AMC's 'The Killing': A 'Twin Peaks' for a new generation?

The network's dark thriller is drawing comparisons to David Lynch's show — and getting rave reviews. What makes it so good?

Mireile Enos stars in AMC's latest drama "The Killing."
(Image credit: Facebook, AMC 2010)

On Sunday night, AMC debuted its latest original series, "The Killing," to (mostly) rapturous reviews. The slow-paced, moody crime drama follows two Seattle investigators as they try to crack a single case — the murder of a young girl — over 13 one-hour episodes. "The Killing" is an adaptation of "Forbrydelsen," a 2007 Danish effort that unexpectedly hit big on British television last year. Given its murder-mystery plot, Pacific Northwest setting, and moody score, the American version is reminding many critics of "Twin Peaks," David Lynch's eccentric cult classic. Will "The Killing" be as fondly remembered as the early '90s touchstone? (Watch a promo for "The Killing.")

It's very dark — in a good way: "The music, the imagery," and "even some of the plot details" may remind viewers of "Twin Peaks," says David Bianculi at NPR. But "there's none of David Lynch's metaphysical whimsy to lighten things." In fact, this is "AMC's most depressing series yet," and that's saying something for a network that's hardly known for its light touch. And yet, "I love, and recommend" this show, and its "astoundingly good acting."

"The Killing:" "Twin Peaks" meets "24" on AMC

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It's very slow — in a good way: By our cultural standards, "The Killing" moves at an unusually plodding pace, says Tim Goodman at The San Francisco Chronicle. It's not as slow as "Rubicon," a failed AMC effort from 2010, but "put it next to the hyper-paced, action-packed, fast-talking American police procedurals, and it looks like Abe Vigoda in the 100-meter sprint." And yet... this show "is excellent, absorbing and addictive."

"The Killing," on AMC, review — good and slow

It's very risky — and not in a good way: "The atmosphere and central performances" are first-rate, says Alan Sepinwall at HitFix. But "The Killing" isn't so surefooted when it comes to long-form plotting. The first three episodes betray a certain strain, veering off into subplots that may or may not be necessary. The writers are running the risk that "the 13 hours [viewers] spend on a season might feel utterly wasted if the resolution isn't satisfying enough given the commitment."

"Review: AMC's 'The Killing' has strong atmosphere, performances"

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