Twin Peaks is an American television serial drama created by David Lynch and Mark Frost. The series follows the investigation headed by FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) of the murder of a popular teenager and homecoming queen, Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee). Twin Peaks' pilot episode was first broadcast on April 8, 1990 on ABC, which led to another seven episodes being produced and a second season, which aired until June 10, 1991. The show's name came from its setting, a small, fictional Washington town. Exteriors were primarily filmed in Snoqualmie and North Bend, with additional exteriors shot in southern California. Most of the interior scenes were shot on standing sets in a San Fernando Valley warehouse.
Twin Peaks became one of the top-rated shows of 1990, a critical success both nationally and internationally. Reflecting its devoted cult fan base, the series became a part of popular culture, referenced in other television shows, commercials, comic books, video games, films and song lyrics. Declining viewer ratings led to ABC's insistence that the identity of Laura's murderer be revealed midway through the second season. In 1992, the series spawned a prequel, the film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, a commercial failure in America, but a success in Japan.
In 1997, the pilot episode was ranked #25 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time. In 2002, the series was ranked #45 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time and in 2007, it was listed as one of Time's "Best TV Shows of All-TIME". The show placed #49 on Entertainment Weekly's "New TV Classics" list, and placed at #12 in their list of the "25 Best Cult TV Shows from the Past 25 Years".
As with much of Lynch's other work (notably Blue Velvet), Twin Peaks explores the gulf between the veneer of small-town respectability and the seedier layers of life lurking beneath it. As the series progresses, characters who first appeared innocent are revealed to lead double lives, thus exposing their darkness.
Consistent with Lynch's work as a whole, Twin Peaks is not easily placed within an established genre. Although its unsettling tone and supernatural features are consistent with horror films, its campy melodramatic portrayal of quirky characters engaged in morally dubious activities reflects a bizarrely comical parody of American soap operas. Finally, like the rest of Lynch's oeuvre, the show represents an earnest moral inquiry distinguished by both weird humor and a deep vein of surrealism.