series was created by José Rivera and Karl Schaefer, with Joe Dante serving as creative consultant.

The show revolves around Marshall Teller, a young boy whose family moves to the desolate town of Eerie, Indiana, population of 16,661. While moving into his new home, he meets Simon Holmes, one of the few normal people in Eerie. Together, they are faced with bizarre scenarios, which include discovering a sinister group of intelligent dogs that are planning on taking over the world, and meeting a tornado hunter who is reminiscent of Captain Ahab. They also confront numerous urban legends such as Bigfoot and a still-living Elvis Presley. Although the show was host to a plethora of jokes, it also featured a serious X-Files-like tone. After thirteen episodes, one of which did not air during the network run, the series was retooled with Jason Marsden's "Dash X" added to the cast, and Archie Hahn's Mr. Radford is revealed to be an imposter, with John Astin revealed to be the "actual" Mr. Radford. The final episode was a tongue-in-cheek, fourth wall breaking sequence of events depicting Dash X's attempts to take over as star of the show.

In 1998, a spin off series was produced, Eerie, Indiana: The Other Dimension. The series was filmed in Canada, and focused on another, younger boy while still following the concept of the original show. The spin off was short-lived, and only lasted one season. The first episode of the latter show, "Switching Channels", features a crossover between the two shows via a TV set.

I remeber this show scaring the crap out of me in the early 90s. Anyone else watched it? It's out on DVD and you'll find most - if not all - of the episodes on a certain popular video-hosting site.

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Eerie Indiana

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