Twin Peaks: What’s So Special About a Show from 1990?February 15, 2016
“I’ll see you again in 25 years.” These famous last words left a generation of David Lynch fans wondering if the groundbreaking series of the early ‘90s would indeed return. Well, this is no longer a “blue rose case” (strange and unsolved, in the show’s lingo) as Showtime announces Twin Peaks will return to television for a 9-episode mini season and possibly more, in early 2017. This follows on the heels of The X-Files doing a similarly brilliant move in early 2016 to much success. It seems people can’t get enough of the strange and paranormal.
Twin Peaks has been hailed as the beginning of modern television, paving the way to strange and quirky series on both network and cable television. It was broadcasted in 1990 and 1991 and achieved ratings of up to 34.6 million viewers –a success that even current shows would envy. Its prequel movie also did rather well, with $4.16 million when it came out in 1992. The series was a murder mystery set in a small fictional town in Washington – but so much more.
Twin Peaks brought the reality that movie directors could make magic on television, and directors like Martin Scorsese and Steven Soderbergh followed right behind David Lynch. Twin Peaks gave television permission to be weird and a little off and created an avid viewership hungry for shows like The X-Files and True Detective. I’m sure, if you have never experienced it, you’re wondering what was so interesting about it.
Between Black and White
Glad you asked. One of the many things that made Twin Peaks so unique was its use of symbolism and the supernatural, which sent viewers theorizing and researching. There was the Black Lodge and the White Lodge, each with obvious symbolism, and between them was the Red Waiting Room. The Black Lodge exists in another dimension and those who visit it, whether in dreams or through one of the portals often are corrupted by its influence, if only briefly. The key to enter the Black Lodge is fear, and it is full of the evil counterparts (doppelgangers) to characters’ personalities. The White Lodge is not seen as much and one is never sure if it exists or if it is an extension of Major Briggs’ personality. Confused? There’s more, and it’s equally brilliant.
One Eyed Jack’s is an underground casino just across the Canadian border. It is pivotal to the story line of Twin Peaks, as Laura Palmer, the woman whose murder Agent Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) is trying to solve, who worked there. It is a place where everyone can pretend they are someone else, and everyone does. Every single person trying to solve the mystery of Laura Palmer visits the casino at least once. It is a fairly successful business for Ben Horne, the owner, complete with one roulette table, one craps table, two blackjack tables and three slot machines. Will it be skill or chance that uncovers the clues?
Agent Cooper borrows $10,000 from the FBI to go undercover for information and ends up at the craps table. Craps has historically symbolized the “casting of the die.” Dice games have been around for thousands of years and have always been likened to mankind’s obsession with chaos and unpredictability. Characters take chances going to the casino, but are they gambling chances or are they often putting themselves in real danger, such as when Audrey disguises herself as the lucky Queen of Hearts to work there and uncover information about the case?
Wood and Roses
Since the announcement of the revival, there has been almost as much buzz within the fan base as there was when Star Wars: The Force Awakens was announced. Will the new shows be worth the wait? What will change and what will be the same? Supposedly, the series will actually take place in present day, 25 years after Laura Palmer’s last promise. But what about our favorite characters?
Sadly, one of the heroines of Twin Peaks has already gone to the great beyond. The wood-totting psychic, Margaret Lanterman, was already well into her 50s when she took part in the iconic series. The actress Catherine Coulson passed away last year. She was the one of the true steadfast guides in the series, constantly carrying a log and claiming it did not judge. Will the character return with a new actress or will there be a story explaining her absence? So far, all details around the filming of the mini series are tight lipped and we can only guess.
Will the strange and now solved “Blue Rose Case” of Laura Palmer’s death still be the central topic or will the strange Washington town of Twin Peaks have yet another incident to draw our attention back to the preternatural city? Will the ring in the middle of the forest still lead characters to the Black Lodge or the Red Room? Will the Bookhouse Boys still be doing good 25 years later? Will Killer Bob and one-armed Mike return or will we have a host of new evil spirits to torment the main characters?
The Show Must Go On
One of the exciting factors to consider is that the series will air on Showtime this time around, allowing it much more freedom than network television would have allowed. Showtime was the obvious choice as the original executive that oversaw the production, Gary Levine, now heads new programming at Showtime. It seems Showtime has even agreed to re-air all the original episodes from 1990-91 prior to premiering the new series.
With any luck, the show will catch fire once more and the series will assume the gigantic fan base of The X-Files and Lost, both of whom follow the unusual format of Twin Peaks and both of which had a tremendously long run and not the best series finale. Not so with this series, as David Lynch has always held the audience right through to the credits with hits like Blue Velvet and Wild at Heart, even if folks walked away scratching their heads. Of course, Lynch was also responsible for the widely acclaimed The Elephant Man and Dune, which made the equivalent of today’s $78 million in the box office in 1984.
Either way, we won’t find out much more about the new Twin Peaks until 2017. While early announcements touted 2016 as the year we throw down the chips at One Eyed Jack’s again, it seems we are to be held in the Red Room until early next year. Either way, Lynch is always worth the wait.