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  • Writer's pictureJulian Ramirez

Let's Get Physical: Twin Peaks Z to A pt. 1

Our writer Julian Ramirez is a big proponent of physical media, always lauding formats new and old (mostly old nowadays). Whether is vinyl, cassettes or CDs; 4k UHD, Blu-ray, or VHS, he believes that physical media is an important part of preserving art and imbues another dimension of appreciating the work.  This series will focus on some of his favorite pieces of physical media in his collection.

I love Twin Peaks. It's easily my favorite TV show of all time as it somehow manages to be funny, awkward, harrowing, disturbing, and so deep with lore that it still begs to be deciphered even after 30 years. Created by Mark Frost and David Lynch, the show follows the town of Twin Peaks as they mourn the loss of Laura Palmer, a young pillar of the community that has as many dark secrets as the town itself. Twin Peaks just scratches every itch I have when it comes to a good time watching TV. And while I adore Lynch (he's a top 5 director for me and I've attended every Retrospective the Music Box Theatre has put on), the show is as much his as it is his collaborators from top to bottom regardless of what other diehard Lynch fans think.

So over the years I have amassed a LOT of the physical releases of Twin Peaks. I didn't stumble on to the show until my early teens, so I missed out on the first DVD release that for a little while felt impossible to find (I have since acquired a copy). Instead I was satiated with bootleg DVDs purchased at comic book conventions. My first exposure to the show was here and it completely hooked me from the first episode. My first official collection was the The Definitive Gold Box Edition which even at the time wasn't entirely true. Even the later Complete Mystery edition which featured the prequel sequel film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me and the long awaiting Missing Pieces wasn't exactly everything (those initial audio commentaries are only available on the first official DVD release). But it came close especially as those Missing Pieces were deleted scenes from the film that many fans dreamed would contain answers and just as many figured would be just as labyrinthine (its actually both). But with The Return, all these releases would be just a little less complete.

twin peaks z to a edition spread out

The Return saw Twin Peaks expand with another 18 episodes, all written by Frost and Lynch and directed entirely by Lynch. Its truly an near 18 hour long film that explores the world of Twin Peaks 25 years after the end of the second season. For some its a frustrating experience, indulging in Lynch's more esoteric ramblings. For me, it's Lynch at his best, exploring the frighting evil the humanity is capable of in the modern age. So with the end of the series it was time for another collection and Twin Peaks: Z - A, for the time being, is as complete as it's gonna get (those damn audio commentaries still elude us! )

Twin Peaks: Z - A features every episode of the show, including the European version of the pilot which acts a singular film and encompasses the supernatural layer of the story pretty well. It also has Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me and the Missing Pieces in all their oddball glory. The Return is also here with a 4k version of "Episode 8" or "Got a Light" which for my money eclipses previous best episodes of Twin Peaks ("Episode 2"/"Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer", "Episode 14"/"Lonely Souls" and "Episode 29"/"Beyond Life and Death"").

The acrlic standdee of Laura Palmer Kissing Dale Cooper in the Twin Peaks z-a boxset

It's a beautiful collection, housed in a cube adorned with imagery familiar with the series: trees, red velvet curtains, black and white zig-zag patterns. Inside is an acrylic standee of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) evoking the original image of her whispering the answer to the show's integral mystery into Agent Dale Cooper's (Kyle MacLachlan) ear, but instead kissing him as she is seen during The Return. Even further in we discover a collection of square images from the show and behind the scenes, perfect to decorate anyone's Lynch Obsesses home. The discs are housed in the bane of every collector's bane: cardboard slips that don't secure the discs. While I've never had an issue with this sort of packaging, but I know it's not perfect and I get a little nervous every time I slip a disc out.

As is tradition, I began a rematch of the series last weekend on Twin Peaks day (February 24) and was just as enthralled by the quirky townspeople being terrorized by otherworldly forces as I was during my first time. I won't pretend to know exactly what is going on with every bit of lore or the true meaning of the show (unlike some slightly too self assured and arrogant 4 hour and a half long videos) but I have my theories and will be discussing some of them in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, I highly encourage you to watch Twin Peaks. The Z to A edition is currently out of print, but there are plenty of regular edition copies of Twin Peaks on physical media online. It's a wonderful show and you won't regret it. The show is also streaming on Paramount+ if that's your bag.



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