The idea behind American Chronicles, conceived by Twin Peaks cocreators David Lynch and Mark Frost, is to present a half-hour travelogue each week an early episode takes a film stroll through New Orleans. The show doesn't follow anyone in particular; it just jumps around, showing you brief flashes of the city's residents and tourists and chopped-up scenes of Mardi Gras.
It's like any hack documentary on New Orleans, complete with banal narration by actor Richard Dreyfuss. At one point, he actually describes Mardi Gras as ''a spectacle to rival that of ancient Rome.'' So you stare at the screen, wondering, ''Where's the eerie, Lynch-y stuff? Where's the originality? Where's the entertainment?''
It's not there. Maybe Lynch exhausted his imagination making Wild at Heart, but what's Frost's excuse? D