Finally, you can put your Twin Peaks videos where they belong – the trash, or on fire. Since this is Twin Peaks, setting them on fire may be more appropriate.
The Twin Peaks Season 2 DVD set is finally here. And after so many years of being forced to watch a grainy and old video tape, it’s a nice breath of fresh air.
The case for the DVD isn’t quite as nice as the Season 1 DVD, but frankly, who cares? Inside the case are 3 small DVD cases that are see-through — you’ve probably seen these types of cases lately with TV series, like Battlestar Galactica, Reno 911, and others.
For those of you who like to make your own DVD covers, the DVD’s cover can be easily removed. The first case has a picture of the Giant on it; the second contains a nice shot of Windom Earle; and the third is of LMFAP.
On the back of each is a deer head, the owl, and a shot of the status in the Lodge (respectively). Everything has a dark blue-ish tinge to it.
So let’s crack open the DVDs cases. Each case contains 2 discs which holds either 3 or 4 episodes. We’ll get to the special features in a moment. Behind the DVDs, you can see the slip cover of the case. The first is of One Eyed Jacks, with the words “Twin Peaks The Second Season” on the bottom. The second disc contains a shot from an episode where Windom Earle placed a dead guy in the Sherrif’s Station with the chess board. And finally, the third has a shot of the Owl Cave map.
Again, the packaging isn’t as beautiful as Season 1, but in the end, you don’t buy DVDs for the packaging, now do you?
Each disc is a picture disc of an item from the series. Everything is in a reddish-brownish tinge. The foreground of each disc looks to be wood or very straight red drapes.We have a picture of the Log Lady’s log, cup of coffee, a diary, casette tape, two dice, and a donut with a bite taken out.
So let’s get to the good stuff and pop the disc in. Once you pop the disc in, the CBS logo comes up and you’re forced to click either PREVIEW or MENU. Strangely on our TiVo DVD/DVR machine, I was unable to click MAIN MENU and had to wait for the screen to move through (30 seconds to a minute). I’m sure this is specific to my machine so you shouldn’t experience this. Now all the law stuff reminding us that everything is for private use, etc, and then that all opinions are not the expressed opinions of the CBS and its entities. Luckily, CBS was nice enough to put the PREVIEW/MENU screen on the first disc so you can move straight into the main menu (minus the legalize).
The main menu comes up, and it’s all black but you are scanning across what you later realize is a map of the town of Twin Peaks. Each DVD has a slightly different version of the same menu. Once you get to see your options, scenes from the show play in the bottom half of the screen while TP music plays (not the theme). From here, you can click PLAY ALL, or choose an episode or Special Features. And by the way, there is no chapter section for each episode, so you’ll have to fast forward through the episodes to get to your favorite scenes.
After choosing to play all or an episode, you get the option to turn the Log Lady intros off or on. More on that in a moment.
At first, I wasn’t sure about the menu, but as I’ve gone through each disc, it’s growing on me.
And now the opening scene. I remember back when Season 1 came out, I think I watched the opening scene a couple of times because it had been so long since I’d seen it so crisp. And Season 2 is just about as nice visually.
I’m sure everyone is wondering – is the Season 2 DVD quality and audio as good as Season 1? To be honest, I think the Season 1 set has slightly better sound and video clarity. This is due to the higher compression that had to be done on the DVDs to get more on the disc (thanks to Brian at Dugpa.com for confirming this for me). To test this, I put in a Season 1 disc, and left everything the same on my audio and TV system. When the credits rolled, I could hear the crisp sound of cymbals and the music. The music was grand and surreal, but when I put in a Season 2 DVD, the sound was more muted and the video quality wasn’t quite as perfect as Season 1. Is it enough to ruin the set? No way. The quality and audio is still good – but it’s not quite as good as the Season 1 set.
But the quality of the video is good enough that for the first time in 17 years, I noticed that Senor Droolcup actually has a hearing aid! This was impossible to see in the old VHS tapes, but is as clear as day in the new DVDs.
So let’s get back to the video quality. In order to get this review up as soon as possible for you to enjoy, I couldn’t actually watch every single episode, but I did go through some of my favorite scenes, including Maddy’s death scene which is a brand new experience in many ways. With a decent quality video and audio, the power of this scene seems even stronger than it has ever been. I also watched the end of Episode 16 where Leland dies. Once again, beautiful, even though on Windows Media Player, Leland’s death scene did feel a little dark. However, the scene looks better on the TV. Below is a screen capture of Cooper at the end of 16.
So what else do we have on the discs?
Each disc contains the Log Lady intros related to those episodes. Most people are probably like me and have never seen ALL of these introductions so it’s a nice feature for the DVD. The biggest complaint I have is that these intros have not been cleaned up. The video quality is poor and grainy, and the audio had to be turned up to hear the Log Lady talk. If the rumored box set comes to reality, and if the intros are added to this set, I do hope CBS would spend just a little bit of money to try and clean these up – at least the audio, please.
Each disc also contains at least 1 interview with someone related to the series. Disc 1 and 2 has Jennifer Lynch and Todd Holland. 3 and 4 has Caleb Deschanel and Duwayne Dunham. And 5 and 6 has Stephen Gyllenhall, Tim Hunter and lots more (more on that in a moment too). Since we know Jen Lynch through the Festival, we watched her interview first. She explains how she came to know the killer of Laura, and what her job was in writing the Diary. She also mentions that one of the stories in the diary actually happened to her too. I’ll leave that one for you to take a look. The quality of these interviews is very good. They are filmed with good quality video, unlike what we saw with Season 1. The audio is also good – another bad point of Season 1 interviews.
Over on the final disc, not only is the map of the town more obvious now, there is something very similar to the Season 1 navigation for interviews, which I personally felt was always hard to navigate. The Season 2 version is much easier to move around in, and let’s you click PLAY ALL so you can just watch it all at one time. It’s called “Interactive Grid”. It has interviews from Kyle MacLachlan, Madchen Amick, Sherilyn Fenn, Dana Ashbrook, Gary Hershberger, James Marshall, David Duchovny, Kimmy Robertson (offers a couple of funny stories), Don Davis (he tells a story, you’ll have to hear to believe, and thank you, Don, for mentioning the Festival!!), Mary Jo Deschanel , Lenny Von Dohlen, and Charlotte Stewart. Just like the interviews on the other discs, these are well done and interesting. Each interview is divided up in 3 parts, “origin”, “production”, and “legacy.” If you like you can watch only the snippets of each category, or click the actor to see all 3 snippets. And of course the PLAY ALL. There should be new stories here for most TP fans to enjoy.
There are plenty of positives with the DVD set so it’s hard to be negative, esp after having to deal with the video casettes for so long. The audio is good, the video quality is also good, and the special features we have are well done. The biggest complaint I think I really have is the need for more from this set. But if the rumored box set truly comes out, then I think it will make sense why the special features here aren’t as full. And of course the packaging could’ve been nicer – but frankly, that’s the least of my worries. After playing a bit of Season 1, I did find myself wanting the “previously on Twin Peaks” segments in the second season set, but that’s okay. When I’m watching episodes one after another, I find these annoying, but they are nice when you just want to watch one of our favorite episodes.
Overall, this is a nice box set that should make any TP fan happy.
So you’re probably asking yourself – should I get this now or just wait until the rumored box set comes out? Obviously, it’s a great question. Here’s my advice – just do it! Yes, there MIGHT be a box set later on this year, but just in case there isn’t, you can at least enjoy the full Twin Peaks series (minus the pilot) with great sound and video. You can’t go wrong. Plus if you purchase the Season 2 set, you are sending a message to CBS that there is a desire for Twin Peaks which would only help bring the rumored complete series set to reality.