The impact that David Lynch has had on the television medium can hardly be quantified in any way. Twin Peaks revolutionised how television shows were conceptualised, paving the way for other creators who followed in Lynch’s footsteps and contributed to the revitalisation of episodic narratives whose artistic investigations never faltered.
While Lynch had already proven that he was a promising visionary through early masterpieces such as Eraserhead and The Elephant Man, Twin Peaks was a defining moment in Lynch’s career that earned him the title of “the first popular surrealist”. With Twin Peaks, Lynch showed the world that it was possible to achieve the philosophical power of cinema in each and every episode of a show.
To this day, modern shows have been trying to emulate the wonderful surrealism of Twin Peaks and the best example of that is Donald Glover’s Atlanta. Glover himself claimed that he had set out to make a version of Twin Peaks that revolved around rappers but he managed to make a worthy modern spiritual successor of Lynch’s opus.
Lynch is still heavily interested in the television medium, labelling it as the new “arthouse”. That’s exactly why he returned to Twin Peaks in 2017 and was supposed to be working on a Netflix project which had a huge budget of $85 million. Titled Wisteria, Lynch had already signed on to direct 13 episodes but it has apparently been cancelled by Netflix according to latest reports.
When asked about his favourite show of all time, Lynch did not hesitate to cite one of the classics of American television – the 1957 legal drama series Perry Mason. Film historians have noted that Perry Mason was one of the most successful of its kind, with Raymond Burr’s portrayal of the titular character always being highly rated.
Lynch revealed that Perry Mason had a formative influence on him because that was what he grew up with. “We didn’t have a TV until I was in the third grade, and I watched some TV as a child, but not very much,” Lynch said in an interview.
Concluding: “The only show I really watched was Perry Mason. Television did what the internet is doing more of now: It homogenised everything.”