November 13, 2020
Twin Peaks debuted in 1990 and changed TV. But how?
No one really believes a drama could attract viewers on a Thursday night. See, sitcoms ruled the late 80s and early 90s. Shows like Married… with Children and Cheers ate up all the time slots and brought in tens of millions of people every week.
The successful dramas were procedurals and daytime soaps—and both those genres had horribly failed on Thursdays.
But then came Twin Peaks. This was a drama with an overarching story for the season. It was a murder mystery that played with form and reality. It was a humungous risk. And it was going to go up against Cheers, the most popular sitcom of all time.
People had little to no hope in the show.
It was an ABC drama that seemed kinda dark for modern audiences. In fact, in a private screening before it aired, media analyst and advertising executive Paul Schulman said, “I don’t think it has a chance of succeeding. It is not commercial, it is radically different from what we as viewers are accustomed to seeing, there’s no one in the show to root for.”