The Return of Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks

Laura Palmer’s plastic wrapped body had already been discovered by the time we took our seats. We were woefully underprepared for this marathon. Other fans were equipped with sleeping bags and doughnuts; we had just brought ourselves. And we were late.

We were in amongst the ‘Peakies’: the die-hard fans of Twin Peaks. For the past twenty-five years they’ve kept the flame of this cult TV series alight with back-to-back marathons, annual festivals and even David Lynch branded coffee.

Unsurprisingly, the news that Twin Peaks will be revived as a nine-episode series in 2016 has sent tremors through its loyal fanbase. The announcement appears to have split opinion, with some grateful for its return and others doubtful that it will be able to recapture the magic of the first two series.

But what about those who haven’t yet signed up to the cult of Twin Peaks? The question remains over whether David Lynch’s finest piece of avant-garde weirdness will ever gain mass appeal.

Lindsey Bowden, producer of the annual Twin Peaks UK Festival, believes it will. She argues that, “without Twin Peaks you would have no Lost, Six Feet Under, Mad Men, Eerie Indiana, all those classic dramas.”

This drama pushed weirdness into the mainstream. It unsettled the murky waters of an inconspicuous town and in doing so, gave audiences something entirely new. Critics in 1990 hailed it as “the series that will change TV”. Thankfully, they were right. The surrealism of Twin Peaks may no longer be ground breaking, but at least we’re ready to accept it.

Although for the Twin Peaks virgin, there’s a difference between embracing the weird and jumping blindfolded and ill equipped into a convoluted world of damn fine coffee and innumerable murder suspects. Without having to dedicate oneself to a back-to-back Twin Peaks marathon, it’s unclear how audiences will be prepped for a new series.

So David Lynch and Mark Frost face a quandary: how to invite newcomers into the fold whilst satisfying the signed-up members. The latter long for unconstrained Lynch weirdness. On talking of the appeal of the annual Twin Peaks UK Festival, event organiser Lindsey explains that the festival is so popular because, “people want to be engulfed in this world.”

As we entered our tenth hour of the Twin Peaks marathon, suitably called “Into The Night”, I was beginning to understand this hypnotic attraction. Like anything with a cult following, it’s the weirdness – the assault on normality and reason – that sucks you in. As long as Lynch and Frost stay faithful to this spirit the success of a comeback, for the fans at least, is assured. In the spirit of Special Agent Dale Cooper, once you’ve eaten a couple of slices of that cherry pie, it’s pretty difficult to turn down a third.