HOLLYWOOD -- We're not in Kansas any more. We don't even seem to be in Los Angeles. We're in Twin Peaks, a mythical Northwestern city of about 50,000 population where mists rise eerily from forests primeval and bad boys thrown into jail howl like wolves in the night. "Twin Peaks," the television show, is not on any network's fall schedule. But ABC has ordered seven episodes of this rather unprecedented serialized drama and will probably air the show's two-hour pilot sometime between now and January. In terms of provocative novelty, "Twin Peaks" easily out-dazzles all the new network shows that will be premiering over the next few weeks. The cold-but-alluring oddness of it can be traced directly to one of its creators: David Lynch, who co-wrote and directed the pilot and is best known for his bizarre cult movie hit "Blue Velvet." Like that moodily penetrating film, "Twin Peaks" (originally titled "Northwest Passage") looks beneath the seeming placid normalcy of a quiet American town and finds layer upon layer of ghastly undercurrent. Even the overcurrents have a spooky perversity. In the pilot, the body of 17-year-old Laura Palmer, wrapped neatly in plastic, washes up on shore to set the story in motion. Before long the plot is populated with the kind of off-kilter characters that are Lynch's specialty: a visiting FBI man who compulsively dictates into a pocket tape recorder when not marveling aloud about the smell of the Douglas firs; an elegantly beautiful Chinese woman who inherited the local sawmill from her husband; a wheezy mayor just one wee wheeze away from senility; and a handsome young sheriff who goes by the vaguely familiar name of Harry S. Truman. At a town meeting, the FBI man (Kyle MacLachlan, of Lynch's "Blue Velvet" and "Dune") asks the sheriff (Michael Ontkean, once among "The Rookies" on ABC), "Who's that lady with the log?" And the sheriff replies, "We call her the loglady." Others who pop up in the cast include Russ Tamblyn, onetime teenage star; and Peggy Lipton, a member of "The Mod Squad" many seasons ago. Lynch has a gift for turning the everyday and ordinary into images that are mischievously sinister. The changing of a lonely traffic light over an intersection seems darkly portentous. When the sheriff and the FBI man walk into a bank's conference room, they see a deer's head lying on the table. "Twin Peaks" is "Mayberry RFD" as it might have been written by Franz Kafka and directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Clues pile up, characters fade in and out of the shadows, and the two-hour premiere ends without resolving the mystery of Laura's death. Even so, "Twin Peaks" is one of the most intoxicating combinations of grimness and giggles ever made for television, or for anything else. But is it the kind of thing America wants to watch? In its current issue, Connoisseur magazine naively hails "Twin Peaks" as "the series that will change TV." But the artsy monthly forgets that TV does not want to be changed. Many people thought ABC's "Max Headroom" would change TV too; Max sank sadly into the sunset. Brandon Tartikoff, president of NBC Entertainment, has seen ABC's show and is hardly green with envy. "I thought after I saw it that I would put my mortgage down on how badly that one tested. That would have made the testing on 'Dream Street' look like 'The Cosby Show.' " By "testing," he means the advance screening of shows for groups of guinea-pig viewers to gauge their reaction. "Dream Street" was a gloomy Tartikoff flop from last season that had tested badly before it got on the air. "I liked 'Blue Velvet,' " he says. "I looked at this, I said it's real interesting and I said to myself, 'Do I think there's a commercial mainstream audience for this thing?' I suspect not. I probably would want to live in a country where something like that could work, but I suspect it will be a tough road for them." It should be remembered, though, that Tartikoff is cautiously conservative. Even he admits that the networks have virtually no innovative new series for the fall. Whatever else is true of "Twin Peaks," it is daringly, perhaps insanely, different. When I came out of the screening room at ABC, the world seemed to have been twisted into a collection of strange new shapes and repainted in an assortment of goofy muted hues. "Twin Peaks" isn't just a visit to another town; it's a visit to another planet. Maybe it will go down in history as a brief and brave experiment. But as can be said of few other TV shows in the near or immediate future: This You Gotta See.