5 TV Shows That Draw Inspiration From "Twin Peaks"

Updated on June 6, 2018

The Owls Are Not What They Seem

There is a beautiful, quaint town in the Northwest that is home to more than its fair share of murder, mystery, and downright absurdity. Written, directed, and produced by David Lynch, Twin Peaks is a show that is about as iconic as the RR Diner's damn fine cherry pie. These are just a handful of modern shows that have been influenced by the show.

Five Shows Influenced by Twin Peaks

1. Riverdale
2. Hannibal
3. Stranger Things
4. Fringe
5. Gravity Falls

1. Riverdale

Riverdale is the town from the famous Archie comics. This series from The CW takes the particularly malleable characters from the classic comic and throws them into a world not unlike Twin Peaks—the plot is driven by the murder of Cheryl Blossom's brother and is full of long, brooding shots of scenery that will remind anyone of David Lynch's style. A small town, mysterious and paranormal happenings, and a group of interesting (if slightly insane) characters. The only difference seems to be the vast amount of sex in Riverdale. Sex is not absent in Lynch's show but it's not often used unless completely necessary for the plot.

Bonus fact: Madchen Amick, who played Shelly Johnson in Twin Peaks, plays Alice Cooper in this show.

Madchen Amick in "Twin Peaks" (Left); Amick in "Riverdale" (Right)
Madchen Amick in "Twin Peaks" (Left); Amick in "Riverdale" (Right) | Source

2. Hannibal

Created by Bryan Fuller and using elements from Thomas Harris' novel Red Dragon, this thriller follows the villain we all know and love (or fear?), Hannibal Lecter. The main plot is centered around the character of Will Graham as he investigates a series of murders. The series has managed to collect a good following, both from people who have read Harris' books and those who have seen the movies such as Silence of the Lambs. This particular drama is notably influenced by Twin Peaks in the surrealism present in both the writing and the cinematography. Ironically, the book Red Dragon came out a few years before that series, so it's possible that David Lynch was inspired by its surreal horror, which in turn inspired Bryan Fuller in his creation of Hannibal. Just the trippy kind of thing Lynch would love.


3. Stranger Things

The Netflix hit that became the subject of more than a few Halloween costumes also has a certain mysterious air to it. Stranger Things is a show created by the Duffer Brothers. It is about the disappearance of a young boy (a plot device not unlike the murder of Laura Palmer) and the subsequent investigation by the local law enforcement, family, and friends. Set in a small town in Indiana, the show is not unlike Twin Peaks with its overall setting and mood. Interestingly enough, it also shares the combination of being an investigative and paranormal drama. Another fun connection is that Ed Benguiat, who was the designer for the opening titles in Twin Peaks, also designed the typeface used for the Stranger Things logo.


4. Fringe

Fringe is a sci-fi television show created by J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci. This paranormal FBI show follows a series of mysteries and ultimately delves into the world of alternate universes and supernatural investigations. The show not only appears to be influenced with its surreal happenings and overall vibe, but it actively gives homages to the famous 90s drama. While cherry pies and actor appearances give subtle hints to Twin Peaks, the most notable reference was made when a doctor, wearing red and blue 3d glasses, claims that he got them from "Dr. Jacoby from Washington State." This pretty much puts it on the record that the two shows take place in the same universe (Whether this reference makes that fact official or not is unclear.)


5. Gravity Falls

While Gravity Falls may not include the brutal murder of a young girl (and the subsequent discovery of her body, wrapped in plastic), it certainly makes an eerie impression on fans that are watching it. Created by Alex Hirsch, it follows a pair of siblings living with their great uncle for the summer in a small town racked by supernatural forces. The duo spend their summer vacation solving the paranormal mysteries of the town. While the plot and overall setting of the show is obviously inspired by Twin Peaks, there are a few references hidden throughout the cartoon—sort of like the creator was throwing in homages to give thanks for the ideas. One of the most notable references would be an episode that features a club (that is also shaped like a club) that has an eerie resemblance to a certain dream that Agent Cooper had.

25 Years Later

As influential as Twin Peaks was in modern television, it is no surprise that the show is getting a 2017 revival/continuation. With the cult following that it has accrued since its inception, many people are looking forward to these brand new episodes after 25 years. We'll just have to wait and see if the revival lives up to its former glory and remains as inspiring as it was so long ago.


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    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      3 years ago from Norfolk, England

      That was really interesting to read. I've never seen Twin Peaks. I know it's very popular though.


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