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10 Shows like Twin Peaks to Watch if you Enjoy Mystery-Thrillers

Twin Peaks, 10 Shows like Twin Peaks

Debuting 30 years ago, David Lynch’s short-lived idiosyncratic show Twin Peaks created an immense pop cultural impact and continues to influence modern TV shows. If you loved watching it, here is a list of TV shows like Twin Peaks that you might enjoy.

Twin Peaks is one of the most popular shows ever created and holds almost a cult-like status among the fanbase. Created by Mark frost and the popular director David Lynch, Twin Peaks is an American TV series drama, the pilot was originally broadcast on April 8, 1990, on the ABC network. Originally, Twin Peaks only ran for two seasons before the show was cancelled. Even with its untimely end, the show not only gained immense popularity from viewers but saw widespread critical success, including multiple nominations and wins from Emmys to Golden globes.

Set in the fictional town of Twin Peaks in Washington, the show follows the investigation of the murder of the schoolgirl Laura Palmer, the homecoming queen. The investigation is led by FBI Agent Dale Cooper, known for his idiosyncrasies and eerie behaviour. The show is one of a kind with its innovative artistic storytelling choices including dream sequences, and experimental formula of mixing genres that was meant to encapsulate all the senses of life, may it be horror, slapstick comedy or mysterious detective investigation. This unique and dramatic show was brought back for a third season in 2017. The ominous sinister feel of the disturbing underbelly of North America became iconic as the ‘Lynchian’ style of work. The complex narrative, cinematic visuals and double-faced characters of Twin Peaks have inspired countless shows over the years. We have compiled a set of recommendations for series like Twin Peaks that you should check out. 

List of TV Shows Like Twin Peaks 

  1. The X-Files
  2. Wayward Pines
  3. Broadchurch 
  4. Hannibal 
  5. The Sinner
  6. Wanda Vision
  7. Under the Banner of Heaven 
  8. Lost
  9. Sharp Objects
  10. Fargo

Here’s Why These 10 TV Shows are like Twin Peaks

1. The X-files (2002)

IMDb Rating: 8.6/10
Cast: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson
Creator: Chris Carter

Created by Chris Carter, The X-Files first aired in 2002. The story revolves around two FBI Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, who investigate unsolved cases that often involve paranormal phenomena. At the beginning of the show, Mulder believes that aliens and paranormal activity are real while Scully, a medical doctor, is skeptical and is assigned to work with Mulder to review the reality of the cases.  This show saw great success and ran for 10 seasons. 

The X-Files has a lot of similarities to Twin Peaks, a show with FBI agents at the centre of the narrative, investigating suspicious unsolved murder but an unmissable similarity is actor David Duchovny’s role in both shows. Duchovny is known for playing Agent Fox Mulder but he also had a recurring role in Twin Peaks. The show has supernatural elements of mysterious ‘unknown circumstances’ filmed in a multi-genre style. If you’re looking for TV shows similar to Twin Peaks, you should most definitely check out The X-Files

2. Wayward Pines (2015)

IMDb Rating: 7.3/10
Cast:
Siobhan Fallon Hogan, Toby Jones
Creator:
Chad Hodge

If the title does not already remind one of the forest feels that one gets from Twin Peaks, its plot definitely matches upon comparison. Wayward Pines follows the story of the mysterious disappearance of two agents in the remote town of Idaho. Adapted from the novel series of the same title, Ethan Burke, a special agent, is assigned to investigate the circumstances. This show is directed by another well-known director, M.Night Shyamalan, who is famously recognised for his deep character secrets and twist endings.

Burke walks into a ‘weird’ town, just like Agent Dale Cooper and realizes that he may never be able to escape its horrors. The psychological element of the show and its dramatic narrative builds up a gripping mystery. The show has excellent performances from the cast and engaging dialogues. Keep in mind, that the second season of the show under-delivers on the hype created by the first season. However, if you are looking for shows like Twin Peaks that capture the essence of mystery and intrigue, you should check out Wayward Pines.

3. Broadchurch (2013)

IMDb Rating: 8.4/10
Cast: David Tennant, Olivia Coleman
Creator: Chris Chinball

A murder mystery show with a talented cast, Broadchurch first aired in 2013. Created by Chris Chibnall, the show begins its story with the discovery of the body of an 11-year-old boy called Danny in the small fictional town of Broadchurch on the coast of Dorset, England. The story focuses on Detective Inspector Alec Hardy played by David Tennant and Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller played by Olivia Colman. 

This show promises the viewers excellent performances by the actors and delivers it well. An enthralling story that makes you question your morality. Like Twin Peaks, this show presents not only the oddities but the deep secrets rooted in the washing waters of the town, symbolizing nature’s inadvertent influence on life. The show portrays new colours of grief, and internal and outward struggles not only through the main characters but from places one least expects. If you want to watch shows like Twin Peaks that serve to go beyond normal expectations and offer the audience a unique melancholic narrative, Broadchurch is a great fit. 

4. Hannibal (2013)

IMDb Rating: 8.5/10
Cast: Mads Mikkelsen, Hugh Dancy,
Creator: Bryan Fuller

Hannibal series, based on Thomas Harris’ novels Red Dragon, Hannibal and Hannibal Rising, is an American psychological horror starring Mad Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy in the challenging roles of Dr Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham respectively. Not shying away from gory imagery, this show is often appreciated for its powerful visuals that leave the viewers thinking. 

With elements that remind you of Silence of Lambs, the show showcases the complexities of human behaviour through murder, cannibalism and twisted relationships. The charms and mysteries of the main characters leave one wanting to see more. Without going too much into detail, it’s safe to say, Hannibal will remind the viewers of the cynical world they experienced in Twin Peaks and make for a brilliant viewing experience. 

5. The Sinner (2017) 

IMDb Rating: 7.9/10
Cast: Bill Pullman, Jessica Hecht, Matt Bomer
Creator: Derek Simonds

The Sinner was inspired by Petra Hammeshfahr’s German novel. In this investigative show, Detective Harry Ambrose investigates a new murder every season, being exposed to new crimes committed by unlikely culprits and he is often trying to understand the motives behind their actions. An American Police Procedural anthological series, The Sinner has found itself to be recognised as a great show by critics and viewers alike.  

Starring the talented Bill Pullman as the central character of the show, we as viewers find ourselves relating and looking at the world from his point of view. The show’s obsession with finding the answer to ‘Why would someone commit a crime?’ gives the audience a chance of looking at the criminal state of mind more dynamically. Excellent performances from Matt Bomer,  Chris Messina and Jessica Beil ( nominated for her role for a Primetime Emmy) highlight the political, religious and dark philosophical intricacies. In your search for TV shows like Twin Peaks, The Sinner is a great choice 

6. Wanda Vision (2021)

IMDb Rating: 7.9/10
Cast: Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Kathryn Hahn
Creator: Jac Schaeffer

An extremely popular instalment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, WandaVision is based on the comics on Wanda Maximoff/ Scarlet Witch and Vision. This miniseries was created by Jac Schaeffer. Continuing the story of what happens to Wanda after the Avengers: Endgame. The show is set in a town called the Westview, where Wanda and Vision are happily living the idolized American life together. Much to confusion for the viewers of the movies, the show quickly suggests an unsettling shift that Wanda and Vision begin to suspect about the reality of their world. 

The nostalgic celebration of iconic American shows spanning from the 50s B&W I Love Lucy to the mockumentary style comedy show Modern Family. The weirdness and whimsy of the show’s narrative and visuals is an experimental addition to the popular superhero franchise. Though this is a part of the mainstream universe of Superheroes, if you’re bored and want to look for shows similar to Twin Peaks with a big fan following, you will enjoy WandaVision.  

IMDb Rating: 7.5/10
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Daisy Edgar Jones, Sam Worthington
Creator: Dustin Lance Black

A new release, Under the Banner of Heaven is a true crime TV miniseries directed by Dustin Lance Black. It is based on a true story of the Murder of Brenda Lafferty, documented in 2003 titled Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith written by author Jon Krakauer. This psychological drama stars some of Hollywood’s most in-demand actors, Andrew Garfield and Daisy Edgar Jones. Andrew as Detective Jeb Pyre investigates the Murder of Brenda and her child, in relation to her marriage to the Lafferty family who believe deeply in the teachings of Mormonism.

The main actor delivers an excellent performance. The challenges faced by Pyre in the investigation of the so-called charity serving family and his internal struggles to keep his Faith intact brings out an unsettling human psyche to the story. If you want to watch similar shows like Twin Peaks that feature a twisted dark world, you should check out Under the Banner of Heaven

8. Lost (2004)

IMDb Rating: 8.3/10
Cast: Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly, Josh Holloway
Creator: JJ Abrams, Jeffrey Lieber, Damon Lindelof

A commercial passenger jet en route from Sydney to Los Angeles crashes on a remote island somewhere in the south of the Pacific ocean. With 6 seasons, Lost featured a large ensemble cast of about 70 actors, 14 with recurring roles. The show explores supernatural and sci-fi elements through the experiences of the characters on this mysterious island. 

Inspired by the movie Castaway,  Jeffrey Lieber, J. J. Abrams, and Damon Lindelof developed one of the most expensive pilots of the time with a budget of $14 million. Extremely popular and highly regarded, Lost is appreciated for its originality in show-making and the way it manages to develop very dynamic character arcs. The struggles, misfortunes and mysteries will make you sympathize with their situation. The story is so thought-provoking for the viewers, that it will keep them on the edge of their seats. If you’re looking for TV shows like Twin Peaks, you cannot go wrong with Lost.

9. Sharp Objects (2018)

IMDb Rating: 8.1/10
Cast: Amy Adams, Patricia Clarkson, Eliza Scanlen
Creator: Marti Noxon

Based on the brilliantly written 2006 debut novel by Gillian Flynn of the same title, Sharp Objects premiered in the year 2018. Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, the story opens with a crime reporter Camille Preaker (played by the talented Amy Adams), who after having treated her childhood traumas and mental illness is now asked to return to her hometown to investigate the murder of two young girls. Upon return, she is unwittingly forced to deal with her demons. 

The premise is set in a small, isolated town. Camille goes home to meet her strange, uptight and controlling mother and the young sister she never quite knew. An out-of-town detective, Richard Willis is appointed to the case. Folks advise Willis not to get involved with Camille but he goes against the advice and helps Camille. Camille uncovers her forgotten traumas and the show reveals haunting yet deeply engaging elements. The one-season show conveys a story that viewers will not imagine in their wildest dreams. If you are a fan of engaging mystery series like Twin Peaks, you will enjoy watching Sharp Objects

Also Read: Movies like Arrival

10. Fargo (2014)

IMDb Rating: 8.9/10
Cast: Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman
Creator: Noah Hawley

Inspired by the 1996 movie of the same title, which by itself was inspired by real-life events where an ordinary salesman out of desperation for money, manifests a plan for two thug men to abduct his wife so that he can arrange for his rich father-in-law to pay a ransom. The plan falls apart quickly when one of the thugs shoots a state trooper. 

This successful TV show adaptation comprises a skilful cast with actors like Martin Freeman, Kirsten Dunst and Chris Rock. The themes of deception, intrigue and murder in a cold, frozen town of Minnesota remind us of the alienation of humanity similar to Twin Peaks. If you are looking for crime-related TV shows similar to Twin Peaks, you can check out Fargo. 

Honourable Mentions 

Here are a few shows that didn’t make the list, but you can check them out nonetheless: 

  1. Breaking Bad (2008)
  2. Bates Motel (2013)
  3. Pretty Little Liars (2010) 
  4. Mr Robot (2015)
  5. Top of the Lake (2013)

When Lost aired over a decade ago, its successful narrative created a pop culture impact and changed the landscape of television. If you are a fan and want to watch shows like Lost then you can have a look at this list we made just for you.

Lost

The hugely successful television series Lost aired in 2004. The premise, as we know, deals with a group of people surviving a commercial passenger plane crash on a remote island. The show masterfully explores supernatural and sci-fi elements on this mysterious south Pacific island. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTu8iDynwNc

The use of cliffhangers at the end of each episode of Lost kept the viewers on the edge of their seats, desperately craving for the next episode to come. Even though it's a large ensemble cast, most of the characters receive a justifiable personal arch. Lost was inspired by the movie Castaway and became one of the most expensive pilots to be shot at the time! Lost continues to be appreciated for its originality in storytelling and dynamic character arcs. 

List of TV Shows Like Lost

  1. The Leftovers
  2. Manifest
  3. Lost Room
  4. Twin Peaks
  5. The Prisoners
  6. Battlestar Galactica
  7. The New People
  8. Flight 29 Down
  9. Fringe
  10. Alcatraz
  11. Under the Dome
  12. Dark

1. The Leftovers (2014)

IMDB ratings: 8.3/10

Cast: Carrie Coon, Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman and Margaret Qualley

Creator: Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta

The director of Lost, Damon Lindel also created a supernatural drama series called The Leftovers. The show begins 3 years after an unexplainable global event called ‘Sudden Departure’  where almost 2 per cent of the population, nearly 140 million people, disappear. The Leftovers isn't about WHY people are gone, it's about how the ones who remain dealt with their loss, people often try to comfort themselves with dreams, angels, gods, or even death.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLT3YUALJno&t=8s

The Leftovers will leave you with so many questions but beyond words, you have to feel it and savour its unanswered questions to find peace. The Leftovers is an incredible television series that starts incredibly well but loses its way by the series's end. I have to say though, Carrie Coon has brilliant moments in the end. The Leftovers is so weird, fragmented and nonsensical at times that it reminds me of Lost. If you are looking for shows like Lost, I recommend that you give The Leftovers a try.

2. Manifest  (2018) 

IMDB ratings: 7.1/10

Cast: Melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas and J.R. Ramirez 

Creator: Jeff Rake


The Manifest is a supernatural drama show about a bunch of people who discover that they lost 5 years of their lives when they landed in New York after their aeroplane faced severe turbulence. All the people on the plane were presumed to be dead. Now, these people have to find a way to adjust themselves to a new life around their loved ones. Mild spoiler! They learn their loved ones and the rest of society is not as they left it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1hNAIzkQWY

I found that the show’s premise was very intriguing and the actors give a very convincing performance. The narrative details of the show, however, in my opinion, are a bit sloppy and inconsistent. The writers surely have room for improvement but their concept is incredibly thrilling. Every episode of Manifest keeps you on your toes. Manifest has completed 3 seasons up until now and continues to be on air. Manifest is a pretty good choice if you want to watch TV shows like Lost.

3. Lost Room (2006)

IMDB ratings: 8.1/10

Cast: Peter Krause, Julianna Margulies and Peter Jacobson

Creator: Christopher Leone, Laura Harkcom

This lesser-known show The Lost Room is an American Sci-fi television miniseries which only had 3 episodes of 90 mins each and no follow-up seasons. The show was based on a very unique idea where the room in question (known as the ‘Lost Room’) and the objects in the said room had supernatural powers. This strange room is set in a 1960s motel along the iconic U.S. Route 66. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfWrECLnFYU

One day the protagonist (Peter Krause) Joe Miller’s daughter disappears inside the room. Joe, with the help of objects present in the room, tries to find his daughter Anna (Elle Fanning). The story of Lost Room was intensely engaging. I found the direction and the actor’s performances to be absolutely brilliant. It baffles me that the creators did not return to make another short season within the same concept. If you have been searching for TV series like Lost then I can assure you that Lost Room will be worth a watch.

4. Twins Peaks (1990) 

IMDB ratings: 8.8/10

Cast: Kyle MacLachlan, Mädchen Amick, Sherilyn Fenn and David Lynch

Creator: David Lynch

David Lynch, the well-known director of weird and captivating films such as Eraserhead and Blue Velvet created an iconic show called Twin Peaks. It is a hauntingly eccentric show about the investigation of the mysterious murder of a small-town homecoming queen named Laura Palmer. Believe me, as odd as the show may seem at first, you will grow to love it, after all, it is considered to be one of the best mystery shows ever created. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zwn9ou_nf-I

With the mysteries, the supernatural elements and the list of bizarre characters, Twin Peaks has it all. In my opinion, the cinematography of the show was truly ahead of its time. Kyle’s Dale Cooper was especially entertaining. Twin Peaks’ experimental formula of the satirical soap opera is extremely unsettling yet rewarding to watch, I must warn you, it’s not for the faint-hearted!  If you are in search of TV shows like Lost then Twin Peaks won’t disappoint you.

The Prisoners (1967)

IMDB ratings: 8.5/10

Cast: Patrick McGoohan, Angelo Muscat and Geroge Markstien

Creator: Patrick McGoohan


The Prisoner centres around an unnamed British agent (Patrick McGoohan) who tries to flee his country after abruptly quitting his high-ranking government job. He is abducted and held captive in a strange ‘sea-side’ village that is isolated from the rest of the world. This village is a highly secure and monitored place filled with weird technology. There are only 17 episodes to this late 60s show but it manages to bring up such surreal surprises, it's sure to leave a great impact on the viewer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JrNr85fPms

The Prisoner’s unique concept influenced many popular shows including Lost. The creators of Lost even cited the show. I was very impressed by how ahead of its time The Prisoners proves to be. If you want to watch more shows similar to Lost the Prisoners should definitely be on your list.

6. Battlestar Galactica (2004)

IMDB ratings: 8.7/10

Cast: Katee Sackhoff, Edward James Olmos and Tricia Helfer 

Creator: Glen A. Larson

The 2004 Battlestar Galactica is a reboot of the original 1978 miniseries of the same name. Do not be mistaken by the title, the show is not related to Star Trek.  Battlestar Galactica is set in the 7th millennium AD and follows Cylons, the robot enemy of humanity that resurfaces to destroy the 12 colonies of Mankind. Only a few survive and are able to escape on ships led by a powerful warship called Battlestar Galactica. Mankind struggles to fight the Cylons and work their own political agendas and disputes while finding their long-lost 13th colony Earth.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnYsf2Yv8i8

The show is a dark, intense and gritty socio-political commentary with EPIC cinematic value. The script is especially clever and as a huge fan of sci-fi shows, this show ticks the boxes in all the right categories. When the show was released, it blew the viewers and critics away. As far as an obsessive and gripping story goes, Battlestar Galactica is one of the most similar to shows like Lost. 

7. The New People (1969)

IMDB ratings: 7.3/10

Cast: David Moses, Zooey hall and Tiffany Boiling

Creator: Larry Gordon Aaron Spelling

The New People is an American Tv series that aired only for 1 season and is focused on a couple of college students who survive a plane crash. The incident takes place while they were returning from a trip to Southeast Asia, their plane crashes on an island in the south of the Pacific ocean. 

By now this show must already be sounding a lot like Lost to you, and it surely is. The remaining group of people discover an unusual truth about the island: there’s an above-ground unused nuclear test site filled with supplies for the survivors. If you want to see more plane survival stories like Lost then The New People should definitely be on your list.

8. Flight 29 Down (2005)

IMDB ratings: 7.2/10

Cast: Allen Alvarado, Halle Hirsh and Corbin Bleu

Creator:  Stan Rowgow D. J. MacHale

The show Flight 29 Down is a drama series about a group of pre-teens/teens who are stranded on a South Pacific island after their plane crashes in a tropical storm while they were flying from an eco-adventure camping trip in Palau. The show is in many ways a younger version of the Adult-centred show Lost but sans the supernatural elements. I’d say that the show draws inspiration from the show The New People.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLeG0w3kL8k

Flight 29 Down uses the technique of a video diary as a plot device for the viewers to keep up with the story of these children. It was very engaging to watch young intelligent characters finding their way on the island. The first two seasons of the show are quite engaging but I seemed to lose interest in its 3rd and final season. Regardless, Flight 29 Down is a really good series to watch if you want to see TV shows like Lost.

9. Fringe (2008)

IMDB ratings: 8.4/10

Cast: Anna Torv, John Noble and Joshua Jackson

Creator: J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci

Fringe is a popular Sci-fi crime drama television series. It may seem like a standard procedural drama at first, but the show actually explores the parallel universe, alternate versions of people filled with crazy scientific experiments. I personally had a great time watching this show.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29bSzbqZ3xE

Fringe is actually inspired by shows like Lost, The X-files and The Twilight Zone. The 3 main characters of the show work with a special division called Fringe. There are so many brilliant twists and turns in Fringe that in my opinion, the show is at the top of its category. If you are searching for TV series like Lost, I strongly recommend you watch Fringe

10. Alcatraz (2012)

IMDB ratings: 6.9/10

Cast: Sarah Jones, George Garcia and Jonny Coyne 

Creator: Elizabeth Sarnoff, Steven Lilien, Bryan Wynbrandt

This American fiction show is based on the infamous Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary built on Alcatraz island in San Francisco Bay. The prison is now closed but once kept some of the most dangerous criminals of America. The show takes the liberty to make a show around the conspiracies of the place.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V514ACIGp_k

In the interesting premise we see that under unknown circumstances, 256 inmates and 46 guards of the prison disappear without a trace. Later the disappeared ones start to appear one by one without ageing a day and resume their criminal activities with no realisation of disappearance. A special government unit is dedicated to finding and putting those criminals back in prison. If you are looking for mystery shows similar to Lost, try watching Alcatraz. 

11. Under the Dome (2013)

IMDB ratings: 6.5/10

Cast: Alexander Koch and Rachelle Lefevre

Creator: Stephen King

Based on a novel written by the sci-fi legend Stephen King, Under the Dome tells the story of the residents of the fictional small town called Chester's Mill, when a huge, transparent and indestructible dome suddenly cuts them off from the rest of the world. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_Y5YeYrqUk

Now the trapped residents try to find a way to discover the truth, origin and purpose of these domes. This journey forces them into situations where they learn more about each other than they ever knew. Under the Dome may not be on the top of this list but it’s quite a decent watch if you’re looking for mystery shows similar to Lost

12. Dark (2017)

IMDB ratings: 8.7/10

Cast: Louis Hofmann, Lisa Vicari and Gina Stiebitz

Creator: Baran bo Odar, Jantje Friese

The German-language Netflix series Dark is an interesting blend of Science fiction and Mystery. Truly a compelling and mind-bending story to watch. At the beginning of Dark, many children suspiciously start disappearing in the German town of Winden. The dark past of generational mysteries of 4 families living in the town namely, Kahnwald, Nielsen, Doppler, and Tiedemann is brought to light.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrwycJ08PSA

After the discovery of a wormhole, the lives of the families intertwine more than one can imagine. I believe every element of the show is top-notch, especially Dark’s cinematography, which is a TRUE masterpiece. If you are looking for TV series similar to Lost then the intense and gripping story of Dark is sure to keep you engrossed.

Honourable Mentions

Here are a few TV shows like Lost that didn’t make the list, but you can check them out nonetheless: 

  1. Carnivale
  2. Yellowjackets
  3. Game of Thrones
  4. Black Mirror
  5. Flashforward