The Fate of David Lynch’s Third Season
In October, David Lynch aficionados and knitwear devotees everywhere rejoiced as Showtime announced its plan to revive the beloved cult hit Twin Peaks for a third season. Despite co-creator and director David Lynch’s staunch refusal to do so in the past, he has signed on to direct all nine episodes of the new season. Series creator Mark Frost has also signed on to write and produce each episode. Several of the show’s original actors have confirmed that they would be reprising their roles, including the Kyle MacLachlan as the much-loved Special Agent Dale Cooper, as well as Madchen Amick as Shelley Johnson. They are scheduled to start filming in early 2015 with the show airing on Showtime in 2016.
The third season will take place in the present day exactly 25 years after the point at which the second season left off. This has fans speculating whether they will finally receive answers to the questions they have had for 25 years, or whether Frost and Lynch will keep them waiting even longer. The fervor that persists in the Twin Peaks fan base is what makes the show a good bet for Showtime, but one has to wonder whether Lynch will be able to produce something that can withstand the weight of a quarter century’s worth of expectations. Whenever a film or television series is remade or revitalized, comparison to the original is inevitable. Twin Peaks fans have had decades to allow their expectations for a remake to build, and some will undoubtedly find problems with the new season no matter how flawlessly Lynch and Frost manage to execute it.
Nowadays there are endless tributes to the show scattered throughout popular culture. The band Bastille has a song called “Laura Palmer” and Tigers Jaw used the “Welcome to Twin Peaks” sign as a logo on their band shirts in 2012. If you so desire, you can purchase tickets online to the Twin Peaks Festival in North Bend, Washington to see where the show was filmed.
Part of what makes Twin Peaks so special is contemporary culture’s inability to replicate it in the first place. The eerie, secluded allure of the Pacific Northwest, coupled with a haunting jazz soundtrack, created an aesthetic all its own. As a writer, Frost allowed the first season to be propelled by a singular question: “Who killed Laura Palmer?” using it as a touchstone within the plot whenever the owls were not what they seemed. Every aspect of the show works together so seamlessly, from the cinematography to the knit wear-laden wardrobes, that it seems nearly impossible to recreate.
When Twin Peaks went off the air in 1992, no new sub-genre of art house crime drama sprang up to capitalize on its cult following. So the fact that there is little basis for comparison between Twin Peaks and other shows (Netflix suggests that X-Files and American Horror Story are similar) allowed it to evolve into a cultural powerhouse. Is it possible for David Lynch and Mark Frost to recreate the highly aestheticized atmosphere in which the show thrived?
Both Lynch and Frost report being excited to revitalize the project, telling deadline.com, “The mysterious and special world of Twin Peaks is pulling us back. We’re very excited. May the forest be with you.” The enthusiasm of the two is echoed by returning character actors as well. MacLachlan, who plays special agent Dale Cooper, hinted at his return, tweeting, “Better fire up that percolator and find my black suit :-).” Hoards of fans also took to social media to express their excitement. Breaking Bad actor Aaron Paul tweeted, “Twin Peaks is back!” New York Magazine even compiled a comprehensive list of all 117 sweaters seen on the show.
In the end, the level of enthusiasm and love that popular culture has had for Twin Peaks over the past 25 years, rather than the quality of the new season itself, may be what makes the show a cultural touchstone again. There are bound to be critics, but even they cannot resist finally returning to Twin Peaks.