Make TV Scare Again: where everybody knows your name

Few shows in television history cast as long a shadow as Twin Peaks. It made networks more amenable to serialized TV stories. It showed that television can have cinematic production values. And it set the stage for the now familiar notion of strange, insular, isolated communities as the setting for creepy television shows. What is it about small towns? When did Mayberry get so weird?

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Debicki really is just kind of ethereally, beautifully alien, isn’t she? I first saw her in The Night Manager, that BBC adaptation of the Le Carre book, and thought she was terrific. TKI is now on my must-watch list.

Small-town horror is great because the premise itself is that horrible things are right under your nose in your own society and it’s easy to make the mental leap to associate it with yourself. “Hey, their Walgreens with a horribly betentacled maw of evil looks just like ours!” Plus, it plays on the fear of betrayal - that our own community that we rely on for safety and livelihood is hiding something terrible.

She really is stunning, and I really did enjoy The Kettering Incident a lot. It’s a polarizing show. With a second season very much in limbo, this may be all we get…so if you know going in that it isn’t going to solve every mystery it presents, it makes it go down much easier.

Thanks for the links to American Gothic. We loved this show when it originally aired, but I’m positive we never finished it. Unfortunately you linked “the wrong American Gothic” on Amazon Prime. That’s the newer 2016 series. The older 1995 series IS on Amazon, but unfortunately it’s not free to Prime members. The show you’re wanting is…

Maybe the new one is just as good? Better? Dunno.

I also queued TKI on Prime, so I’ll have a go at that one. Thanks! Love the Scare Again series.

You’re right Jack. It is available to stream via Hulu however. It’s only available VOD on Amazon.

The new series is pretty dreadful.

It’s been a while since I saw American Gothic, and I think the DVD set I own is also presented in airing order rather than the narrative order, but my recollection is that while it had a much stronger series mythology than a lot of shows of the time, it was still pretty episodic in its actual structure and I think most of the episodes would stand alone just fine. I don’t feel like we really got out of the trap of episodic storytelling in a big way until the 00s. And even then mostly on cable.

I’m a little surprised Tom didn’t pick another small town full of secrets for this entry, but since it may yet feature later this week I won’t name it right this second.

Let’s just say when it comes to small town Twin Peaks influence, our cup ranneth over. So yeah, stay tuned.

Speaking of Twin Peaks influence, there’s the crime drama The Killing.

It’s kind of fascinating to watch because I’m 99% convinced the whole thing was started as a creative exercise in making a straight drama version of Twin Peaks. There are so many similarities (some of them crazy specific) that it can’t be a coincidence.

ex. The taglines are the same. The promo shot of the dead girl is the same. The girl is discovered the same way. The parents getting the news is the exact same scene. There is a serious version of Ben & Jerry Horne. etc etc.

Speaking of that movie and Australian horror in general, Wolf Creek, the 2016 6-part TV series from Stan, is coming to Netflix. It’s a spin-off of the Wolf Creek movies. The excellent John Jarratt even reprises his Mick Taylor role from the movies.

I’m hoping it’s more Wolf Creek than Wolf Creek 2, but I’ll watch it just for Jarratt’s deliciously amiable outback serial killer.

Hulu lists the episodes in the order they aired, rather than their
intended running order–and then slaps the three unaired episodes onto
the series after the series finale.

That’s sad to hear. I’d like to think such shows would catch a break after being mishandled during their original broadcast.

“you can[’]t help but wonder”
“she[’]s shown most”
“it[’]s eight year-old Evan Rachel Wood”
“That['s] a solid formula”
“That won[’]t do”