After twenty-six years Twin Peaks breathes once more. The series formerly declared dead by director David Lynch, will return following two and a half decades of speculation and fan civil war (born by the closing scene of the final episode – Beyond Life and Death). Its revival beckons the Lynchian cult to raise their lighters to the sky and ceremoniously burn photos of the 1990’s ABC executives responsible for the show’s cancellation. Or was the hiatus just another part of the narrative? It’s only the first end that we want to see tied when Twin Peaks returns on Monday, exclusively on Stan Australia.
Remembering Twin Peaks
Through the 1990’s the series maintained a viewership of close to twenty million, with the first episode reaching almost thirty-five million homes in the U.S. It was a successful first season lead by the enigmatic David Lynch and Mark Frost, and backed by positive critical response.
Things started going south for the ABC hit during season two. Although fans have managed to shift the show’s latter season flaws from the creative team to everything from the Gulf War to intrusive execs, the general consensus is that the writing became too abstract. After the identity of Laura Palmer’s murderer was revealed, the show strayed from a ‘safe’ narrative, and entered foreign lands for primetime TV.
Becoming too avant-garde for general audiences, the show was shifted to a Saturday dead slot and with the declining viewer base, eventually axed after just two seasons. Whether aware of its end or not, Twin Peaks did not tremble in its closing moments. The series capped a trippy second season with an hour finale that was antithetical and experimental; a final salute to the generation of suburban American narratives it was making way for.
(scenes from the final episode SPOILER WARNING)
The series was what film critic Harry Allan Potamkin would call a dissent from the popular ritual. It was the type of show that people disliked for being different, only to appreciate it for the same reason after time had passed. It became a cult series with a subversive following and whether or not the people understood the series, they loved it (the same could be said for most of Lynch’s work [unless you’re Roger Ebert]).
Twin Peaks eventually received the accolades it deserved. And in 2014, after being perennially asked to revive the series, David Lynch and Mark Frost finally said yes to Showtime. The limited series will take place 25 years after the original story and will run for eighteen episodes beginning on May the 22nd.
What we are hoping to see in the new series
The one word answer would be closure. There were so many mysteries that have haunted some of our lives for twenty-six years now. All that double taking every time you pass an owl or inherently distrusting children named Nicky; it can finally come to an end. Here are just a few of the things we’d like to see in the return of Twin Peaks.
1. No more James
I thought I was the only one who couldn’t stand James Hurley, until I found the forums dedicated to the preppy, underdeveloped and poorly acted biker. A character so exiled in the series he literally left the town of Twin Peaks for a Days of Our Lives style adventure, which easily formed the worst parts of the series. He was a character so slow and inhuman audiences probably grew fonder of Bobby Briggs, placing their faith in Bobby landing one on James’s thick skull.
2. Who is Diane?
Or is she even real? Is she just a memory of Coop’s ex-wife? Is she really just Coop’s assistant? Is Diane Coop’s alter ego? Is Diane actually Diane Selwyn from Lynch’s Mulholland Drive? Fans have been combing the original series for an answer to this for too long. Here’s to hoping she’ll make an appearance in the series returned.
3. A return of the guest stars
Some of the show’s best characters were the ones that passed by. Still regarded as a compassionate expression of a trans woman in an era of insensitive depictions, Denise Bryson, acted by David Duchovny, gave the show some of its funniest and most satisfying moments. The same could be said for the hard of hearing Gordon Cole (David Lynch) and the not yet bald John Justice Wheeler (Billy Zane). However abstract the narrative needs to be to allow it, let’s see the these characters returned.
4. An answer to whether Dale Cooper is still possessed by BOB
In the fleeting moments of the show’s second season, Special Agent Dale Cooper emerges from the black lodge looking like his usual self. It’s in the final scene that we see that everything is not as it seems. Coop smashes his head against a bathroom mirror and in the splintered reflection we see BOB, the serial killing entity staring back. It was a poignant scene, almost too difficult to cope with for Coop fans.
It’s probably safe to say we’re going to know what’s going on here at some point in the season, given Kyle MacLachlan will return as the amiable FBI Agent Coop. But for a team of writers with a penchant for interpretive endings, the answer may be only ever be deductive, and never absolute.
5. A tribute to the actors who passed
It would only be right to tip the hat to the actors who founded the TV series, some of whom never got to see its success. This would include an elegy to the infectiously calm Don S. Davis as Major Garland Briggs, Michael Parks as drug trafficker Jean Renault, Frank Silva as antagonist BOB, the recently deceased Catherine Coulson as the Log Lady, Dan O’Herlihy as Andrew Packard and John Boylan as Mayor Dwayne Milford.
Although only playing a part in the Twin Peaks Film, David Bowie was also rumored to return as Phillip Jeffries until he passed from his battle with liver cancer in 2016. Mention should also be made to the man who found the body of Laura Palmer, Jack Nance, whose mysterious life and death became subject to its own documentary titled I Don’t know Jack.
6. Bring back Audrey Horne
The poster girl for millennial Tumblrs was idolized for more than just being cute and provocative. She was the femme fatale, a character who demanded every scene and shaped some of the most interesting moments within the series. She was the antithesis to James, never sharing a dull scene. Sherilyn Fenn has already announced she will return to the series as the lovable Horne, how she returns however is the question left lingering.
7. A mutual trust between Showtime and the creators
From the creative team’s experience with the 1990’s ABC, we can only hope everything has been settled before the series airs. The former producers were slated for being intrusive to the original series, urging Frost and Lynch to develop the story faster and simpler. Lynch already hopped off the project once following a budget dispute with Showtime in 2015 and while early differences appear to be resolved, a continued mutual trust will be the key to the series success.
8. The new cast get real parts
With the substantial number of original cast joining the new series, a balance must be achieved with the new and the old. The next generation of Twin Peaks residents are looking as interesting as the old, with additions to the cast including Naomi Watts, Amanda Seyfried, Michael Cera, Jim Belushi and even Sky Ferriera.
Unfortunately in the Twin Peaks Universe, not every character has been made equal. While only a handful of characters were underdone, the ones that were created a void in the series. The misadventures of James Hurley, the progressively dim-witted Donna Hayward or the insipid Jean Renault are just a couple of examples. With the weight of characters leaning to the positive, this point is really just a reminder of number 1.
Follow this space to see more of our coverage of the return of Twin Peaks. Twin Peaks will premiere on May 21st in the U.S and May 22nd in Australia via the streaming service Stan.