It doesn’t take long after putting in the first disc of Peyton Place to see that it must have been a huge influence on David Lynch, ultimately taking his imagination down the path that eventually led to Twin Peaks (and to a different degree, Blue Velvet).
Peyton Place is a town full of secrets. It’s been put on slow boil, ready to erupt at any minute. Its characters’ lives are all so intertwined with one another, it’s amazing that anyone has a secret to keep, but that’s alright, because it’s all the more gripping when the skeletons come tumbling out of the closets. Peyton Place is a small, New England town full of doctors and high school students, the sane and the mentally unhinged, the good, the bad, and all those in between. It even features a mill with a complex family history as a major backdrop, which Lynch perhaps added to his series as an acknowledgement of the town in which the swaying trees and waterfalls of Twin Peaks were rooted. If you’ve never watched Twin Peaks, my advice would be to go buy the complete series box set, and then come back and watch Peyton Place. If, however, you are a Peaks devotee, then have I got a series for you (minus, of course, all the Lynchian weirdness like log ladies, giants and dwarfs).
Peyton Place was essentially TV’s first primetime soap opera. Based on the hit book and movie of the same name, the series was quite the runaway hit coming out of the gate, and having now seen 31 episodes of it, I understand why. It’s addictive television in a way that only the best soap operas have the power to be.
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