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TWIN PEAKS


Ron Reed
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I'm one of the writers featured in the conversation Andrew linked above, on Fire Walk with Me. I've followed up that discussion by designating June as "David Lynch Month" on my own blog: each Monday I publish an in-depth post on Lynch & his work, with much focus on Twin Peaks. You can check it out on my blog Lost In The Movies: http://thedancingimage.blogspot.com.

My latest posts are a video essay examining the evolution of Lynch's treatment of abuse and evil in his first 6 films & TV show, and (from last week) a round-up called "Gone Fishin'" which collects 125 excerpts from Twin Peaks commentary in order to examine how and why the show lost its popularity. As mentioned in the Fire Walk with Me conversation, I think it had a lot to do with Lynch's re-emphasis on what Laura Palmer actually went through, instead of just using her as an alluring hook into an entertaining world.

Each week I propose a question to readers, to get a discussion going, so check the pieces out and jump right in!

Edited by JoelBocko
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According to Deadline's Nellie Andreeva, it will be a 9-episode series set in the present day, with Lynch directing each episode and producing and writing them with Frost.

 

It is impossible to replicate typographically the noise I just made.

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it will be a 9-episode series set in the present day, with Lynch directing each episode and producing and writing them with Frost.

 

It is impossible to replicate typographically the noise I just made.

 

 

It is like a cross between an "mmm" and a "whoah" but in a font that doesn't currently exist.

 

The response must be made through physical gestures, only interpretable by the finest detective.

Edited by M. Leary

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

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In the "Gone Girl" thread, Ryan asks when, precisely, everyone decided Fincher is a great director.

 

Looking at the reaction to the Twin Peaks revival, I'd like to know when, exactly, everyone became a big fan of this show. The A&F crowd has always been partial to it, but those of us who watched every episode of the show during its original run (was it just me?) know that the audience quickly dwindled from its premiere (can't remember how many tuned in to the debut) to low-rated weekend drama (it originally aired on low-rated Saturday nights, in an attempt by ABC to revive weekend-night viewing of original content) to Thursday(?)-night also ran against NBC's comedy block. Or was it another weeknight?

 

Anyway, my point is that the show was very low-rated, especially by the time it wrapped.

 

I know it's gained stature over the years on video, but I've always wondered just how broad-based that revival has been. Is it just among the core Lynch fans who tired of it too early but then revisited it and found more to like? I notice that the revival isn't being picked up by a major network, but rather by a cable channel. Even understanding that cable shows these days routinely beat major-network programming, this still feels like a niche play to a narrow audience that obviously consists of excitable people (hey, I'm including myself here!).

 

Do others think this has the makings of a widely watched program? Should we even care? I don't -- I'm happy for any show that appeals to me, even if the public rejects it. But I'm curious about others' expectations. Do you sense that Showtime thinks it has struck viewership gold with this revival?

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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I first came into contact with the show about 7 years ago as a recent college grad. All that I'd seen of Lynch up to that point (Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive, Eraserhead), I'd found intense, entrancing, but also exhausting. Watching Twin Peaks for the first time felt like the perfect balance of humor, melodrama, scares, and weirdness. Lynch found a sweet spot when he forced his sensibilities into the TV medium. 

 

I'm an uber fan-boy at this point. I've rewatched the series several times, and it's the first TV show I recommend to anyone I think who can stand it. I even forced my wife to watch it (she doesn't like scary shows) with me when we were engaged and spending several months teaching English to Nicaragua public school children. She loved it, she hated it, but she stuck with it, probably to appease me. It was the only DVD I brought from home. 

 

All this to say, I was floored to receive this news. Probably best news I've received in terms of my film/TV interests in a long, long time. 

Edited by TBeane
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Looking at the reaction to the Twin Peaks revival, I'd like to know when, exactly, everyone became a big fan of this show. 

 

 

Here is a really interesting Newsweek piece on this question from 1990.

 

It rated highly at the beginning (right behind Cheers and Cosby Show), and then dropped really low throughout the season. But then found this factoid here: "Based on overall viewers, Twin Peaks (cancelled after 2 seasons) and Freaks and Geeks (cancelled after 17 episodes) would be top 25 shows today. Freaks and Geeks would be a top 30 show. Arrested Development, even in its last season, received about a million more viewers per week than Community does today."

 

I first caught the show during its Bravo run, and subsequent reruns. Since I was a bit too young to see the show in 1990, it was my first exposure after hearing about it in various pop culture references since then. This is very anecdotal, but most Gen-Xers or very old Millenials I know that are fans of the show caught it during its Bravo runs (which started in 1993, and then cycled in reruns for a while) or through the 1995 VHS set that came out. Badalamenti's score was also pretty popular at the time, as was Julee Cruise's album that included the track "Falling."

 

So the when question is hard to nail down. But I think there are three "stages of discovery." Those who appreciated the show at first (which are very few). Those who latched onto the Bravo reruns. Those who tracked down the VHS tapes or DVDs to see it for themselves later.

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

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Re: Christian, another thing to remember is that Twin Peaks hits the sweet spot for people who work in media, so the buzz around it will always be somewhat disproportionate to the breadth of viewership. Likewise, those who do watch Twin Peaks seem far more passionate about it than, say, fans of The Big Bang Theory so you're dealing with a matter of quality over quantity of devotion. With those two factors in mind, Twin Peaks is and was generally more newsworthy than many more popular show, hence the extent of coverage. Which isn't to say its popular appeal was just a chimera, however short-lived. The pilot garnered around 33 million viewers and was, I think, the highest-ranked TV movie of the season. That's more people in one night than have seen any David Lynch film in its entire theatrical run.

Obviously the new series won't hit numbers like that, and while I don't know the TV business well, I'm guessing it would be lucky to reach the ratings that got the original show cancelled back in 1990 (the bar is much lower today). But expect a lot of press, as David Lynch returning to TV makes a great story. And that, in turn, will generate more interest as it has already, so it may end up being a self-fulfilling prophecy.

As for airing on a network vs. Showtime, even if a network offer was on the table, Lynch & Frost wouldn't take it. 1) They've been badly burned (4 out of 4 times in Lynch's case), 2) They want no restrictions on content, 3) Cable is where the action is, where critics and viewers go to look for quality, buzzworthy shows. I don't thnk there was ever really a question that if Twin Peaks came back it would not be on network TV. It isn't just a matter of networks not wanting Lynch/Frost, Lynch/Frost wouldn't want them.

Edited by JoelBocko
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Looking at the reaction to the Twin Peaks revival, I'd like to know when, exactly, everyone became a big fan of this show.

Here is a really interesting Newsweek piece on this question from 1990.

Great reference. Among other things it reminds us that contrary to popular belief nowadays the show did not fall in ratings because it answered the question of who killed Laura Palmer. It's ratings dropped when viewers thought it wouldn't. (Of course ratings fell even further once the question was answered; it was damned if you do, damned if you don't). The Saturday night schedule hurt too, but that doesn't explain columnists and commentators turning on the show.

The most fascinating part of the phenomenon to me is that critics and viewers began criticizing the show as a meaningless prank on the audience precisely at the moment it was growing more serious. I guess people loved feeling like they were in on the joke, and when it stopped being a joke, they took that to mean they weren't getting the joke anymore and grew impatient. I mean, for example, the absolutely brutal flashback in the season 2 premiere was interpreted by TV critics as an elaborate leg-pull in which Kiler Bob was giving Laura CPR. Not making this up!

The supernatural elements, while playing a part in ensuring the show's long-term cult legacy, also alienated many mainstream viewers of the show. The funny thing about the complaints of "weirdness for weirdness' sake" is that this complaint coincided with the show becoming weirder and weirder for a very specific purpose: exposing the dark and painful secret at the heart of Laura's murder.

Edited by JoelBocko
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Looking at the reaction to the Twin Peaks revival, I'd like to know when, exactly, everyone became a big fan of this show. 

 

I became a big fan when the pilot episode aired for the first time, and I never missed an episode all the way through. Yeah, the writing falls apart after Season 2, but the series finale makes all of the suffering and eye-rolling and exasperation of those disappointing seasons pay off in a big way, and the FWWM left me dreaming of the day Lynch and Frost would return to the property and fulfill all of the unfulfilled potential. 

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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