“Complementary Verses”: The Science Fiction of Twin Peaks

  • J. P. Telotte


In one of his frequent taped messages about his investigation into the disturbing and often intersecting mysteries in the town of Twin Peaks, FBI agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) confesses a problem he faces simply in categorizing these events: “It would seem logic would dictate that these investigations be considered separate entities. However, I believe otherwise. I believe that these mysteries… are complementary verses of the same song. Now I cannot hear it yet, but I can feel it, and that’s enough for me.” It is a reaction that anticipates one line of critical response to David Lynch and Mark Frost’s landmark series, the problematic genre classification that has always attended a narrative that frequently shifts tone, subject, and even plot trajectory. How are audiences supposed to approach this constantly surprising narrative? In what context should they read—or “hear”— its various “verses”? That generic framing seems especially telling, a mystery—or “mysteries”—worthy of some investigation, especially since recent critical commentary has begun to frame it in what might seem an unlikely context. For Twin Peaks is a series that, like several other more recent efforts, most notably Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997–2003) and The Walking Dead (2010–present), and almost in spite of conventional markers, has frequently been embraced by science fiction (sf) critics and historians, and cited in their recent accounts of the genre.


Science Fiction Soap Opera Star Trek Twin Peak Television Genre 
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© J. P. Telotte 2016

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  • J. P. Telotte

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