Twin Peaks and 9 other network TV shows that are surprisingly forward thinking


Entertainment and pop culture have only become more immersive in their ability to capture the attention of audiences, yet the medium of television continues to reinvent the standard in revolutionary ways. Television is often seen as a populist medium that caters to the general public, and this has led to some incredibly successful television series, although those that can often lack bite.

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At the same time, progress has also been made in the ability of television to take risks on unconventional ideas and the authors behind them. These series don’t always connect as expected, but they almost always end up with unique talking points as audiences try to figure out what they just watched.

ten Twin Peaks normalizes David Lynch’s weirdness and captivates the world through mystery

Twin Peaks Black Pavilion

It is very possible that David Lynch’s Twin peaks is the strangest TV series to ever air on Network TV and everything that follows seems almost intentionally trying to mimic the quaint little town weirdness of Lynch’s TV opus magnum. The difference is that Lynch’s eccentric sensibilities are incredibly authentic and don’t seem unusual for the avant-garde author. The small town murder investigation manages to make its core crime one of the more normal aspects of the show, and Lynch’s return in 2017 manages to be even weirder.

9 Hannibal pushes the boundaries of how far television can go horror

The cancellation of Annibal after three seasons on NBC is a decision that haunts many die-hard fans of the horror genre and high art. The Hungry Adventures of Hannibal Lecter had fully achieved diminishing returns through their cinematic installments, which makes it so impressive that Bryan Fuller’s TV adaptation can find new life and reinvigorate the character’s narrative. Annibal is gory and incredibly violent, but it manages to mask its brutal nature through an artistic aesthetic. Annibal plays by his own rules, and it’s really amazing that he got to tell this story, let alone on NBC.

8 Jam is a sketchy comedy at its most fearless and scary

TV Jam British Comedy Screaming Head

Certainly, British mainstream television may often be more willing to take risks than US network productions, but there are still standards that must be met. Broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK, Jam is a sketch comedy about the twisted mind of Chris Morris, but it really feels like a descent into a nightmare.

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Conventional jokes and punchlines are often abandoned in favor of disorienting visuals and montages. Jam frequently slows down or disturbs his audio and video levels to make his alienating humor even more aggressive.

7 Review With Forrest MacNeil Pushes Its Premises To The Extreme And Never Holds Back

TV Review with Forrest MacNeil Pancakes Pain

Comedy Central is most often recognized for its pop culture institutions like South Park and The daily show, but that of Andy Daly Review with Forrest MacNeil quietly delivered three seasons of what is easily the craziest thing that has ever aired on the network. Review with Forrest MacNeil looks at a “life reviewer” who sets out to critique experiences rather than conventional exam subjects. Forrest’s life is systematically ruined by his critics, and it becomes a stunning character study. Review‘s the final season is just three episodes, pledging that Forrest doesn’t think his show is in fact canceled.

6 Cop Rock was a police procedural musical that left audiences bewildered

TV rock cop singing hi

Reputation is everything in the television industry, and some of the weirder series can get the green light because of the pedigree their creators carry from their previous work. Steven Bochco was a prolific name in the procedural crime drama, responsible for the hit The blues of the rue des Collines. Bochco took a major risk with ABC’s Cop Rock, a hybrid of police shows and sumptuous musicals. The public could not reconcile the gap between these extremes, and rock cop only lasted 11 episodes before being canceled. Strangely, this is the type of series that would work much better today.

5 The community deconstructs the sitcom and is one of TV’s most meta creations

TV Community 2001 Monolith Study Room Table

Community could be the smartest, most ambitious TV comedy ever, network TV or whatever. Dan Harmon from Rick and morty Fame created a groundbreaking comedy centered around a group of misfits, while using the media of television and film as a filter for their internal struggles.

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Community had to roll with consistent changes, but it is remarkable that such a series of genre could air on NBC for five seasons before finally unplugging and turning to Yahoo! Screen for their final year. Something so ambitious is unlikely to be shown on NBC again.

4 Wayward Pines Lets M. Night Shyamalan Create Twin Peaks-Esque Mystery

Wayward pines

M. Night Shyamalan is a revered filmmaker who has had its ups and downs. When Shyamalan connects with his audience it’s amazing, and he helped create something special with FOX’s sci-fi mystery, Capricious pines. Wayward pines Looks a lot like the other genre-defying, horror-centric programming that has continued to dominate television, but Wayward pines stands out from the herd because of the difficulty with which it happens. The first season of the series contains what remains one of the most daring twists in network television, which is certainly appropriate given Shyamalan’s reputation with extreme twists.

3 The eccentric and exaggerated humor of the police! An overwhelmed audience

Interrogation of the police squad on television

Television has no shortage of police procedures, whether they are serious dramas or lighter comedies. that of Leslie Nielsen Police squad! is an absurd take on the genre full of crazy gags and ridiculous puns. Not only the gonzo Police squad! aired on ABC, but he did so in the early 1980s, when his exaggerated sense of humor was even more unusual on network television. Police squad! was so awkward that it only lasted six episodes, but its ability to Successful spin-off in Loved Criticism Bare gun movies talks about the inherent brilliance of network comedy.

2 Courage, the cowardly dog ​​brings extreme weirdness to his younger audience

Many of these cutting edge TV shows are unable to produce many episodes because their level of weirdness eventually becomes too heavy for the network. Courage the cowardly dog often found ways to be more subtle with his stranger impulses. Courage produced over 50 episodes over four seasons, but the most impressive detail about it all is that it’s a children’s show aired on Cartoon Network. Courage the cowardly dog is aimed at a younger audience, but it has some Lynchian vibes that kick in and hit even harder as a result.

1 On The Air is Lynch’s disorienting attempt on a network sitcom

David Lynch made waves with Twin peaks, and even though ABC canceled the show, they still wanted to maintain a friendly relationship with Lynch and see what else he could develop. The result of this is On air, a network sitcom orchestrated by Lynch that’s somehow even weirder and more alienating than Twin peaks. The ABC comedy focuses on the inner workings of a dysfunctional 1950s variety show. The series is full of weird characters and atypical urges, which is why only three of the On air‘s seven episodes aired on ABC before its withdrawal.

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