It has been over a quarter of a century since the story of a small town in the Pacific Northwest would change the television landscape forever.
When it premiered on the ABC network, David Lynch and Mark Frost's Twin Peaks left an indelible mark on the landscape of popular culture. Arguably, the show paved the way for the concept of ‘prestige TV’ that rules popular culture these days.
The incredible cast, haunting score by Angelo Badalamenti, and off-kilter, bleak humour - typical of Lynch’s unique style - created a show that transcended the limitations of television at the time. What's more, the mystery of identifying the killer of popular girl Laura Palmer (her body found wrapped in plastic), had the globe on tenterhooks for the entire first season.
Kyle McLachlan as the caffeine-addicted and pie-obsessed FBI agent Dale Cooper, sent to investigate Palmer’s death remains one of the most iconic characters in the history of the medium. What other Special Agent at the time would try and solve a murder case using dream interpretation?
After only two seasons, the show was cancelled in 1991. The perceived dip in quality after the second season was partly to do with the audience disliking how the Palmer murder case was solved (the show promptly lost its crucial ‘watercooler’ aspect), and the stifling of Lynch and Frost’s creative control. Despite this, the show continued to inspire other creators, gain a devoted cult following, and find new fans year-on-year. Watching it today, it's as brilliant and bonkers as ever.
The desire for a reboot has been stoked consistently in the years following the cancellation - big screen prequel Fire Walk With Me (1992) disappointed at the time, but remains a dark, confounding masterpiece. It was only in 2014 that US cable network Showtime, Lynch and Frost came to an agreement about a new season, with Lynch (who only directed the pilot for the original run) helming the entire series. After a few hiccups and threats to pull the idea altogether, fans were delighted to recently get a confirmed release date of May 2017 - Sky Atlantic will be screening it round these parts.
Pour us a damn fine cup of coffee. Twin Peaks is back with a simulcast, Monday 22 May at 2am, repeated Tuesday 23 May at 9pm. pic.twitter.com/yoPzp1tzp1— Sky Atlantic (@skyatlantic) January 10, 2017
What do we know? That the new season will be set in the present day, and the passage of that time will be a crucial plot device, according to Lynch. Badalamenti will be back on board, scoring all 18 episodes, which Lynch shot as one continuous movie.
The premiere episode will be two hours long, with episodes then being broadcast weekly on Showtime and Sky Atlantic. Although this might seem like bad news, especially if you’re a binge watcher, it can be argued that it will be a more fun viewing experience, anticipating new episodes as the mystery unfolds.
Plenty of the original cast are taking part, including McLachlan, Sherilyn Fenn as the doe-eyed Audrey Horne, Madchen Amick as waitress Shelly Johnson, Dana Ashbrook as the troublesome Bobby Briggs, and Peggy Lipton as manager of the RR Diner, Norma Jennings. Peaks favourite Catherine E. Coulson, aka The Log Lady, filmed several episodes of the new series before her passing in 2015.
As well as some familiar faces, the list of confirmed celebrity appearances is sprawling, and suitably eclectic. Although the specifics of their roles have yet to be revealed, expect to see Monica Bellucci, Sky Ferreira, Michael Cera, Trent Reznor and Eddie Vedder. Lynch’s frequent collaborators Laura Dern and Naomi Watts are also involved in some capacity.
The general air of mystery around the plot of the new season, and the parts the new cast members will play, is adding to the excitement of fans around the world. Forums are already lighting up with possible theories and intricate plot hypotheses.
Lynch, whose last directorial work was 2006’s Inland Empire, is a master of creeping unease, creating works that are both cinematically beautiful and thematically dense, from Eraserhead (1977) to Blue Velvet (1986) to Wild At Heart (1990) he remains a true original, and his refusal to explain his creations make them all the more thrilling. It’s exciting to see him and Frost returning to this particular world, with its roadside diner, misty pine forests, locals with something sinister to hide, and damn fine coffee.