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Happy Town: Twin Peaks Without David Lynch.


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#1

Cornballer

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Posted May 16, 2009 @ 2:06 AM

Just read in the Hollywood Reporter that ABC has picked up this new drama from the guys who brought you October Road and Life on Mars US.

Yes, they have given them a third chance.

These guys are fascinating. They are able to assemble some decent actors, and do shows with potentially-intriguing storylines, but there is...something missing in their execution.

Road had a few compelling relationships, but dialogue like..."lipstick sky" and "this thing is in diapers." Mars had Michael Imperioli 'stache and a few compelling eps, followed by that ending. Sweet Lord, that ending.

Had a chance to read the script to Happy Town. It's October Road as Twin Peaks.

Essentially -- small town, murder, some secrets, possible supernatural elements. And a LOT of characters. They include Road vets Geoff Stults and Jay Paulson, Sam Neill, Beeper King Dean Winters, Robert Wisdom his bad self, Amy Acker (crap, I hope this doesn't mean Dr. Saunders is gone on Dollhouse and maybe...two dozen more?

Rather than spoil the plot, I am going to provide some spoiler-covered dialogue excerpts and scene description from the script to help you decide if you want to watch this or not. They provide little exposition, but will give you an idea of what you're in for.

INT. BIG DAVE’S PIZZA BARN - DOWNTOWN, HAPLIN - DAY
Where they not only know your name, they know the name of
your dog; and the name of the sawbones that removed that
funny-colored mole from your hide... It’s a big, barn-style
space... Tables and counter space and a large pizza oven...
#
ANDREW HAPLIN
How’s your dad, Georgia? Still
cooking the meth? ‘Cause we saw
him last night on Truck Trail Two,
singing at the top of his tweaked
lungs... He was singing that old
song, “You’re So Vain”? But he had
changed the words...
(sings)
“In my veins/I think I’ll shoot
some meth in my forearm... “
#
TOMMY
Excuse me if I’d like to prolong
the innocence of our daughter’s
childhood for as long as we can.
What next? “Hey, Emma, guess what:
macaroni and cheese is bad for you
and Jerry Garcia is dead!”
#
PEGGY HAPLIN
Roger Hobbs mooches the stem. He
couldn’t solve the mystery of the
cheese sandwich if you showed him
the pumpernickel and the provolone.


This fall on ABC!

#2

Featherhat

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Posted May 16, 2009 @ 7:16 AM

I wasn't a fan of October Road but I did mostly enjoy Life on Mars so it could potentially go either way for me. Again I agree that the casting is good but who knows if the Twin Peaks concept will work at all. The reviews I've read for this either seem to love it or think it's crap.

#3

boewyr

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Posted May 16, 2009 @ 9:44 AM

INT. BIG DAVE’S PIZZA BARN - DOWNTOWN, HAPLIN - DAY
Where they not only know your name, they know the name of
your dog; and the name of the sawbones that removed that
funny-colored mole from your hide... It’s a big, barn-style
space... Tables and counter space and a large pizza oven...
#
ANDREW HAPLIN
How’s your dad, Georgia? Still
cooking the meth? ‘Cause we saw
him last night on Truck Trail Two,
singing at the top of his tweaked
lungs... He was singing that old
song, “You’re So Vain”? But he had
changed the words...
(sings)
“In my veins/I think I’ll shoot
some meth in my forearm... “
#
TOMMY
Excuse me if I’d like to prolong
the innocence of our daughter’s
childhood for as long as we can.
What next? “Hey, Emma, guess what:
macaroni and cheese is bad for you
and Jerry Garcia is dead!”
#
PEGGY HAPLIN
Roger Hobbs mooches the stem. He
couldn’t solve the mystery of the
cheese sandwich if you showed him
the pumpernickel and the provolone.


Umm... wow.

I expected this to bomb pretty hard, but with dialogue like that, how could they lose!

I should get my hands on this one - between this, Inside the Box and David Hemingson it's looking like a mighty bland and mediocre year for ABC.

#4

Cornballer

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Posted May 19, 2009 @ 10:36 AM

It appears this has been picked up for midseason, though many reports of the fall schedule don't list it. It's in ABC's official press release at Time.com and some other places.

A certain David Lynch show also premiered on ABC...exactly 20 years before this premiered. Huh.

#5

Featherhat

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Posted May 20, 2009 @ 10:14 AM

Yes ABC officially has this listed as mid season.

The promos make it seem like it will be OK, nothing particularly "must see" about it for me. Especially coming so soon after "Harper's Island".

#6

flibbertyjibbet

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Posted May 22, 2009 @ 10:07 AM

This show sounds like it could be interesting, but now that I hear that the people behind October Road are behind this one as well, I've lost a lot of interest. Guess I'll still tune in though. Maybe it'll be better than expected.

#7

Brn2bwild

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Posted May 23, 2009 @ 12:10 AM

<small voice> Is it wrong that I hope this show gets cancelled so Amy Acker can be made a regular on Dollhouse?

#8

LakeGal

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Posted Jul 18, 2009 @ 7:51 AM

I enjoyed both Twin Peaks and Harper's Island. I am hoping this might be a combination of the two. I need another season long mystery type show to get involved with.

#9

Selianth

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Posted Mar 19, 2010 @ 10:14 AM

I saw a promo for this last night while I was watching FlashForward. It's now apparently going to be a late spring/summer series, premiering on Wednesday, April 28th. I hadn't heard about it before but the first thing I thought of was Harper's Island. According to wikipedia, Dean Winters is out, replaced by Steven Weber, which pretty much guarantees that I'll watch it (or at least give it a shot.)

#10

AimingforYoko

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Posted Mar 19, 2010 @ 9:37 PM

Interesting that they set this in my home state (MN). I hope they don't go with the Fargo accents.

#11

Peterased

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Posted Mar 20, 2010 @ 6:53 AM

From what I understand, this combines the dialogue of October Road with the weirdness of Life on Mars. Given the creators’ previous track record, plus the fact that it’s a late mid-season arrival, plus the fact that it’s airing in a timeslot that has already killed 2 shows this season, I doubt this is going to be a hit. And I just don’t think it’s possible to come to a good conclusion in 8 episodes, given the show’s sprawling cast and basic premise. So why is it I still feel compelled to watch this?

#12

dantalfloss

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Posted Apr 5, 2010 @ 1:47 PM

The first 15 minutes of the pilot

Ho-hum.

#13

ScribblerGuy

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Posted Apr 6, 2010 @ 4:43 AM

Here's the official summary of the show (via thefutoncritic.com):

ABC has announced the premiere date of its new drama, "Happy Town," WEDNESDAY, APRIL 28 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET). The residents of the sun-splashed town of Haplin, Minnesota -- also known as "Happy Town" -- have enjoyed an uneasy peace for the past five years -- but that is about to change. Still haunted by a number of unsolved kidnappings, Haplin now faces a disturbing new crime that brings all of its unresolved fears to the surface. Has the elusive "Magic Man" -- who many believe is responsible for the bizarre abductions -- returned to claim yet another innocent victim? As Haplin's mysteries are revealed, many of its prominent citizens' motives come under scrutiny as their own secrets and personalities are peeled back one layer at a time.

The Haplin founding family, represented by the mysterious matriarch Peggy Haplin and her quick-tempered son, John, run the local bread factory, which is the town's largest employer. The powerful family tries to wield control even while dealing with the fact that John's daughter was one of the Magic Man's many victims. The ever-dapper Merritt Grieves, who runs a charming but perhaps irrelevant film memorabilia shop, seems strangely sinister. The lively widows residing at the Meadows Boarding House with Merritt become all aflutter whenever he is in their presence. Haplin's other colorful characters include Tommy Conroy's boyhood friend, Big Dave Duncan, as well as the nefarious Stiviletto brothers.

Many in this small Midwestern town have skeletons in their closets, and some dark truths are being revealed about some familiar faces. There are signs both obvious and hidden that something strange is going on, as exemplified by a recurring bit of curious graffiti: a halo with a question mark under it. They say every town has its secrets, but that doesn't even begin to describe Happy Town.

"Happy Town" stars Geoff Stults as Tommy Conroy, Sam Neill as Merritt Grieves, Lauren German as Henley Boone, Steven Weber as John Haplin, Amy Acker as Rachel Conroy, Sarah Gadon as Georgia Bravin, Robert Wisdom as Roger Hobbs, Jay Paulson as Eli "Root Beer" Rogers and Ben Schnetzer as Andrew Haplin.

Recurring stars include Frances Conroy as Peggy Haplin, Abraham Benrubi as Big Dave Duncan, M.C. Gainey as Sheriff Griffin Conroy, Peter Outerbridge as Handsome Dan, Warren Christie as Greggy Stiviletto and Sophia Ewaniuk as Emma Conroy.

***
Caught the 14 minute preview on Hulu... Hated the plotline jumps. I would have preferred tying the introductory storyline to the new girl for a smoother flow (have her be the POV character or at least have the storyline branch out from her). If I had tuned in to see the pilot, I probably would have bailed by the ten minute mark.

#14

SanLynn

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Posted Apr 6, 2010 @ 7:41 AM

Well the 15 minute preview ensured that I'll give this a full episode. But I agree the plot jumped around too much.

But I did like Twin Peaks (I'll call this a poor man's Twin Peaks) and Harpers Island was okay. This seems like a mish mash of the two on the surface so it'll get an episode or two at least. Plus there's a few actors I like so that works in their favor too.

#15

LakeGal

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Posted Apr 25, 2010 @ 7:00 AM

Steven Weber's connection seems to be bringing the Stephen King made-for-TV movie comparisons. Weber has done a few of King's movies. This show is said to have the feel of those. It was filmed in Port Hope, Ont. Instead of a dark thriller it is being compared more to playful horror.

#16

oakgal

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Posted Apr 28, 2010 @ 12:09 AM

I'm hoping this is good. I was thinking it might fill the void left by Harper's Island. Not that it could be as silly, gory or confusing as that show but it might be okay. Plus it was filmed in Port Hope, Ontario and I'm curious to see the town as I go there occasionally.

#17

Snark Shark

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Posted Apr 28, 2010 @ 9:59 PM

Yup.

The world DIDN'T need another Twin Peaks. This confirmed it.

#18

patriotickid

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Posted Apr 28, 2010 @ 10:01 PM

I made it to the first commercial break, turned to Hamlet and didn't turn back.

Is this from the same people behind October Road?

Edited by patriotickid, Apr 28, 2010 @ 10:02 PM.


#19

bria

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Posted Apr 28, 2010 @ 10:03 PM

Huh. I don't know that I'm impressed, but I'm intrigued. There are definitely too many characters, but that ties in with the whole Twin Peaks-iness of it all, anyway. The Chloe reveal was too early, though.

#20

naneki78

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Posted Apr 28, 2010 @ 10:08 PM

The question begs, when will the Magic Man meet the Log Lady?

#21

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Posted Apr 28, 2010 @ 10:15 PM

I'm intrigued for now. There are enough actors that I like to bring me back for a while. Hopefully, it won't go downhill rapidly.

#22

keagan1

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Posted Apr 28, 2010 @ 10:32 PM

I hate this about myself, but overly-clever and cryptic dialogue annoys me after just a scene or two. I want characters to go back to talking to one another the way that people 'normally' do. It's one of my many shortcomings and I apologize in advance for that. Also, just having interesting camera angles and lighting does not (necessarily) make a story more interesting. You only have to watch an episode of CSI:Miami to learn that lesson.

Too many people. Too much...stuff. Too early on.

#23

casey22

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Posted Apr 28, 2010 @ 10:48 PM

I guess the sheriff is the dancing little person. We are not going to understand anything he says til the end.I hope he doesn't babble through the whole season. He is already getting on my nerves. Is Sam Neill's character supposed to be the devil? Or just a very good pick pocket? That lady at the beginning has crazy eyes. She also said the murder happened at her late husband's shack. Hmmmmm. Why is she telling people not to go upstairs? That is like telling people not to push the button or pull the fire alarm. Of course you are gonna want to go up there! I hope more people starting dieing. I can't keep track of all the characters. They need to thin the herd a bit. I will stick around to see if it gets better. Harper's island was a little slow but it got better as it went along. So I will keep watching.

#24

keagan1

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Posted Apr 28, 2010 @ 11:09 PM

Why is she telling people not to go upstairs? That is like telling people not to push the button or pull the fire alarm. Of course you are gonna want to go up there!


If she doesn't want people to go up to the third floor then, maybe, she should shut the freakin' door leading up to it. Perhaps even lock it afterwards and set a table in front of it. Not point it out on Day One like she's Mrs. Danvers telling Rebecca that she can't go into the East Wing of Mandelay.


I shouldn't be this annoyed with this show this early on...

#25

lillipad

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Posted Apr 28, 2010 @ 11:16 PM

I'm not truly intrigued, but interested enough to come back.

If you really don't want anyone to go upstairs, put up a door. With a lock. Telling them about it and lighting it spookily just encourages interest.

So far, the boarding house lady is creepy-weird. The end of the soup scene was odd. I would move quickly out of that place.

What cop doesn't know to bring someone to a private place before informing them of a death. I get that the town is unused to bad things(for five yrs), but what human doesn't know to pull someone aside to share bad news? Not in a production line, with children around. All I got from that scene is that Tommy and Root Beer are insensitive idiots.

In writing this I realized the show has me more interested than I thought. What's the animosity between Sheriff and movie-guy? Why does Amy Acker want to move so badly? What's going on with the Sheriff's dazes? What happened between Tommy and the guy at the dump? So I'll keep watching.

#26

bookworm8571

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Posted Apr 28, 2010 @ 11:43 PM

I fell asleep halfway through. It's pretty bad.

#27

casey22

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Posted Apr 29, 2010 @ 12:26 AM

I don't why but this show is reminding me of Salem's lot. The creepy outsider English guy opening a shop. The weirdos at the dump and the way the bread factory sat above the town . Like the creepy Miller house. The way the guy said they let him in by the first murder. The boarding house and it's guests.

#28

Anthony W

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Posted Apr 29, 2010 @ 12:31 AM

Twin Peaks? This felt nothing like Twin Peaks. It was like wathcing Desperate Housewives without the housewives and with more violence. I kept waiting for Susan to show up and trip over a dead body and Brie going toe to toe with Dot.

#29

CaliforniaSun

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Posted Apr 29, 2010 @ 12:52 AM

This had basically no similarities to the greatness that is Twin Peaks, but it wasn't too bad and I thought the end was quite good. I'll check it out next week.

#30

Scrumtrelescent

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Posted Apr 29, 2010 @ 12:53 AM

It's funny, I had just started watching Twin Peaks again when I saw a few of the promos for this mess. At least they sort of acknowledge the influence; new girl Henley says she's from Snoqualmie, where Lynch and crew did their location filming.

I don't think that Root Beer and Big Dave are supposed to remind me of Mitchell and Cameron from Modern Family, but there you are.

I guess I'd watch Frances Conroy in just about anything, though, so a few more hours of this couldn't hurt that much. I don't think.