Twelve years ago, David Lynch dazzled critics and television viewers (the few that watched) alike with his trippy neo-noir murder mystery, “Twin Peaks,” earning a staggering 14 Emmy nominations before being dropped after two seasons. Stylistically picking up where “Peaks” left off, ABC’s new mystery series “Push, Nevada” plays like “The X-Files” injected with a Lynchian twist.

Paul Wong
Courtesy of ABC
Pat Bateman. I work on Wall Street.

In last night’s special preview episode, titled “The Amount,” we meet Jim Prufrock, a mild-mannered IRS agent who travels to a small desert town in search of missing money after receiving a mysterious fax suggesting a possible accounting scandal at the Versailles Casino in Push, Nevada. How interesting.

Don’t worry, if you missed it, ABC is offering up an encore of the premiere followed by a new episode on Thursday night as it settles into its intensely competitive timeslot opposite “CSI” and “Will & Grace.”

But if those shows don’t float your cruiseship, producers Ben Affleck (yes, that Ben Affleck) and Sean Bailey, who also wrote the pilot episode, have crafted one of the most original and innovative ideas on television in years. Saturated with secrets, clues and peculiar characters “Push, Nevada” shows telltale signs of a brewing conspiracy.

But introducing only two main characters, Derek Cecil as Jim, and Scarlett Chorvat as a sultry and mystifying lady of the night, the premiere is entertaining at best, only teasing at what’s to come. It’s clear that the whole will be greater than the sum of the parts, but it still provides for engaging television.

And if that isn’t enough, accompanying the series is an interactive game. By following all of the clues and solving the mystery, the winner will take home a substantial cash prize. Every word, every sign, every gesture could hold a clue to solving the riddle of this tiny Nevada town, and thus the show’s ultimate secret. But the question remains, will people really want to watch a dark mystery drama with a complex and twisted story and no real star power?

With “Will & Grace” approaching questionable territory in only its fifth season in the form of a gimmicky baby plotline, and CBS allowing audiences to skip “CSI” on Thursdays and just watch “CSI: The Exact Same Show in Miami” on Mondays, viewers might just take a chance and watch the risky “Push” instead.

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