Twin Peaks was a turning point for television. First broadcast in 1990, it was one of the first shows to completely embrace the surreal and it has influenced countless series, from The Sopranos to The X-Files. So when David Lynch, the show’s co-creator and director, infamous in his own right for his otherworldly filmography, announced in 2014 that another series would be produced, fans and critics alike were both shocked and exuberant. But does the new series live up to the immense success of the first series?
The appeal of Twin Peaks is that it leaves many answers open to the audience’s imagination, so every person watching will interpret the series in a completely different way. Whether you will like the new series depends on what attracted you to Twin Peaks in the first place- if you loved its quirky fashion, jazzy soundtrack and eccentric characters, you might be somewhat disappointed. The new series is a nightmarish vision of the original, unforgiving and at times, hard to watch, typical of Lynch’s other work. The catchy music has been replaced with an unsettlingly tense and minimalistic soundtrack, though the much-loved opening theme has stayed the same. New characters are also introduced, giving the series an essential reinvigoration. Though it is impossible to judge an entire series on its first two episodes, it is clear that the show is going in a much darker direction.
Lynch directed some of the creepiest episodes of the original series, such as the episode which revealed who killed Laura Palmer and the erratic series finale. The new series is definitely reminiscent of these darker episodes, as well as the 1992 film Fire Walk With Me, which acted as a prequel to the series. Fans of Lynch’s other work such as Mulholland Drive will relish in the disturbing and violent themes that were not explored so explicitly in the original series. However, the new series lacks the kitsch charms of the original, which relied heavily on the loveable and enigmatic Dale Cooper, the FBI agent investigating Laura Palmer’s murder. The original series ends with Cooper stuck in the Black Lodge, the iconic and eerie red room which has been shrouded in mystery and debate since the series halted in 1991. The new series confirms Cooper’s fate which will undoubtedly horrify fans who adored his endearing personality and charisma.
The new series will not please everyone- it would be impossible to do so. However, it is important to remember that the appeal of Twin Peaks was rooted in its refusal to conform to audience expectation or genre convention. If Lynch was concerned with gaining audience’s approval, the show would not be what it is today.
Twin Peaks: The Return can be streamed in the U.K on Now TV– if you’re not a member, you can start a 14 day free trial or buy an entertainment pass which is currently £6.99 for two months.