You can't really watch television right now without seeing the imprint of the original Twin Peaks
-David Hollander, Executive Producer Ray Donovan
It's hard to explain the phenomenon that was the original 2-season Twin Peaks television series. Remember the series premiered at a time (1990) when there was no public internet, no Facebook and no cable network system. The strange world of Twin Peaks won over 11+ million tv viewers. I still remember the excitement of tuning in for the next dose of weird melodrama and crime every Sunday night.
However, once David Lynch stepped away from the show it began to decline in ratings and was eventually cancelled after its second season. Some of this was due to a switch to a Saturday night showing (a time when teens were less likely to watch) and then the Gulf War happened; the first live tv war.
With the advent of streaming services in the early 2000's an entirely new audience for the original Twin Peaks was born. This time it was an international audience. The time had come to wrap up the loose ends of Twin Peaks season 2 and revisit this strange, trippy world.
With an entirely new audience wanting more Twin Peaks, David Lynch and Mark Frost have returned 25 years later with the 3rd season of Twin Peaks (called Twin Peaks: The Return) and it is absolutely wonderful.
Here are 5 reasons you should stream Twin Peaks: The Return currently on Showtime.
5. Spot the Guest Stars
I imagine every actor in Hollywood tried to get their agent to submit them for Twin Peaks, Season 3. Several interesting new faces appear. It's a lot more fun, however to try and spot the actors you haven't heard from in many years who appear in small, supporting roles. Richard Chamberlin, Meg Foster, Jennifer Jason Leigh and John Savage are some of my favorites. Check the Twin Peaks: The Return Wikipedia page to see if you favorite actors have appeared.
4. The Budget is Much Bigger
The original Twin Peaks had a smaller canvas and focused primarily on the comings and goings of the little northwestern town of Twin Peaks. The budget was small and many shots were of interiors or forested exteriors. Simple and effective for the story that was being told.
The new Twin Peaks takes place on a much larger scale. Cities like Las Vegas, New York and Buenos Aires now are locales for scenes. Rustic interiors have given way to high traffic casinos and ultra tech lofts. And since we now have a massive VFX industry, there are amazing effects in the new show like drone shots, travel between dimensions and 3D monstrosities. The new Twin Peaks looks gorgeous with changing color palettes and brilliant production design.
3. Sound and Music are Phenomenal
There is a single credit for sound design and that is for David Lynch. His ability to combine sound and image is simply brilliant. Mr. Lynch has long had a fascination with sound and it shows in scenes that have unusual ambient noise and in effects that are uncanny. The carefully crafted sound design adds to the already weird and poetic mix of scenes that are utterly unique in television.
Angelo Badalamente's music for the original Twin Peaks redefined music scoring for television. He's back and is using a combination of older original scores (the Twin Peaks theme is haunting) and contemporary music groups like the Chromatics. Some of the groups perform onstage as part of the scene and Lynch lets an entire song play out. Badalamente's music is also remarkable as always.
2. Almost all of the original characters are back
It is unprecedented in television history for a cast from a series to reappear in same roles 25 years later. Lynch's reasons for bringing them back is not nostalgia. This isn't the television equivalent of aging rockstars playing their hits in order to pay the bills for their mansions. Lynch and Frost have decided to not only expand world of the series but to focus primarily on Agent Coopers "return to Twin Peaks".
Some actors have died in the interim between series (Frank Silva, Don Davis), but the majority of characters from the original Twin Peaks are in the new series. Some of my favorites include Peggy Lipton as Norma Jennings, Russ Tamblyn as Dr. Russell Jacoby and Ray Wise as Leland Palmer.
1. David Lynch will direct all 18 episodes
What killed season two of the original Twin Peaks was that many directors tried to copy Lynch's style, but failed in creating that special sense of the weird/funny/scary that only David Lynch knows how to do. Most of the second season was boring, frankly, without that special poetic sense that Lynch gives to telling the stories of the Twin Peak's world.
The good news is that Mr. Lynch will be directing ALL 18 episodes of Twin Peaks: The Return. That's roughly 18 hours of Lynch's brilliant and moving cinema poetry. This from a director who is at the height of his creative powers and who has nothing to prove to anyone. I firmly believe that the Twin Peaks series (all three season) will be Lynch's magnum opus as it combines his poetic genius with the wider appeal of television melodrama.