The return of Twin Peaks is still a few years away yet, but there are still plenty of issues that need to be considered that could make or break this new series of the cult favourite.
Before we start: THIS CONTAINS SPOILERS! If you have not seen the show (which was on air in 1990) go and do that now, then come back. It’s on the American Netflix, or you can get yourself the Blu Ray on Amazon. Right, now that’s out of the way, let’s begin.
After some teasing cryptic tweets and much speculation, Twin Peaks is officially coming back to our screens, and all of your backwards talking dreams have come true. While fans of the show (ourselves included) are giddy with excitement, there are a couple of challenges that await the new show, that we’re sure Lynch and Frost can overcome, but that doesn't make them any less troubling.
These will be the things that the show either makes a great success of, or utterly gets wrong, completely ruining its legacy forever - it’s a fine line to tread.
Firstly the show was canceled for a reason. David Lynch himself has often stated that he didn't want to reveal the killer so early, and the second season was far too long for the story that needed to be told. It trailed off in the middle, but the season finale was truly fantastic, directed by Lynch and having all the hallmarks of his bizarre style, including plenty more backwards talking.
While it should be easy enough to simply gloss over that period of the show that we’d rather forget after so much time, the danger is always there that it could lapse into that somewhat dull pattern again. It was still weird, but it seemed to be a formulaic, weekly type of weird that was packaged with what they thought people wanted to see. We wanted backwards talking dammit!
Thankfully, Lynch looks set to direct all nine episodes of this limited run, so that should help, and the early signs of subtle references to the show already are promising: the twin tweets sent by Frost and Lynch went out at the exact same time that Agent Cooper first told Diane that he entered the town Twin Peaks.
Kyle MacLachlan is on board, and that’s a pretty big box ticked, because we couldn't imagine the show without Agent Dale Cooper. As for the rest of the cast? Well, they've been busy over the past few years, but will they be willing to come back to a chapter of their lives that is firmly in the past?
Better fire up that percolator and find my black suit :-) #Twinpeaks
— Kyle MacLachlan (@Kyle_MacLachlan) October 6, 2014
Few of them have seen the level of success that the show brought since, and they may either want to keep it that way, or be less inclined to tread back over the reputation that the show has in order to do this sequel. Primarily of course, the passage of time (again, 25 years) has to be taken into account too, and unfortunately, some of those who were in the first two series are no longer with us, notably Bob (Frank Silva) and Pete (Jack Nance). While the ending of the second series might well have killed off Pete’s character, and maybe even Audrey’s too, replacing Bob is nigh on impossible. His twisted, psychotic grin was the haunting and lasting image of the show for many.
Also, there are some standout names that did appear in the show, including Heather Graham, Billy Zane and David Duchovny, will they be back too?
Bridging the time gap
According to what Showtime are saying, the the show will be set 25 years on and "will continue the lore of the original series, providing long-awaited answers for the series’ passionate fan base". That means Agent Cooper’s evil persona (possessed by Bob) has been on the loose for the last 25 years, causing what’s sure to be an untold amount of havoc. How do you bridge that gap and explain why we haven’t seen anything in between? That’s a thorny issue that’s proven to the downfall of many a sequel, and could do the same again here.
Not only that, but even though the show was set in the present day when it ran, it had the aesthetic of a 1950s purer-than-driven-snow town, where something sinister lurked. What will the modern day Twin Peaks look like? The '80s? The '50s?
How weird can they get?
The main thing that we loved about the show was that weirdness. It was unlike anything that we’d seen on TV before, or since. They perfectly struck the balance between Frost, who knew how to write for a weekly show thanks to his time on Hill Street Blues, and Lynch, who brought that outright bizarre element; it worked perfectly, at least for the first series.
This new series brings them back together for the first time, and either the magic is there, or it isn't. They need to reign each other in and push each other to the limits, but with just nine episodes and a whole load of questions to be answered from the cliffhanger they left us on, which direction will they go and how much freedom will they get?
The statement from Showtime says that the show will address those questions we had, but that's not necessarily what we really want either, we like to talk about how the show confused us, and how we had our own ideas about what was happening. That combination of weirdness and intrigue is hard to replicate, and one thing that we definitely don't need is the studio getting involved and putting pressure on the creative team to try and produce some nostalgic (read: cheesy) version of a once-great show. The danger here is that we end up with a version of Twin Peaks that tries too hard to be Twin Peaks.
Whatever the show is like, there is a guaranteed audience there, most of whom are now of an age where they've got lots of disposable income that advertisers like to target, and they are ready to watch this. A nine-episode run under Lynch’s directorial eye is certainly promising, but is also likely to leave a whole load of unanswered questions, in the same way that Fire Walk With Me did.
The risk that they run with guaranteed success of these nine episodes and a public that’s hungry for more is pressure (and money) from all sides to just keep going and give us more, more, more. That's where the first run made its biggest mistake, so have they learned their lesson? And what if it’s critically acclaimed, a huge hit and we genuinely do think more is a good thing; will they have the courage to say no?