Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Showtime has announced the return of the series of Twin Peaks. It will have a short, 9 episode run in 2016.

In 1990, Twin Peaks was an avant garde TV show. It was a mystery with surreal elements unseen in television dramas. Creator David Lynch used his indie, art film techniques to the small screen. The story was simple: a beloved, high school sweetheart is found murdered along the shores of a lake. This murder is the catalyst for the viewers to slowly peel away the onion skin of a seemingly nice, quaint and peaceful community to the center pit of darkness.

Despite its brief run, Twin Peaks’ immense influence was visible almost immediately. Lynch had proved that viewers would tune in for big-screen quality production in a weekly format, and in the process they ushered in a new age of televised drama. Two years later Fox would debut The X-Files, which relied on a similarly elaborate mythology to sustain its nine-season run.

When ABC’s Lost premiered in 2004—constructed around an ever-unfolding course of otherworldly (and largely forest-based) mysteries—it drew immediate Peaks comparisons. “Twin Peaks was a huge impact on me,” LOST''s co-creator Damon Lindelof told an audience in Manhattan a few days before the series finale in May 2010. One of the lessons he learned? That a show doesn’t have to solve every mystery it sets up.

More importantly, Twin Peaks proved to fans, critics, industry gatekeepers, and film creators alike that television would no longer live in the shadow of film—it could actually be good. Little by little, TV shows were becoming every bit as worthy of close attention and deconstruction as films—a shift that wouldn’t just make for better water-cooler chatter, but would also open up a new venue to which writers and bloggers could devote entire careers. And none of that might have happened, if one daring network hadn’t gambled on this series.

But the real difference between Twin Peaks and LOST is that Twin Peaks did solve the compelling, focal mystery of the show: who killed Laura Palmer. But the show left with the strange taste of supernatural realms (lodges), portals to dead spirits, evil doppelgangers, and twisted versions of the truth since everything was put into surreal conflicting clues and McGuffin dead ends. Lynch and co-creator Mark Frost twisted the normal murder-mystery into a mystery about normalcy in television. The confusion was so ripe that the audience did not care to figure things out; it went along for the bizarre roller coaster ride.