Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Review: 'Wrapped in Plastic: Twin Peaks'

ECW's new Pop Classics series is another in the vogue-ish vein of ultra-mini pop culture lines like Continuum's 33 1/3 books, Wallflower Press' Cultographies, and Auteur's Devil's Advocates. Unlike those lines that specifically home in on albums, cult movies, and horror movies, respectively, Pop Classics is broader in its focus, its first titles covering comics (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles),  cult feature films (Showgirls), and cult TV. The first title devoted to the latter is Andy Burns's Wrapped in Plastic: Twin Peaks. The timing for this book may seem perfect since there's so much resumed interest in David Lynch and Mark Frost's groundbreaking series amidst a recent high-profile blu-ray release, and more improbably, the announcement that season three is in the works, but it's actually slightly unfortunate since that resumed interest means a new flood of very in-depth writing about the series, best exemplified by Brad Dukes's superb Reflections: An Oral History of Twin Peaks

In contrast, Burns's book is a pretty basic, 100-page introduction to the series that probably won't teach hardcore "Peaks" fans much they don't already know. He covers the basic genesis of the series and how it broke conventions of Network TV storytelling and how its aftershocks can be felt in series from "Northern Exposure" and "Picket Fences" through "Psych" and "Hannibal". There are some interesting tidbits that come through in the interviews Burns conducted with alumni such as actor Dana Ashbrook (who gives some fascinating background on Bobby Briggs's poignant conversation with father Major Briggs in the season two premier), actress Kimmy Robertson (who provides some extra details about what went wrong with the Uli Edel-directed episode), and Secret Diary of Laura Palmer-scribe Jennifer Lynch (who offers a very interesting interpretation of BOB's possession of Leland Palmer). Burns also deserves credit for reserving several of his scant pages to exploring how the series dealt with incest. Overall, though, Wrapped in Plastic is really a primer for brand new fans. Fortunately, with the release of that blu-ray and the announcement of season three, there should be plenty of those.

Get Wrapped in Plastic: Twin Peaks on Amazon.com here:


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