Small town? Check. Mysterious disappearance? Check. Supernatural forces? Check. Like Twin Peaks, Stranger Things sets the action in a community at the edge of the woods, wherein a portal to another dimension lies.
Creator Sam Esmail is an avowed Twin Peaks fan, so it’s no wonder you can find references to David Lynch’s series all over Mr. Robot. The show hit peak Twin Peaks level in its second season, in an episode in which Angela (Portia Doubleday) is abducted and taken to an odd, black-white-and-red hotel suite that resembles Twin Peaks’ iconic Red Room.
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This new CW series wears its affinity for Twin Peaks right on its sleeve: The show transplants the Archie gang to a northeastern town with the same 1950s throwback aesthetic Lynch used in his show. And Riverdale’s neon, block-lettered opening credits font is a clear homage to the typeface used on Twin Peaks.
When the inciting incident of your small-town mystery is the discovery of a dead teenage girl, you’re asking for a Twin Peaks comparison. The Killing even copied the tagline of the ABC series (“Who killed Laura Palmer?”) with its central promo line, “Who killed Rosie Larsen?”
Desperate Housewives — which also aired on ABC — contrasted its picture-perfect, white-picket-fenced suburban setting with the depravity of its title characters. Like Twin Peaks, the show hinted at the dark side of domestic life.
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Like Twin Peaks, a murder mystery is central to the plot of Veronica Mars, which stars a young Kristen Bell as a teenage detective who, along with her father, tries to track down her best friend’s killer.
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Les Revenants (The Returned) is set in another seemingly perfect small town beside a forest that’s suddenly besieged by supernatural forces — but this time, the town is French!
Picket Fences, which premiered a year after Twin Peaks went off the air, is a sort of precursor to Desperate Housewives: It’s a family drama with dark undercurrents and a healthy dose of Lynch-branded oddity.
This show centered on a pair of FBI agents who investigate supernatural cases also followed in the wake of Twin Peaks’ cancellation, premiering in 1993. The X-Files was more of a case-of-the-week kind of show, but it still channeled Twin Peaks in its exploration of mysterious, otherworldly forces.
This one’s a bit less obvious than the rest, but Donald Glover’s FX comedy about an enterprising would-be rap mogul definitely takes a page from Twin Peaks by proudly letting its freak flag fly. When you pitch your show as “Twin Peaks with rappers,” who can resist?