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Twin Peaks: Why Now Is The Time For A Series Revival

Friday 4th January 2013 by Eric Diaz

This past week, rumors spread like wildfire on the internet that filmmaker David Lynch was planning a revival of his seminal  1990’s television series Twin Peaks for NBC. Strangely, the source for all these rumors ended up being from an anonymous post on 4chan (not the most reliable source, I grant you.) But couple this with recent remarks made by series co-creator Mark Frost about being open to a return to Twin Peaks, and suddenly it seemed like this might really be possible. For a few hours at least, I was elated. My favorite television series of all time, one which ended on a rather spectacular cliffhanger I might add, might finally have some kind of resolution? I was jumping for joy. Well, that elation didn’t last too long. Within hours, after being bombarded with questions by rabid fans, Mark Frost took to his twitter account and had this to say:

Dear Internet: You are very good at spreading rumors. Truth is more valuable and much harder to come by. Sincerely yours,@mfrost11

While not a complete denial, further inquiry revealed that there had been no talks at all with NBC. Basically, someone made the whole thing up. (and whoever you are, this hardcore Peaks fan would like to punch you in the face for getting my hopes up like that. Jerk.) One of the first alarm bells that this story might be bogus was that Lynch was said to be talking with NBC executives about bringing back the show. Now, NBC is maybe the least likely place for Twin Peaks to make a comeback, despite the fact that the series is now showing on Hulu, which is partially owned by NBC. The show originally aired on ABC, and they had all kinds of problems with network interference back then. It is hard to imagine Lynch and Frost going to a broadcast network first in this day and age.

Twin Peaks was ultimately not the forerunner of any big changes in network television as many predicted it would be; in the twenty-odd years since it went off the air, the kind of dense, multi-layered storytelling has become a staple of cable television instead. Everything from The Sopranos to Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Wire, Boardwalk Empire, Dexter and even genre shows like True Blood and Battlestar Galactica can be called the spiritual children of Twin Peaks. And lets not even talk about The Killing. Meanwhile, as cable television has become more and more interesting and daring, network television has gotten dumber; lots more reality shows and sitcoms, and less serialized and compelling dramas and more “one and done” procedurals about lawyers and doctors. (there are always outliers, like Lost, but they are very few and far between) So if Twin Peaks were to come back to television in some form, it would almost certainly be on a cable network, or possibly as a straight-to- Netflix series like the soon-to-be resurrected Arrested Development, and not on broadcast. And the next couple of years would be the perfect time to make this finally happen, and here is why:

“I’ll See You Again In 25 Years”

The show’s most famous moment is perhaps the dream sequence from episode three, where an older FBI Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) is shown in a room with red drapes, with a backwards-talking dwarf and the spirit of dead homecoming queen Laura Palmer, whose murder he has come to town to investigate. Even if you’ve never seen the show, you probably have come across this sequence, if only being referenced somewhere else like The Simpsons. The episode states that the events of the dream occurred “25 years later.” In the final episode of the series (uh, SPOILERS I guess) Dale Cooper is trapped in the other worldly realm known as the Black Lodge (which looks like the very same red room from the dream) for what he is told will be twenty-five years. While the series ended in 1991, making the twenty-five years later fall on 2016, the actual events of the series take place over the course of just over a month, from February to March 1989…which actually makes 2014 the right time for the whole “twenty-five years later” business to actually take place.

And so, here we are, only a year away from the date that the series set forth. In a recent interview with Sci-Fi Now magazine (via Moviehole) series co-creator Mark Frost seems to at least be optimistic to the possibility of more Peaks, saying  “Who knows what will happen in the future.” Apparently, bringing the show back is “something we talk about from time to time. If we ever do decide to move forward, I know we have a rich trove to draw from.” Series writer/producer Robert Engels has made similar comments in recent years as well; “I get a call once every six months or so from someone asking, ‘What do you think about doing Twin Peaks again?’ but it’s not my call. If David and Mark are in, then yes.” So while the whole NBC rebooting Twin Peaks story might have been bogus, it seems that maybe…maybe…something is finally going on. This isn’t the first time a rumor like this has popped up in the past few years, and as they say, where there is smoke there is usually fire.

The one big monkey wrench in any plan to bring back Twin Peaks has always been series co-creator David Lynch. Despite speaking fondly of the show in almost every interview, he seems to resist the idea of returning just as much. Much of this is said to be because of the way the public and critics reacted to his theatrical prequel film, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me when it came out in 1992. Many fans hated it, critics were mostly harsh, and according to many, Lynch took all of this very personally. He scrapped any and all plans for further films set in that world, despite the fact that series ended with multiple cliffhangers that were meant to propel the series to a third season’s worth of stories. But the truth is, none of Lynch’s films since have made much more money than Fire Walk With Me did. His biggest success was 2001’s Mulholland Drive, which made only $7 million at the box office, only two million more than Fire Walk With Me, and that’s with a host of Oscar nominations to its name. His last film Inland Empire was hard to watch for even the most hardcore Lynch fan, and made less than a million in theaters. So it can’t be that he’s still butthurt over the reaction to the Fire Walk With Me, especially considering that the cult following for the film has only grown with time.

Artwork done by artist Matt Haley for a proposed Twin Peaks graphic novel that David Lynch had nixed.

Nevertheless, David Lynch has put a stop to any and all attempts at any Twin Peaks continuations over the past twenty years. In the early 2000’s, a company called Phoenix Media was seeking to finance a new set of Twin Peaks films called Twin Peaks: With a Thousand Angels, only to have no cooperation from Lynch and Frost, therefore nipping that one in the bud. And when the complete series came out on DVD in 2007, a comic book artist named Matt Haley proposed a graphic novel conclusion to the series, based on story notes for a proposed third season from original series writer Robert Engels. He even got Engels to agree to write the graphic novel himself, which would have been included with the DVD set. Series composer Angelo Badalamenti was even going to make a soundtrack to the graphic novel, and Mark Frost gave his blessing as well. All his ducks were in a row, until David Lynch put a stop to the whole thing. All of this just means David Lynch is either really mean and hates his fans and simply refuses to throw them any kind of a bone….or, he has plans of his own for Twin Peaks. And I’m starting to think it may really be the latter.

 The Stars Are All Aligned For This To Happen Now

On the series, it was explained that the doors to the mystical Black and White Lodges could only be opened when certain planets and stars were aligned. Well, right now it seems all the right stars are aligned for a Twin Peaks revival to happen. And here are just some of the reasons why I think this should happen sooner rather than later.

The Major Players Are All Still Around

Some twenty-three years since the show premiered, most of the major creative players of the series are not only alive and kicking, but still viable and working. David Lynch hasn’t directed a film since 2006’s Inland Empire, but he continues to work making music and painting, with the occasional commercial here and there. Mark Frost has just started a series of young adult novels called The Paladin Prophecies, and more recently wrote the two Fantastic Four movies (but try not to hold that against him.) Angelo Badalamenti, whose iconic score is such a vital ingredient to the show’s sucess is also still scoring movies at the age of seventy-five. And Kyle MacLachlan is still acting, most recently in the show Portlandia. The other stars of the series are almost all also still around too, with a few notable exceptions, and have expressed interest in coming back. It seems everyone is just waiting for that phone call from Mr.Lynch.

Given the enduring global popularity of Twin Peaks, especially in Japan and Europe, a revival stands to make more money for David Lynch than another perfume commercial. So stop being a grumpy old man David, and give the fans what they want. If you do, I’ll even pay money to see Inland Empire 2, and promise not to kill myself during the movie.

The Real Town Itself Hasn’t Changed Much

In the series, the town of Twin Peaks was seemingly frozen in time. While the show was set in 1989, the way the town appeared (and the way some characters dressed) was straight out of 1950’s Norman Rockwell America, as if time had left the town of Twin Peaks far behind. Ironically, some twenty-four years since the pilot for the series was shot, the town of Snoqualmie Falls in Washington state (where all the exteriors were shot) looks almost exactly the same, as if time really has been frozen all these years, at least for all the major locations used for the series. It’s almost like the town is begging for Lynch and Frost to come back and shoot some more, and left all the major sets still standing just in case. Many before and after pics of the series’ main locations can be found over in the great website InTwinPeaks.com, so one can see for themselves.

(ABOVE) The Double R Diner, in reality Twede’s Cafe, as it appeared in the pilot episode of Twin Peaks (BELOW) The same diner today. Not much has changed.

 Twin Peaks’ Reputation Has Only Grown  With Time

In the years since Twin Peaks went off the air, its reputation as one of the most influential shows has only grown. The series’ availability on DVD and on Netflix has made it so the show could be discovered by a whole new generation of fans, many of whom would be eager to see more. At the show’s 20th Anniversary art exhibit a couple of years back, I was shocked at how many younger fans the show had, many who could not have been around when the show first aired. In fact, one fan named Joe Powers, who re-discovered the show on Netflix Instant Watch, has started a campaign to Bring Back Twin Peaks, and has received a fair amount of publicity doing so, especially in recent days.

If David Lynch and Mark Frost wait too much longer, the essential ingredients for a return to the world of Twin Peaks won’t be around anymore. Now is the time to reward loyal fans and pay off long standing plot threads, and remind everyone out there just who is responsible for the modern cable television landscape. The reaction online to news that there would be more Peaks caused a minor uproar…. now imagine if all that excitement were for something that was actually happening. So Misters Lynch and Frost…it us now up to you to make it happen.

  • Great article. Thanks for getting the dates right. We figure 25 years later would be 3/25/14.

  • JS

    Great article, but you neglected to mention Kyle MacLachlan’s mention of a wish for short webisodes, which blew up on the internet as “GOING TO HAPPEN!” which he soon retracted.