It was on this day (April 8, 1990) that David Lynch and Mark Frost’s serial drama about a sleepy town called Twin Peaks first aired on ABC. Lasting two seasons, the series followed FBI Agent Cooper on the trail of a serial murderer whose latest victim, Laura Palmer, brings him to Twin Peaks. As Palmer’s investigation progresses, more and more of the town’s seedy underbelly is exposed—everyone has secrets to hide. In fact, one of the ongoing motifs of the show is the concept of a “second self” as may characters turn out to lead double lives, which is even reflected in the show’s title.
Strange, wonderful and oftentimes surreal, the show fueled these qualities with an eccentric cast of characters whose personalities ranged from comically quaint to downright devious. Otherworldly spirits, cryptic clues, extra-dimensional realms, psychic logs and evil doppelgängers all add to the show’s unsettling atmosphere of mystery and intrigue.
Despite a strong following and positive reviews during it’s first season, Twin Peaks was shuffled around from time slot to time slot which ultimately led to declining ratings. Pressure from the network and co-creator Mark Frost forced the reveal of Laura Palmer’s killer to spark better ratings, but with that plot thread gone interest waned and ABC decided to put Twin Peaks on hiatus, leading to the eventual cancellation of the series.
Thanks to the show’s stellar cinematography, unique sound design and captivating story-telling, however, its influence lives on in many other TV shows, books, video games and dedicated fan projects like Twin Peaks Illustrated—a passion project by French graphic designer Martin Woutisseth that “introduces the viewer to the town of Twin Peaks and its residents by going from one place to another place.”
In October 2014 it was confirmed that Lynch and Frost would be returning to Twin Peaks for a limited series on Showtime, continuing the story where it left off with many of the original cast members returning. While it’s been reported that the scripts are finished and preproduction is underway for a 2016 premiere, it seems that due to unresolved contract negotiations
Lynch may leave the project. No official word has been given, though, so let’s hope that doesn’t happen. In a disappointing development, it has been confirmed that Lynch has officially left the project.
If you’re one of those who hasn’t yet experienced a trip to Twin Peaks, seek this show out now. Seriously—rent it, catch it on Netflix, whatever—just watch it.