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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
- The X-Files
- Wayward Pines
- The Sinner
- Wanda Vision
- Under the Banner of Heaven
- Sharp Objects
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.
7. Under the Banner of Heaven (2022)
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.
Here are a few shows that didn’t make the list, but you can check them out nonetheless:
- Breaking Bad (2008)
- Bates Motel (2013)
- Pretty Little Liars (2010)
- Mr Robot (2015)
- Top of the Lake (2013)