Top-10-Most-Influential-Cult-TV-Shows
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With The X-Files and David Lynch’s 90s classic heading back to our screens we take a look at some of the most influential cult TV shows.

Twin Peaks Laura

10. Twin Peaks

As someone who was born when the show first went on the air, reminiscing about the immediate impact of Twin Peaks is of course not something I can do. I know that it sparked conversations on both sides of the Atlantic and an eager viewership across its short-lived two seasons, but even more than that, I know full well the impact it’s had since then.

Having already established himself in Hollywood with films like Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, The Elephant Man, and Dune, co-creator David Lynch changed tacks and did something not many people were doing at the time. In proving that television is capable of being every bit as good as film, and in many ways even better, he paved the way for the new Golden Era we’ve been enjoying for the past two decades.

Perhaps the biggest praise for its impact would be to say that no Twin Peaks would mean no The Sopranos, with David Chase himself quoting the programme as an influence.

The renaissance of television has given so many filmmakers an opportunity to show us something different on the small screen than we’ve been seeing on the silver screen. Without Lynch’s efforts, it’s entirely possible that we wouldn’t have many of the shows we’ve fallen in love with since – no Twin Peaks, no Boardwalk Empire, no True Detective, no The West Wing, no Boss, the list goes on.

When Sean Durkin made his feature debut at Sundance with the acclaimed Martha Marcy May Marlene, you might have expected him to follow it up with his sophomore feature, but instead he crossed the Atlantic to direct Channel 4’s four-part mini-series, Southcliffe.

It was announced last week that Twin Peaks is finally being given the HD treatment, and will be released on Blu-ray this summer for the first time in a new box set, Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery, including not only the two original seasons but also the prequel movie. Lynch has announced that the release will include almost 90 minutes of previously unseen footage:

“During the last days in the life of Laura Palmer many things happened, which have never been seen before… They’re here now alongside the new transfer of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me and Twin Peaks, the television series.”

The excitement with which such news has been received in the past few days shows just how big an impact the show has had, and continues to have, more than twenty years on.

 

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  • G

    How is Buffy on the list, but not Xena?

  • Galatea

    Great list! one of my favourites and i couldnt agree more with the top 5.
    Thank you

  • Bruno

    I was so afraid that Buffy wouldn’t even be in Top 10 until I reached #1. Now I’m happy.
    Buffy is still my favorite TV show of all-time, even after watching The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, The Wire and Mad Men.

  • Bruno

    It’s not like Buffy was just about a girl kicking ass. It was influential when it came to how TV shows would tell its stories (it wasn’t a pioneer in terms of long story arcs, but it helped it to become mainstream). Xena wasn’t as remarkable as Buffy in that regard.

  • John Skelly

    Xena isn’t even in the league. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the best show ever in terms of capturing a bunch of different styles. Action,drama,comedy. Mash is about the only other thing I could think of that might have been better(debatable),but maybe?Mash was too popular for a cult classic anyway. Don’t get me wrong I actually liked Xena,but it doesn’t enter any credible list.

  • Darla

    I`m so glad that Buffy made the nº1 here!!! i`ve loved many tv shows, but until now BTVS has been the best and most memorable of them all.

  • Toni Crazycrazy Davis

    As much as I love most of these shows Buffy in particular and would personally rate Buffy as number one cult show i have to disagree with listing numbers because both doctor who and star trek where the first defining cult shows to make all other cult tv shows.50 year these shows have lasted by that alone they should be 1 and 2 on the list for that reason alone. Even though my preference is always Joss doctor who and star wars have always been the one to set the treads