We originally ran this piece on April 8, 2014, the anniversary of Twin Peaks debut on ABC. Today it was announced Twin Peaks will return to Showtime in 2016 for a nine-episode series.
Twin Peaks debuted on April 8, 1990 on ABC, one of three major television networks. The serialized drama focused on the death of a popular high school student, Laura Palmer. David Lynch, along with co-creator and writer Mark Frost, took a large portion of American’s into a sleepy, small town rife with drug abuse, prostitution, rape, brutality and pie. 24 years later, the shows influence can be seen, heard and felt in every forum of popular culture.
Writer, director, creator and co-star of Twin Peaks David Lynch is a weirdo. There’s nothing wrong with being a weirdo. In fact, only a weirdo can make something that still worth stealing after two decades. Weirdos make their lead characters go into mystical rooms and turn into murderes. Weirdos put fish in coffee. Weirdos are easy to imitate and impossible to duplicate.
Twin Peaks didn’t become a cult classic. It was a hit. A bona fide, let’s-put-the-cast-on-Donahue, “Who killed Laura Palmer?” hit. Sesame Street doesn’t parody the underground.
But it didn’t last. It could never last. Lynch and company were able to keep America captivated for 1990, but the times change and by the summer of 1991, the saga of a murder in a mysterious town ended. A year later an even weirder film prequel confused more people and then there was nothing. The film’s title sequence featured a television blaring static before being destroyed by an ax. An era had ended.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uw8dd0ODhuE
In the fall of 1993 The X-Files premiered on FOX. The show about a FBI agent that wants to believe and happened to have spent some time in Twin Peaks ran for nine seasons, warranted two feature films and helped remind everyone that Twin Peaks was a damn fine show.
Twin Peaks was a damn fine show that influenced The X-Files, LOST (What’s going on?!?), The Killing (Who killed
Laura Palmer Rosie Larson?), True Detective and more. It’s been given a tribute episode by Psyche (available on Netflix and worth your time, regardless of your familiarity with the program), referenced on The Simpsons and parodied on Saturday Night Live.
The show benefited from its era. Pre-DVD, the series was destination viewing. Loyal viewer Trent Reznor, frontman of Nine Inch Nails, planned show times around the airing of new episodes. When the episodes were released on VHS, they weren’t released together. The pilot had its own tape release in late 1993. The entire series was released as a box set in 1995. Well, the entire series except the pilot. The first season of the series was released on DVD in 2001. The second season was released on DVD in April 2007. The Definitive Gold Box Edition (real name) was released in October 2007. A show that was cancelled in June 1991 wasn’t available on a reliable, good looking format for more than 16 years. Why does this matter? It was difficult to watch. Similar to hard-to-find EP from a punk band you heard your favorite band loved, the myth behind the show became as important as the show.
Twin Peaks is currently available on Netflix. The convenient and reliable high quality streaming service is allowing new viewers to binge watch a bingeble series and old fans are able to access what they’ve been appreciated for over two decades. The series fits in remarkably well with modern day epics like Breaking Bad and Mad Men, as well as absurd comedies like Portlandia. An argument can be made for Twin Peaks as the first, quality, bingeable drama. It may have something to do with an artist being given creative control over their product. Twin Peaks, Breaking Bad, Mad Men and Portlandia all are unique because they’re shows by creators, not committee.
Since the show is from the mind of one man, with the aid of another talented man, and one of those men doesn’t want to bring the show back, the show is not coming back. In a fictional universe Laura Palmer told Dale Cooper that she’d see him again in 25 years. That should have happened on March 27, 2014. It didn’t. David Lynch has said that the show is not coming back. When rumors started circulating early this year that the show was coming back (it’s not) due to an open casting call (it’s not coming back), die hards wouldn’t believe it was for Blu-Ray extras. The show is not coming back.
But the show is not gone. In addition to tributes, fantastic fan sites like Welcome to Twin Peaks, enough unauthorized products to stock multiple boutiques (more on that later today) and style influences on screen, Lynch and friends are everywhere, if you’re looking. Due to the popularity of Louie, a lot of comedy fans think David Lynch is a director of late night, not films and nightmares. And that’s perfect. His Jack Dahl character gives a nod to his character in Twin Peaks, FBI Regional Bureau Chief Gordon Cole. There’s even a micro cassette, a technology that really hasn’t been used in any other television show since Twin Peaks, in his desk drawer.
A Twin Peaks type show and success isn’t likely to happen again. There’s no reason a major television network should take a chance on a auteur weirdo like David Lynch. A premium cable channel might, but it won’t have the reach of an ABC. Even if a murder mystery on major network television station garners the popularity and critical acclaim of Twin Peaks, the likelihood of it receiving the same number of viewers is slim to none. Unless the cast of Friends decides to reunite as the new cast of a rebooted Twin Peaks, it’ll never happen again.
Laura and Dale don’t have to reunite. They’re here more than ever. Thanks to a memorable and perfect theme song by Angelo Badalamenti, charming performance by Kyle MacLachlan and unique vision by David Lynch, the show is still vital and relevant to 2014. Now, it’s time for coffee.