TWIN PEAKS: FROM Z TO A Repackages David Lynch’s Wonderful, Strange Series

During our current Golden Age of Television, the prospect of a long-running series from David Lynch doesn’t seem that odd. But when Twin Peaks premiered in April of 1990, it changed forever the way we looked at the small-screen format, and when it returned to airwaves in 2017 for a third season, it did so again. That is remains an outlier even at a time when so many strange, inventive, idiosyncratic shows succeed on streaming services—much less network TV—serves as a testament to Lynch’s singular creativity.

The death of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) not only launched an incredible mystery but gave borth to one of the most unique and daring television series of all time.

Paramount Home Entertainment

A variety of home video releases have celebrated and further explored Twin Peaks over the past three decades, including on VHS, laserdisc, DVD, and Blu-ray. The new 21-disc box set Twin Peaks: From Z To A puts all of them to shame not only by collecting all available material from all three seasons and the feature film long estranged (by both legal rights and artistic tone) from the show, but also including several new extras that explore the making and highlight the incredible impact, historically and artistically, of Lynch’s greatest achievement.

The immediate obstacle Twin Peaks fans face with Z To A is the high likelihood that they own most or all of the material from the series and movie, thanks to some terrific releases over the past few years. The 2014 Blu-ray collection featured the full original series, a 2017 release finally offered a domestic version of Fire Walk With Me, and a 2017 set assembled all 18 parts of The Return. However, this new set is significant not only because it encapsulates all of that material, but offers fans their own little Red Room where they can stage their own encounters between Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), Agent Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), the Dream Man (Michael J. Anderson), or any of a dozen other characters audiences encountered over the course of the series.

The cube-shaped box opens to reveal two sleeves featuring the 20 discs of the original series, The Return, Fire Walk With Me, and hours upon hours of extra materials. Additionally, there’s a separate sleeve for the three episodes mastered in 4K, as well as a small envelope featuring images from the show. And finally, there’s a small acrylic cutout of Agent Cooper and Laura Palmer for positioning in your personal Red Room.

This 21-disc box set collects everything from all three seasons, the film Fire Walk With Me, and hours of bonus materials.

Paramount Home Entertainment

The collection of extras accompanying earlier sets has grown in size and substance over the years, bumping up from episode teasers to alternate cuts to deleted scenes to mini-documentaries to feature-length retrospectives—each offering new evidence of the stature and reputation of the show by a growing army of fans. Z To A includes all of those, as well as a number of significant new bonus materials that particularly shed light on The Return, but also delve more deeply into the creative process that led cast and crew members through Twin Peaks as a whole.

Specifically, home video extras producer Charles De Lauzirika (The Alien Quadrilogy, Blade Runner) put together 10-20-minute featurettes about each of the 18 episodes of The Return revealing on-set interactions and the process of shooting certain scenes. Although physical sets were built for many of the wild scenes and scenarios in the show, Lynch’s creativity remains thrillingly intangible while he’s directing, and he largely shepherds his actors through the experience viscerally without ever (apparently) explaining exactly what’s happening. Episode eight, the show’s incredible, visually transcendent centerpiece, features scenes starring Carel Struycken, also known as The Giant, and it’s fascinating watching Lynch block the scene with his actor, but never decode what all of it means. Lynch also seems to make a special point of thanking every actor when he or she wraps shooting, and even if it doesn’t provide answers about the show, it’s a nice detail that highlights Lynch’s kindness as the captain of this odd ship.

The other big bonus feature is a 90-minute conversation with MacLachlan and Lee about the history and legacy of Twin Peaks. I’m not sure they quite get underneath the mythology of the series—I don’t know if anyone can do that, including Lynch himself—but they offer some really lovely recollections about their time working on the show, and what their experiences were returning to this bizarre universe Lynch created, and rekindled, for The Return.

Kyle Maclachlan discusses a scene with director David Lynch on the set of Twin Peaks: The Return.

Paramount Home Entertainment

The other major bonus featurette is “On the Couch,” an interview with Kimmy Robertson and Harry Goaz, who play Andy and Lucy. It’s cute but less substantial (in length and content) than the MacLachlan and Lee chat. Meanwhile, the set also includes full, uncut versions of all of the Roadhouse performances from episodes of The Return, and perhaps most thrillingly, 4K versions of both cuts of the original series pilot and episode eight from The Return. Episode eight looks, well, just astonishingly beautiful, but getting to watch these seminal moments in television history in the highest possible quality is its own thrill.

Convoluted and deliberately dreamlike as it may be, the timeline of Twin Peaks still remains a huge mystery to (possibly all of) its viewers, and this set won’t likely unlock many answers. Lynch operates in a unique creative bubble driven by instinct and intuition—asking for those explanations is embarking on a fool’s errand—but much more of the show makes sense, and even follows a throughline of “logic,” demented though it may be, than many sometimes believe. Twin Peaks: From Z To A underscores this by giving fans and newcomers to the show all of the pieces and leaving them the challenge of assembling them. It’s a task that one can’t really hope to complete, but with material this dense, thought-provoking and emotional, the reward comes just in the undertaking.

The Dream Man (Michael J. Anderson) and Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) play host to your nightmares inside the Red Room.

Paramount Home Entertainment

Header Photo: Paramount Home Entertainment

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