A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Twin Peaks (aka Twin Peaks: The Return) is a surrealistic and strange drama about a group of characters who came to know each other in the 1990 cult drama/murder mystery Twin Peaks. This retool is every bit as confounding and weird as the original, but it's more intense and violent now that it's moved to cable instead of network TV. Expect gory and disturbing violence: on-screen deaths, stabbings, shooting, bludgeonings, bloody dead bodies shown at length, a decapitated body with a disembodied head next to it. Some violence additionally has a sexual tinge: A couple is killed during sex (her breasts are briefly visible) by a beast-like creature who suddenly appears in a glass box/mysterious portal; a woman is punched in the face and then shot dead by her boyfriend while dressed in a bra and underwear. Expect dating, kissing, references to sex, on-screen sex (with no genitals shown), and some very frank sexual talk. Cursing includes many variations on "f--k" as well as "hell," "dammit," and "bitch." One character smokes cigarettes; two others are marijuana distributors, and many scenes take place at bars with patrons drinking. This show is much too disturbing for young viewers, and parents may want to watch first before showing to teens.
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What's the story?
Helmed by Twin Peaks co-creators David Lynch and Mark Frost, TWIN PEAKS (also known as Twin Peaks: The Return) is a "refresh" of the 1990s cult series that stars many of the same characters and actors as the original. Kyle MacLachlan returns as Agent Dale Cooper, whose consciousness has been bisected: Half is stuck in the notorious Red Room that first appeared in one of Cooper's prophetic dreams with Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), half is a murderous leather-jacketed brute intent on committing a particular shadowy crime. Meanwhile, back in the town of Twin Peaks, Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn) is still a ne'er-do-well rich girl while her uncles Ben (Richard Beymer) and Jerry (David Patrick Kelly) are still owners of the Great Northern Hotel (though they're not making extra money distributing marijuana). Shelly (Madchen Amick) and Norma (Peggy Lipton) are still waitresses at the Double R Diner; Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) and deputy Andy (Harry Goaz) are still at the sheriff's office. There are plenty of new characters, too -- this remake has a 217-strong cast list -- but the weird goings-on in the town and among its characters haven't changed a bit.
Is it any good?
Menacing, atmospheric, and surreal to the point where it resists simple summing up (and straightforward reviewing), this rocket from the crypt captures the spirit of the original. The reboot takes its inspiration from the 1991 finale in which Laura Palmer told Agent Cooper, "I'll see you again in 25 years." Here we are, 25 years later, and Cooper is still receiving cryptic directions from Palmer, and we're still wondering what it all means. At least one thing seems clear: While the original focused mainly on Palmer's murder and the subsequent criminal investigation, Twin Peaks: The Return has no such central focus. Instead, several interconnected threads make up the story: Red Room Cooper has an evil doppelgänger loose on a killing spree, while somewhere in a Manhattan room there's a glass box kept under constant surveillance to see if anything appears (spoiler alert: Something does).
Meanwhile, South Dakota police have arrested a high school principal for a double murder, Agent Cooper is getting advice from a talking tree, law enforcement officer Hawk (Michael Horse) has found a mysterious portal in the woods, and Twin Peaks partiers are hanging out at the Bang Bang Bar roadhouse, where Shelly Johnson runs into her old flames James Hurley (James Marshall) and Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook), both of whom still carry old secrets. There are trains, there are neon signs, there is coffee, there is pie, there are diners and (gently aged) actors you used to know. OG fans are likely to be as confused and intrigued by this remake as they were by the original.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why this show that originally aired in 1990 has been remade in 2017. Are remakes of shows popular in another era common in this one? Why? Why would a remake like Twin Peaks be more appealing to a network than a brand-new idea? What built-in appeal do remakes have?
What does "surrealism" mean? What’s an example of a surrealistic moment in an episode of Twin Peaks? What's the difference between imagery and events that are surreal and those that are used as metaphors?
How does the violence in this show affect you? Does it seem more or less violent than other mysteries or legal dramas you've seen?
For kids who love mysteries
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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