Laura Palmer in St. Petersburg

With the DVD release of Twin Peaks: The Definitive Gold Box Edition, fans of the show can relive every twist and turn of the landmark television series that asked (and, unfortunately, answered) the most important question of 1990–1991: “Who killed Laura Palmer?” What many American fans of the cult show probably don’t realize is how popular the show was in Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Borenstein cover

Amidst the extreme homegrown Russian entertainment he surveys in his new book, Overkill: Sex and Violence in Contemporary Russian Popular Culture, an unflinching tour of the dark underbelly of post-Soviet culture, Eliot Borenstein also highlights the impact of American popular culture (not to mention Mexican telenovelas) on Russia’s media industry. “For the Russian audience,” Borenstein writes, “Twin Peaks, despite its iconoclasm, is a case study in the strengths and pitfalls of the American serialized drama.” He also takes note of the the series’ appearance as an artifact in Russian popular culture itself: “In Maks Frai’s Chronicles of Echo fantasy series, when Frai returns to the otherdimensional land of Ekho from an extended sojourn in our world, he brings back his video library and his ex-girlfriend’s VCR to introduce film and television to a land that has never seen it. His boss immediately takes several days off from work so he can watch Twin Peaks nonstop.”

Laura Palmer in St. Petersburg