I was flipping around the TV channels tonight, and came across Twin Peaks on the Crime and Investigation channel. (No, not a channel I even knew existed.)
John and I were avid Twin Peaks watchers in the early 90's. We saw every episode except one, I think, even taping them if we couldn't watch live. Yes, taping, with a VCR, how quaint! But watching this episode tonight reminded me how complicated and wierd that show was - this was an episode from fairly late into the series, full of odd characters and strange images, some quite disturbing. It was a true series, as well, and if you missed an episode you missed a lot, so watching tonight meant really digging deep to try to remember who was who and what was happening.
It made me think how television has changed, or perhaps I have changed. We hardly watch any network TV anymore, and really don't follow any series. That started when we had kids, and bedtime was an involved process and invariably overlapped the start of a show. But even now, with children who are much more independent about bedtime, I rarely feel compelled to watch a comedy or a drama, usually opting for Home & Garden, Discovery Channel, or something else that I can drop in and out of.
I hear people talking about Lost, and how wierd and compelling that is, or Pushing Daisies, and now I'm thinking that all those "fringe-y" shows owe a debt to David Lynch and Twin Peaks. It was such an "out there" show, even now, and I think it probably did open some doors to what was acceptable. And it definitely did not coddle the viewer, either in storyline or imagery. And I have to say, it really looked like it has aged well. Sometimes you see an old show, and it looks dated. This didn't.
Of course, now I have to go to bed with all this disturbing stuff in my head.