Why the Return of "Twin Peaks" Is Just Sanitized Weirdness

Fans of Twin Peaks -- a group in which I have never counted myself -- are rejoicing after it was announced just days ago that the series would return for a 9-episode run on Showtime. Filming is slated to begin in 2015, with a mid-2016 air date.

In a world of reboots, revivals, remakes, retreads and reunions, I'm starting to miss retirements. I can't rule out the possibility that the new Twin Peaks might be a ratings success, but with both co-creators (David Lynch & Mark Frost) of the original series back to write, it's hard to see how. To make matters even sketchier, I gather David Lynch is currently planning on directing every episode (unlike the original series, of which he directed only the pilot episode and I believe four or five others).

It seems to me as though America has a cultural appetite for weirdness -- but usually a neutered, affected sort of weirdness; something that makes us feel we've met some kind of challenge by following it attentively, yet is easy to describe to a friend. David Lynch was well suited to meet this demand as a filmmaker, but I don't think weirdness -- even sanitized weirdness -- works in television series form. One week isn't long enough to start missing it again.

The rumor mills are just gearing up, but it looks like we'll be hearing announcements about major cast returns over the next few weeks. I can't imagine anyone at Showtime would have green lighted this without Kyle MacLachlan on board, and I wouldn't be too surprised if the creators figured out some way to reinsert Ray Wise, given his cult following. Frost has also confirmed that the setting of the show will now be 'at least partly in Twin Peaks.' There will be new story lines intertwining with previous mysteries, and fans of gratuitous weirdness (there are such things) will no doubt be enchanted.

When the series ended in 1991, there were a lot of unanswered questions. Lynch responded with the 1992 film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, which answered very little, but blew the entire plot open wide. Fans thought that meant there could be more coming soon, but in the past 25 years, Both Lynch and Frost have categorically denied having any intentions to return to the series. "It's as dead as a doornail." No such luck.

This simple announcement video was released on Monday, and at the time of writing is just about to hit a million views. I'd say there's an audience for the return of the show. Back when it premiered on network television in 1990, they had an astounding 35 million viewers. They didn't stick around long.

As was the case back then, I'll watch the pilot. And, true to form, I also expect I'll watch about ten minutes of the second episode and then change to something else and forget about it entirely.