The bizarre and exasperating series that shook up the zeitgeist more than a half century ago is suddenly back with an 18 hour return, on Showtime. It picks up in real time 25 years later with many of the same characters.
There have been few hints at what’s coming — such as a long list of cast members. But the idea that the entire thing will be directed by auteur and noted weirdo David Lynch, 70, who created it with Mark Frost, is raising anticipation from nostalgic older fans and younger fans who have discovered the iconic series on streaming services.
Showtime chief David Nevins calls it “the pure heroin version David Lynch.”
Still, the network had typically nothing to reveal in a panel to promote the show, which starts May 21. Even at a panel at the TV Critics Association winter press tour with original cast members Kyle MacLachlan, Madchen Amick and Kimmy Robertson and Robert Forster — as well as addition Laura Dern — they could really say nothing.
But there was also a surprise when they trotted out Lynch himself to take questions — take questions but not necessarily give answers. In the spirit of the series, I guess.
But ask how he and Frost work together, he says this:
Well, in the beginning, many years ago, we were, Mark and I, as if lost in the wilderness, as it always is in the beginning, and then we seemed to find some mountain, and we begin to climb, and when we rounded the mountain, we entered a deep forest, and going through the forest for a time, the trees began to thin. And when we came out of the woods, we discovered this small town called Twin Peaks. And we got to know many of the people in Twin Peaks, and the people who visited Twin Peaks, and we discovered a mystery, and within this mystery were many other mysteries. And we discovered a world, and within this world, there were other worlds, and that’s how it started, and that’s what brought us here today. This story continues.”
Though Lynch went on to direct films from “Mulholland Drive” to “Lost Highway,” he kept thinking about “Twin Peaks” since it went off the air in 1991.
“I love this world of ‘Twin Peaks,’” he said. “And I often thought about what might be happening. I often just remembered the beautiful world and the beautiful characters.
“I’ll tell you what I loved,” he said at another point. “The pilot of ‘Twin Peaks.’ That, for me, set the tone and made the world and the characters for me. That started the thing, and I felt really good about that mood and that story, those characters. Just fell in love, deep, deep love.
He had no intention of changing TV at the time.
“I saw it as a film, and I shoot it the same way. But it happened to be with these characters in this town with this mood with these sounds, with Angelo Badalamenti’s music. And lo and behold, it clicked, but I didn’t really know about television,” Lynch said. “We just were telling the story.”
When someone mentions Nevins’ quote about the “pure heroin version of David Lynch” quote, he says simply: “I hear heroin is a very popular drug these days.”
He did say, however that what killed “Twin Peaks” originally, was when the network wanted to stress the murder aspect.
“‘Who Killed Laura Palmer?’ was a question that we did not ever really want to answer,” Lynch said. “And that Laura Palmer mystery was the goose that laid these little golden eggs. And then at a certain point, we were told we needed to wrap that up. And it never really got going again after that.”
Along those lines, he revealed that the new “Twin Peaks” will be “the story of Laura Palmer’s last seven days,” a fact that is “very much important for this.”
Going back to the Northwest U.S. to shoot the show was, he said, back to the enigmas, “both the same and different.
“If you go back 25 years in any town and revisit it again, it’s that way,” he said. “It’s many things remain the same. But also, you feel a change.”
Moving the story from broadcast TV to premium cable allowed him further freedom. “It’s a very beautiful time now for cable television,” Lynch said. “And the idea of a continuing story is something I’ve always loved. Going into a world and seeing what happens, see how it pulls you in this way or that, ideas come along the way. It’s so beautiful and exciting.”
Lynch said he didn’t know what people expect from the continuation of the story (“I don’t go out much”).
“This word “expect” is a magical word,” he said in his reverie. “People expect things, and their expectations are met, hopefully, when they see the thing.”
When the time for Lynch was over, and reporters’ heads were still spinning, the actors took their seats and reflected on Lynch’s appearance.
MacLachlan says, “You guys got a lot.”