1. Twin Peaks changed serialized television
Twin Peaks was the first show that was built around one central mystery. The show was at his best before Laura Palmer’s killer was revealed and the whole world was wondering who killed Laura Palmer.
Before Twin Peaks, individual episodes of TV series tended to have closed endings. Even cliffhangers usually got answered within an episode or two. TV makers didn’t spend much attention to a show’s cohesiveness over the course of a season. That all changed after Twin Peaks.
The X-Files, for example, got viewers hooked with the alien abduction conspiracy storyline, that started in the first episode and continued up to the final.
2. With Twin Peaks TV and cinema grew closer
Before Twin Peaks, the notion that a master filmmaker would work for television was unheard of. With Twin Peaks, David Lynch showed that TV could, under the right circumstances, be just as artistic and just as cinematic as cinema itself.
Twin Peaks is the reason cinematic visionaries like Steven Soderbergh are nowadays abandoning movies for television.
3. After Twin Peaks, it became okay for TV to be weird
That this really weird show was shown to a prime time public in 1990 feels like nothing short of a miracle in retrospect.
Cooper’s dream about the red room and the Twin Peaks finale, more than 25 years later they’re still one of the best, weirdest TV scenes to air on any network.
The dream sequences of The Sopranos. The puzzles of Lost. None of these would have been possible without Twin Peaks.
4. Twin Peaks was the first show where dreams were carrying the plot
In Twin Peaks dreams were meant to be interpreted. “Break the code. Solve the crime” as agent Cooper puts it.
In The Sopranos dreams were not only giving Tony clues. Just like in Twin Peaks, sometimes they were foretelling things that would happen to the main character later.
The most plot-heavy dream that Tony Soprano had was induced by food poisoning. In this dream Tony realized that his best friend ‘Big Pussy’ was an FBI informant and needed to be ‘taken care off’.
5. Twin Peaks made viewers ask “What the hell is going on?”
Many TV shows tried to copy this mystique, hoping that throwing questions at the audience would keep them watching. One show that particularly comes to mind is ‘Lost’.
The continual process of answering questions with more questions was a hallmark of J. J. Abrams’ Lost, just like it was for Twin Peaks. Both series might have scared away a viewer or two by piling up too much unanswered questions.
6. Twin Peaks was the first series to generate so many fan theories
Even without social media buzz Twin Peaks was a show that naturally lent itself to intricate theories. Viewers obsessed about the show and discussed it at family gatherings and by the watercooler at work.
7. With Twin Peaks, location became a character
Hitchcock’s Rear Window is probably one of the first movies where much of the viewers’ attention goes to location.
David Lynch transposed Hitchcock’s voyeuristic view into the neighbours’ secrets to a small town and the woodland scenery of the Pacific Northwest. Shows that would later copy that: Northern Exposure, Wayward Pines and Riverdale.