After a month-long deadlock over budget for the third season of Twin Peaks, co-creator David Lynch has announced he will now be returning to direct the nine-episode sequel. It will be produced in 2015 and premiered in 2016. However, in all this disagreement and upheaval, it has almost been overlooked that the classic cult show celebrates its 25th birthday this year.
The American show, which follows the murder of homecoming queen Laura Palmer in the sleepy Washington town of Twin Peaks, and the subsequent investigation led by Kyle Mclachlan’s wonderfully whimsical Special Agent Dale Cooper, gripped audiences from the outset. In its short run - just two seasons - it redefined serialised TV drama, leaving an unprecedented legacy in its wake.
We only see Palmer in flashbacks and dream sequences, but her presence permeates the town. An angelic daughter of the community, we find out that Palmer was also a troubled cocaine addict working as a prostitute at a seedy casino. Her character embodies the unsettling duality pervading all of Twin Peaks, where an idyllic suburban backdrop serves as a thin veil for the darkness lying beneath.
Part of the show’s skill lies in using this prosaic setting to place emphasis on seemingly trivial moments, aided by a colourful cast of characters: a deputy officer weeps as he takes photos of a crime scene; an eccentric widow spends much of her time attempting to communicate with a small log; Palmer’s father dances with a picture of her to stop himself from crying.
Twin Peaks was an exercise in resisting genre, being an unlikely fusion of a crime procedural, dark comedy, soap opera, and even a sci-fi horror. It was unexpectedly surreal and sometimes just plain bizarre, featuring randomly materialising horses, dream sequences involving a dwarf speaking backwards, and demonic possession.
It was everything and more, paving the way for shows as diverse as Lost, The Killing, Broadchurch and True Detective, all of which owe Lynch’s creation a giant debt. Whatever surprises the upcoming revival may throw our way, we can rest assured that 25 years on, Twin Peaks still has a firm hold on its well-deserved place in TV history.
Words: Catherine Karellis
Image Source: The Red Room scene from Twin Peaks by David Lynch