Charlene Lydon explains why we shouldn’t be afraid to get excited about new Twin Peaks.
My gut reaction to the news that Twin Peaks is coming back to our screens was painfully panicked. I was, at first, excited, then terrified, then, for a horrible moment, thought they were talking about re-runs, then went back to panicking again.
I always get a blast of this when I hear of a remake or a sequel or a reboot of something I love. It’s the fear that the thing I love will be somehow corrupted by a poor imitation of its former iteration. It’s a valid fear. But I’m also an optimist so I choose to believe that new Twin Peaks will be great, perhaps even just as great.
There’s a well-earned trust in David Lynch’s catalogue of past treasures (filmography feels too slight a term). He is truly a great auteur and one with a distinct, singular vision in which audiences put their trust. So what if it doesn’t make sense? It isn’t supposed to! Lynch’s films wash over you in the most wonderful way. They fill you with dread and energy and delirium with every frame. The only pieces of work that incur any sort of critical wrath are Dune and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. But in this fangirl’s opinion, these films are both full of the aesthetic and psychological pleasures that Lynch always provides. In fact, since we’re on the topic of Twin Peaks, Fire Walk With Me, it managed to touch on the tragedy and horror of the incest storyline in a way that the television show never got to do. It was full of rage and sadness and the full horror of Laura Palmers sad life is really, truly confronted. Replacement Donna aside, I think it’s an excellent prequel to a wonderful series.
The worry with reboots is that the cast and crew are doing it for the money. I call it Fierce Creatures syndrome, and I happily believe that there’s a genuine affection within the show’s stars (many of them at least) for the show. All of them regularly entertain interviews about the show and attend fan conventions and so many of them contributed to the recent Blu-ray release, And truly, how could anyone who was part of that world not want to go back there? At the end of the day, Twin Peaks is such a fully realised world that without the ghost of Laura Palmer looming there’s still a wealth of wonderful stories in there and old friends (and enemies) to catch up with.
So what will the series be about? I hate to even think about it but when we last left Twin Peaks we were left with the utterly shattering image of our hero Dale Cooper inhabited by the spirit of Bob, an incarnation of all evil that lurks beneath the surface. An unpopular ending in certain circles, I always thought it was simply the most horrific conclusion imaginable for the show. Coop, the innocent, the ultimate force for good, corrupted. And with the “dot dot dot” conclusion, Coop is now frozen in time, forever corrupted with no chance of being saved. Until now.
I have no doubt that David Lynch would not have returned to the northeast passage did he not have a story to tell. Twin Peaks was always about America, its secrets, its lies, its rotten core. One must wonder if this will be the central thesis of the new Twin Peaks or if there will be a different direction. Who will be back? Who won’t be back?
The fact that the how was picked up by Showtime, one of the more liberal networks, means there will be fewer restraints regarding sex and violence. There will probably be little by way of network pressure for Lynch and Frost to conform to. But how will they react to the quarter-century that has passed and can Twin Peaks remain unique after so many excellent shows have borrowed from it? From The X Files to The Killing and Desperate Housewives and everything in between, the legacy of Twin Peaks looms large all over this so called golden-era of television. Can Twin Peaks maintain its unique quality?
I believe it can. I believe in David Lynch and Mark Frost and the world they created. So let’s be hopeful.