Has it really been more than 25 years since the original “Twin Peaks” debuted on TV? At that time, David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks” was celebrated as one of the most inventive and visually stunning shows on TV. It was odd and slightly creepy, yes, but it seemed to bridge the gap between TV and film in a way that was so original back in 1990.
So it was only natural that fans were a bit apprehensive about the “Twin Peaks” reboot, which recently premiered on Showtime in May 2017. Would it really be as good as the original?
The worst fear among fans, of course, was that the new “Twin Peaks” would seem tired and dated. It’s been 25 years since the murder of Laura Palmer captivated TV audiences and, since then, we’ve all moved on to bigger and better things. TV, once a wasteland of shows, is experiencing a new Golden Age. Good shows are no longer hard to find, and streaming services like Netflix continue to pump them out at a prodigious rate.
But David Lynch certainly did not let down his fans. This new “Twin Peaks” is every bit as good as the original – and perhaps, even better. At times, it almost seems like David Lynch is filling us with the nostalgia of the early 1990s, but then he breaks out of it, giving us a colder, edgier version that’s been updated for 2017. In short, Lynch hasn’t missed a beat and he’s better than ever.
Critics and fans both applauded David Lynch for his masterful work. They loved all the bizarre details, all the visual clues that don’t seem to make any sense at first, and the plot lines that can be just plain confusing at times. It is fun to watch, though, so who really cares about anything else? This show is fresh and inventive and just plain good TV.
What’s truly unique about this reboot of “Twin Peaks” is that David Lynch was able to gather together all the members of the original cast – including Kyle MacLachlan as Special Agent Dale Cooper – and transport them back to the often bizarre milieu of Twin Peaks.
It almost seems as if “Twin Peaks” never went away. In fact, Showtime describes this show as the third part of the ongoing series. There was the first season in 1990 and the second season in 1991, and now there’s the third season in 2017. All the action seems to pick up almost where we left it. This season is just Special Agent Cooper’s odyssey back to Twin Peaks, but it seems like it all happened just yesterday.
The one surreal plotline that fans can’t stop talking about is the “Cooper doppelganger.” You see, there’s the Good Cooper (who’s caught up in the Black Lodge) and then there’s the Evil Cooper (the doppelganger who’s out on the loose). And that Cooper doppelganger was been described as a “washed-up rocker from the 1980s.” When “Evil Cooper” is on screen, you are bound to watch, out of fascination of what will happen next.
Where Lynch really excels is giving a visual vocabulary to all the strange, bizarre elements we’re seeing on screen. Fans have applauded Lynch as an “auteur.” He’s clearly a master at work. In the 1990s, his work acquired an art house-type sensibility. It was great work done on a low budget. As a result, Lynch had to improvise in ways that made his work even more impressive.
What’s really surprising, in many ways, is that even with a much bigger budget than the original “Twin Peaks,” David Lynch didn’t try to do too much. He kept much of the same eerie and destabilizing feeling that we’re accompanied to from the original, and then amped it up. We see things on the screen and are not sure what to make of them, but we are assured that they are part of Lynch’s overall vision. This is a master at work.
What’s really fascinating is how David Lynch views this “Twin Peaks” reboot. As he describes it, these 18 episodes are not meant to be episodic in nature. Instead, as he points out, it’s all meant to be evocative of an 18-hour film.
For fans, that means that this “Twin Peaks” reboot works on so many different levels. It works as a wonderfully bizarre and creepy sequel to the 1990s original. It works as a standalone series for people who missed out on the original. And it works as a piece of cinematic film. Lynch, in fact, has called this new series “an 18-hour movie,” and he’s right.
It’s hard to describe this new “Twin Peaks” without using the word “eerie.” There’s something about this new season that’s disquieting, eerie and destabilizing. It goes beyond the murderous story at the core of this series: it has to do with the way that Lynch forces the viewer to perceive the action. It’s offbeat, but with a cold edge to it. It’s non-linear storytelling at its very best, and fans feel as though they are being transported into a surreal, suspenseful reality.
Without a doubt, Showtime has a hit on its hands with the “Twin Peaks” reboot. Thus far, it’s been a critical success, picking up rave reviews from TV critics. And, better yet, fans have embraced David Lynch and his remarkable vision. (This series has a remarkable 94% freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes!)
It doesn’t feel like it’s been 25 years since the old “Twin Peaks” appeared on TV. We haven’t grown out of “Twin Peaks,” we’ve grown into “Twin Peaks.” In other words, Lynch was someone who was well ahead of his time back in 1990. In the 27 years since then we’ve learned to appreciate his manner of storytelling and his visual iconography. And so the latest “Twin Peaks” reboot comes as a very much appreciated gift from a real filmmaking auteur.