With Lost ending soon, ABC’s really pushing their next big mystery-drama series, Happy Town. What’s it about? Well, the short version is: a Twin Peaks wannabe (the trailer even mentions “From the network that brought you Twin Peaks“—which by the way premiered on ABC ten 20 years ago this month…oops, as you can see, math is not my specialty). The series takes place in Haplin, Minnesota, a quaint small town where everyone is…you guessed it! happy. Except, there are some folks that are not. Apparently, some of the local citizens have gone missing in the past, due to someone named The Magic Man. Or maybe not. No one seems to know quite what’s going on. And voila you have a TV show.
Based on the first few minutes of the premiere episode (click here to go to ABC’s website to watch), I’m already skeptical. First of all, they take being cheerful to obscene levels. I know what they are trying to go for, but the overkill is a bit distracting. Second of all, they’ve injected way too many Twin Peaks-esque details that it’s nearly impossible not to feel that you are simply watching a rip-off. For example: the similar plot points (both shows include murder mysteries); both shows take place in small towns with dark secrets; and both shows feature quirky absurd moments (Twin Peaks: Agent Cooper eating donuts while going through a crime scene; Happy Town: the sun shining through the hole in a dead guy’s head).
Given Twin Peaks’ enormous cult-success and that legendary filmmaker David Lynch was the genius behind the show, I imagine Happy Town will never measure up. And for that, why bother? Why not just go for something completely original, rather than imitate and hope it’ll work out? I’m excited that ABC has taken programming risks and gone for edgier series, but I’m annoyed that in this case they went for something so similar to a beloved classic.
Despite being annoyed, I’m still going to check out the first few episodes. I’m curious to see where they go with it. Happy Town premieres April 28 on ABC, here’s the trailer…