Top of the Lake (TV series- BBC 2)

I watched the first episode of ‘Top of the Lake’ with a sense of deja vu. It was first noticeable when the opening credits showed a waterfall between two mountains; then even more when the plot involving a missing girl (Tui) was revealed; but what confirmed my suspicions was the end credits playing over a photograph of Tui. It rang bells that reminded me instantly of another missing girl- Laura Palmer.

As I began the second episode (they were all on iplayer at the same time, so I could binge on them properly) it only became increasingly evident that the director, Jane Campion, was most definitely a fan of “Twin Peaks”.

For those who haven’t seen “Twin Peaks” it is a cult classic detective series, created by David Lynch. It is the single most bizarre, but creative thing I have ever watched. Like “Top of the Lake” it is slow to get into (and there is WAY too much crying in the first episode) but don’t let that put you off. In fact WATCH IT. Watch it now. Watch it even before you watch “Top of the Lake” (which was pretty brilliant too).

Maybe I’m just a little odd, and so I look for similar mentalities in TVprograms; but it seems to me that there is a stifling focus on realism in modern TV drama. If it isn’t especially likely that it could be happening in your own little world, then people (or at least TV companies) loose interest quickly. This is especially true in crime dramas and thrillers. It is at least partly understandable as they depend on the audience’s fear factor, which wouldn’t be anywhere near as high if they didn’t have the insight that whatever is happening on screen could happen to themselves, or to someone they love. Yet I can’t be the only one yearning for something different, something creative, something unlikely.

Usually I either have to delve into the past to find things like “Twin Peaks” or “Monty Python”; or into confusing Korean films to find something truly strange. At the moment I will only concede to two exceptions to this rule on British Television. One is “The Mighty Boosh”, the other is “Top of the Lake”.

“Top of the Lake” comes out on DVD tomorrow:

“Twin Peaks” on DVD:


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