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The X-Files vs. Twin Peaks
The X-Files. Twin Peaks. Two landmarks of TV, two of the greatest things to ever come out of the 90's, along with Nirvana, Surge citrus soda, Salsa Doritos, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and every film made by Quentin Tarantino. At a time when science fiction and surreal mystery/comedy wasn't exactly a thing, these two shows came a long and changed the game. The X-Files introduced us to the world of UFO conspiracy theories. Twin Peaks...well frankly, it just opened our eyes really wide to what TV could be. In short, The X-Files and Twin Peaks were trailblazers, revolutionary shows whose unique, never before seen ways led them to elite pop culture status and also eventually led to their quick, sudden decline. It's also the reason they've both returned.
Yes kids, for those of you who have been living under Bray Wyatt's rock (very cozy I hear), The X-Files and Twin Peaks are coming back in 2016, for six and eighteen (EIGHTEEN!) episodes respectively. And even though it'll have been fifteen years since the X-Files last aired on Fox (in fairness, The X-Files break was shorter thanks to the second X-Files film, I Want to Believe, being released in 2008) and 25 years since Twin Peaks gave us the image of Dale Cooper smashing his face into a mirror, excitement couldn't be higher. And I'm not just speaking for myself! But what show should be more anticipated? That's what I'm here to break down. Using five different categories, I will determine which show, Twin Peaks or The X-Files, you should be losing your mind over the most. A quick warning to the die hards out there; if your favorite show didn't win, it doesn't mean I hate it or don't want to watch it (why would I be writing about the show in the first place if I hated it?!). It just means your favorite is Bobby Orr to the other show's Wayne Gretzky. It's not a bad thing to be Bobby Orr people. Alright, I'm wasting time. ON WITH THE SHOW!
The X-Files vs. Twin Peaks
Story: Let's get something straight up front; the plots for X-Files and Twin Peaks are uber strange. On one hand, The X-Files focused on two F.B.I. agents trying to unravel a government conspiracy on worldwide UFO activity, while also investigating cases involving monsters, psychics, and half men/half mutant hybrids (looking at you Eugene Tooms, you creepy bastard). On the other hand, Twin Peaks focused on an F.B.I. agent (I know, lot's of the Federal Bureau in these shows) investigating the murder of a teenage girl in a small Pacific Northwest town, leading to him stumbling into a world full of deceit, perverted criminal activity, rooms with red drapes and a dwarf, one armed men and a serial killer entity named BOB. To quote Armageddon's Rockhound, these shows are like Dr. Seuss' worst nightmare (in a great way of course). Which is better though? They're both very creative, but Twin Peaks gets a slight edge in the story department for being somehow less confusing than The X-Files. I know, I know, how can a show with alternate dimensions and David Lynch behind the helm be less confusing the a conspiracy thriller? Trust me, watch the last two X-Files seasons. You'll be banging your head against the wall, cursing John Doggett and wishing for Windom Earle before you know it. Winner: Twin Peaks
Main Character(s): Any other show against Twin Peaks, and it wins this category. Let's be real; Dale Cooper is the man. He's quirkier than Greta Gerwig, the ladies love him, his closest companion is a tape recorder that may or may not be heard by an actual person named Diane, he solves mysteries in his sleep and he enjoys...a DAMN, fine cup of coffee. Plus, anyone who can make a beautiful woman like Audrey Horne swoon is a legend. The only problem for Coop is that he's going against the greatest duo in TV history. And I don't care who you are, you aren't beating Mulder and Scully. I frankly don't even need an explanation beyond that. They're the Jordan and Pippen of TV, if Jordan and Pippin fell in love with each other in season six or so. Winner: X-Files
Supporting Cast: This is an easy one, and it's not the one you think. Sure, Twin Peaks may be loaded with supporting characters, with several of them, such as the Man From Another Place, Norma Jennings, Pete, Donna, Ben and Audrey Horne, Laura and Leyland Palmer, BOB, Sheriff Truman, Andy and Lucy being great. At the same time though, there were a lot of duds. Windham Earle? Mike? Josie Packard (sorry Joan Chen)? JAMES HURLEY?! Not so good. Hell, James Hurley was so bad, I might've given the X-Files the victory here for that alone. You are the worst James Hurley, and I would rather spend a day watching Riley Finn make toast then deal with your whiny angst some more.
In fairness to The X-Files supporting players however, they are quite great. And not just one or two of them; they're all great, with the exception of John Doggett and Monica Reyes (who are either insufferable or decent). Walter Skinner is an absolute boss, which is ironic because he's Mulder and Scully's boss. The Smoking Man is a brilliant villain, perhaps one of the best ever. The Lone Gunmen were nerdy before nerdy was cool. Alex Krychek is perhaps the most underrated character in TV history, a survivor for better or worst. Deep Throat and X rocked as Mulder's secret informants. Hell, even Marita Covarrubias wasn't that bad in retrospect. Combine all of that with the flawed supporting characters Twin Peaks had, and it's a no brainer. Sometimes, too much is too much of a good thing. Winner: The X-Files
Biggest Drop Off in Quality: Ah, we've reached the one category you don't want to win. And unfortunately, The X-Files is taking this one home. Yes, Twin Peaks didn't exactly close as strongly as it opened. But you know what; I kind of enjoy the second half of Twin Peaks once the Laura murder is solved. It remained impossibly quirky, remained good for a laugh or two and ultimately concluded with one of the greatest series finales ever. The X-Files conclusion, not so much. I'm not talking about "The Truth" by the way; "The Truth" was great, a very good way for the series to close. Everything prior to that though? Ugh, with a side order of lame. The mythology of the show simply got way too wacky for its own good, and two seasons with minimal to no Fox Mulder...just no. What more needs to be said? I'm not too concerned about how The X-Files originally ended affecting the revival, but it's definitely on my mind more than Twin Peaks' finish was. Loser: The X-Files
Returning Cast and Crew: Both sides look good on this end. The X-Files appears to be bringing back most of its main players, with Duchvony, Anderson, Mitch Pileggi (Skinner) and William B. Davis also signed on to appear in front of the camera. Likewise, Twin Peaks has Kyle MacLachlan and his chin returning as Dale Cooper (and Dale Cooper's chin), as well as every cast member that's still living (you'd be sadly surprised by how many Twin Peaks alumni have died since the show originally ended). That means this is coming down to who is returning from behind the scenes, and well, Twin Peaks takes it. No disrespect to Chris Carter and his team (most of whom all worked on The X-Files back in the day); he's a great writer, a better than you think director and I'm pretty sure he's learned from the mistakes that plagued the final two X-Files seasons. But come on; this is David Lynch he's going up against here. The dude who made Eraserhead, Elephant Man, Blue Velvet, Lost Highway, Wild At Heart, Fire Walk With Me, DUNE! Yes, I love Dune and I don't care who knows it. The point is, the man is a visionary, one of the best directors of this era, and he now has FULL CONTROL over the now eighteen episodes Twin Peaks will produce next year. That's the kind of knockdown punch Floyd Mayweather Jr. wishes he had. Winner: Twin Peaks
There you have it guys. Looks like Twin Peaks wins this one 3-2, in what was a very close battle. In the end, there really isn't a loser here, and I can't wait to see the return for both shows in the upcoming year. Flaws and all, The X-Files and Twin Peaks are just tops, and the opportunity to see both stories conclude after so many years is going to be a treat. Plus, now I can finally die in peace knowing what happens to both the alien invasion and Cooper. You have no idea what it's like to live, not knowing the fate of these people. Thank goodness we're going to find out!
Alright, that'll wrap things up. I'll be back tomorrow with a review of tonight's Lucha Underground episode, plus something else perhaps. Till then, play us off SUMMER!