Punctuated by shows like True Detective and American Horror Story, the purveyance of the weird, niche, or supernatural has shown that the general audience’s palate has grown substantially since Mark Frost and David Lynch’s soap.
By W.A. Clarke
Time to visit the Red Room again. Who’d’ve thunk something as cryptic as Laura Palmer’s “I’ll see you in 25 years” could be so cleverly obvious? Twin Peaks will always still be there, as David Lynch insisted in his announcement of the show’s return last week, but it’s much more than “why not?” caprice. Ignoring the fact that soap operas generally have a life expectancy longer than any of us, Twin Peaks was bound to return.
In fact, the return of Twin Peaks could be the most timely thing to happen in today’s era of television. Punctuated by shows like True Detective and American Horror Story, the purveyance of the weird, niche, or supernatural has shown that the general audience’s palate has grown substantially since Mark Frost and David Lynch’s soap. And over the past few years there has been a waning of the traditional, non-serialized crime procedural (so much for Twin Peaks: Miami), which only serves to highlight the originality of a crime drama like Twin Peaks. As its title suggests outright, Twin Peaks is about the town and its inhabitants, not any one murder or scandal or narrative foil. It’s a Deleuzian, novel look at a serialized mystery, and that’s the fun of it; less the intrigue of the crime than how seductive the mystery. A thick, twisty plot is all well and good, but that is not the meat and potatoes – or rather, coffee and cherry pie – of the show. Its timelessness is earned in characters like Agent Cooper and the rest of the townsfolk who grieve, investigate, and connive with each other like it was daytime drama.
But even as it stands as a wonderful container for a menagerie of characters and atmospheres, this could be another tepid, bittersweet return that reminds us the double-edged sword of nostalgia. The idea of resurrecting it might seem grossly unbecoming of such a rare and iconic show, yet under the reigns of its original creators, a new tale could inspire more anthological, open-ended works as means to franchise a television show. And shows as anthologies provide for more original stories and the voices telling them, evidenced by the star-studded Fargo and True Detective.
For sure, Twin Peaks is a real place in television, a sandbox for iconic characters – it represents where TV could and should go: succinct, anthological, new.
W.A. Clarke is a filmmaker based out of Central Florida. He has worked on several notable feature films and enjoys discussing the nuances of the filmmaking process.