When Twin Peaks signed off on June 10th, 1991, it left behind a lot of unanswered questions, a legion of devoted fans – and a serious impact on the medium. Ever since then, showrunners and writing rooms have looked to David Lynch and Mark Frost’s “Peyton Place on acid” series for examples on how to push the boundaries of small-screen serial storytelling. It’s cast a long, long shadow, and you could argue that almost every other TV show that’s hit the airwaves since then – especially in the premium-cable “Prestige” age – has been influenced by the groundbreaking show. We’re not living in the Peak TV era so much as the Peaks TV era.
There have been a handful of mysteries, melodramas and quirky comedies, however, that owe a bigger or more obvious debt to this story of secret lives and curdled small-town Americana than most. We’ve singled out 20 TV shows – some old, some new, some niche, some network hits – that have borrowed elements of Twin Peaks and run with them. It may be the “Dead Girl” catalyst that’s turned into a television trope, or it might be the oddball denizens that populate an out-of-the-way woodsy burg. It could even just be a weird-as-hell vibe that a series shares with Lynch and Frost’s lysergic primetime soap. But all of these well-known series have certainly built off the weird, the wonderful and often WTF Peaks foundation.