So it turns out the Twin Peaks return is now looking more like 2017. We still did it, everyone. Networks of the 1990s may have won the battle, but we’ve won the war. The ballad of Laura Palmer shall be sung again. Gather your logs and fly that Lynch flag proudly. (I could do this forever, somebody stop me.)
But I get it: there’s a lot to take in, and Homer Simpson said it best when he admitted that while watching the series, he had no idea what’s going on. I mean, when it comes to cult series like Twin Peaks, there are seemingly endless theories, myths, and facts; so to say its world is slightly overwhelming and exclusionary isn’t inaccurate. Fortunately, that’s why I’m here. Now, even if you also have absolutely no idea what’s going on, there should be enough below that you can buy yourself some clout in a Twin Peaks-oriented conversation. (Or, just mention the Log Lady in any capacity, and you should be good for a solid 10 minutes.)
1. Who’s starring in it?
Excellent question, me. First, let the record state that series creators David Lynch and Mark Frost are 100% behind the reunion/reboot/etc., so the show’s creative integrity is staying in tact. (Hooray!) As for the cast, that’s still up for debate: deceased prom queen Laura Palmer may be the only character we see in the teaser (and she did tell Kyle MacLachlan’s character Agent Dale Cooper that she’d see him again in 25 years), but the thing about Twin Peaks is that nothing is ever what it seems. In terms of Twin Peaks insider information, most of us are Jon Snow: we know nothing. Even MacLachlan’s tweet about finding his black suit was followed by a non-committal emoticon.
2. Why is Twin Peaks coming back now?
Well, 2016 will mark 25 years since ABC canceled the series, and our generation loves a reunion. But more specifically, Laura Palmer promised to cross paths with Agent Dale Cooper in 25 years – and it was footage from that conversation that made it into yesterday’s teaser. What did she know? Will we be dealing with the death of Agent Cooper? Or will he be back to investigate something even more sinister in the next couple years?
3. Wait, so has this been in the works since 1991?
In our hearts, obviously. But a recent interview with the New York Times, Frost revealed that he and Lynch drummed up the premise about three years ago, prompted by the “see you in 25” years scene I won’t shut up about. “Everything flowed from there,” he said. So, yes: Twin Peaks 2.0 will take place in 2016, may involve new generations, a new mystery, or at the very least, former teen characters who are now middle-aged adults. And think about it: with everything that went down (hello: Killer BOB in and of himself), why would anyone stay in Twin Peaks? And if they didn’t stay, what will bring them all back?
4. If the show got cancelled after two seasons, why even bother?
Who are you, hater of television? I mean, I get it, but yikes. First of all, in that same New York Times interview, Frost said that telling us anything would be “folly,” but because Showcase differs from ABC in terms of censorship and expectations (cable versus network series make a big difference in North America), the creators now feel free “to do and go wherever [they] see fit.” So think about how much Twin Peaks resonated with fans with restrictions and network stipulations in the early nineties. Now, 25 years later, television has only gotten better. This means Frost and Lynch have more to work with, darker plots to explore, and less of a need to please advertisers and censors. After all, Showtime is the network behind Dexter, Homeland, Masters of Sex, and Shameless – series that take risks, don’t shy away from gratuitous violence and/or other adult themes, and find themselves in the running every awards season. Which makes sense, since Twin Peaks kick-started TV as we know it now.
5. But why is Twin Peaks so important to modern television?
At the time of its debut, Twin Peaks was unique in offering fans a continuing story, not one-off episodes like Murder She Wrote. So yep: it helped usher in the golden age of television. Laura Palmer’s death was a constant during the series’ two seasons, as well as being a catalyst for cover-ups and the dark creatures of Black Lodge, and the way the series’ main characters dealt with them. These are the same type of themes we see now in anything from True Detective to Luther (RIP) to Top Of The Lake and even Game of Thrones – episodic moments that help move along an overarching narrative that’s meant to take years. We didn’t get years with Twin Peaks, we got a handful of episodes.
I mean, the last scene saw Agent Cooper smash his head against a mirror in response to seeing Killer BOB looking back at him. He starts screaming, “How’s Annie?” like a maniac. That is how the show ends. Ending the show there would be like if Breaking Bad ended with Hank sitting on the toilet, suddenly aware of who Heisenberg is.
And then we just never found out and Hank started screaming.