REVIEW: Wrapped in Plastic: Twin Peaks by Andy Burns

Wow, what a strange few months it has been for Twin Peaks fans. After 25 years of teases and denials, Lynch and Frost finally announced we'll be getting a long-awaited continuation of the series in 2016, with Agent Cooper, Laura Palmer, and Audrey Horne already confirmed to return. In addition, Frost announced he'll be writing an accompanying novel to fill in the 25 years between the two series.

As a result, Wrapped in Plastic: Twin Peaks couldn't have come at a better time, even if the timing means Andy Burns finished the book before the news of a confirmed revival could provide a fitting epilogue.

It's a relatively short book and a quick read, but Burns does a great job of examining what made the show special, and of exploring its lasting legacy in terms of influence and inspiration. He breaks down the technical details of how scenes were framed, of how different effects were achieved, and of what kind of direction actors and writers were given to discover the characters. He talks about just how much influence Lynch's cinematic vision had on the series, and which of the other writers were most responsible for its most memorable moments. I was barely a teenager when Twin Peaks first aired, so I was largely ignorant of the technical, stylistic aspects. Looking back, and applying Burns' analysis to the scenes I remember, casts the series in a whole new light.

While the homages and tributes are obvious, such as the Darkwing Duck parody that I still quote to this day (and which he fondly recalls), the overall influence on TV is something I had never considered. We've become so accustomed to things like season-long story arcs, cinematic production values, and weird or experimental storytelling, that it's easy to forget how much Twin Peaks did first. Burns walks us through both sides of that influence, and really helps to put the show's legacy in context. We toss around terms like 'ground-breaking' all the time, but this is one of those shows where that term is completely deserved.

If you've never seen the show, this isn't likely to make you want to go back and watch the original series, but fans will find a lot to appreciate in Wrapped in Plastic: Twin Peaks. Along with reminding us of how fantastic the show was, it's a great recap of the characters and story lines, and a perfect way to get quickly reacquainted with the world Lynch and Frost created.

Paperback, 144 pages
Expected publication: February 10th 2015 by ECW Press