Is 'In The Night Garden' more confusing than Twin Peaks?

This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on items purchased through this article, but that does not affect our editorial judgement.

[Main image: Showtime/BBC]

With the return of complicated sci-fi saga Westworld to TV screens, devotees have found themselves delighted and flummoxed in equal measure by season two's opening episode.

But Westworld is far from the only drama to confound audiences.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

We asked members of our Screen Babble group on Facebook to name the most confusing TV shows they'd ever seen. Cue surreal thrillers, psychedelic children's programmes, and a forgotten cop drama from the '90s that has to be seen to be believed.

When TV shows get weird

It's probably no surprise that David Lynch's outlandish mystery Twin Peaks is one of the first names to be mentioned.

"The original Twin Peaks confused me so much that I stopped watching it," remarks Linsey McQueen Carson. "My brain works in mysterious ways - but even that broke my mind."

Janet Marshall agrees, and adds that she found the new Twin Peaks season from last year even more mind-bending: "That episode where it was mostly black and white and then just random white noise for about 30 minutes. Still watched them all - but have no idea what it was all about!"

"Got a light?" (Photo: Sky)

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

For Isla Scott, recently returned (and decidedly demented) comic book saga Legion is right at the top of the oddball pack. "I thought I'd understand it after the first few episodes - but nope. It just got more and more bizarre and confusing with little back story provided."

However, long before Twin Peaks or Legion were a glint in their creators' eyes, '60s creation The Prisoner was showing the pretenders how it's done.

"I defy anybody to really be able to tell you what was going on," says Steve Wilkins. "Numbers instead of names, big balloon things that chase you on the beach, people trapped in a mock Italian folly...The show was utterly off its rocker!"

As for Colin Smith, he believes trippy children's TV show In The Night Garden takes the biscuit. "My granddaughter loves it - but it is way over my head."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

When TV shows lose the plot

Of course, TV shows don't have to start off confusing - some of them get there over time, via increasingly misjudged story elements. "Anything that relies on unnecessary twists" risks alienating viewers argues Gareth Maddieson, who cites season three of Heroes and the latest series of The X Files as examples.

Adding too many elements can be a problem too. Deb Aldred says that Sons of Anarchy got very confusing several seasons in: "I think they involved every government agency in America" and "half of them I didn't know who they were. I'd no idea what was happening."

Sheila Mackie claims the penultimate episode of detective drama Marcella fell into a trap of tangled story threads. "It negated a lot of the plots in previous episodes, and even though a fair bit was resolved in the the final episode, it was like the last two had been written by someone else."

The truth is...very confusing! (Photo: Fox)

Darren Carson pokes fun at Aussie soap Neighbours, and its implausible string of distant cousins and nephews, while Karen Dunn says the final episode of Blake's 7 - a popular topic of conversation in Screen Babble discussions - "absolutely flummoxed" her.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"What was going on? How did they suddenly manage to find Blake? Why was he a baddie? Why was the planet named after a cheese? Why did the troopers suddenly learn how to shoot straight after four seasons of not being able to hit the side of a barn? Why did Villa die when no one actually shot him? WHY?"

The ultimate baffling creation?

Flagging up possibly the most confusing TV show ever made, however, is Darren Carson. Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of Cop Rock, a short-lived US series from 1990 that was a bizarre hybrid of crime drama and musical.

Watch this clip. It's as unintentionally hilarious as it is bizarre.

Others confusing shows highlighted by our members:

LostBloodlineSunset BeachSaphire and Steele

• Which TV shows confuse you? Have your say by joining Screen Babble on Facebook

Related topics: