Return to Twin Peaks

I’m pretty much loving the new Twin Peaks on Showtime.  There are some bits here and there that seem awkwardly implemented or haphazardly introduced, but overall I’ve been very pleasantly surprised.  My fear was that David Lynch, having been out of the filmmaking game for so long, would have lost his mojo.  More specifically, that the series would have been little more than a re-tread of the original.  No fear: his mojo is solidly in place, and bright, novel storytelling abounds.

The New York Times has written a lot on the return of Twin Peaks, including a good amount of favorable criticism.  On episode (“Part”) 3:

Mostly though, this hour is pure, magnificent abstraction, right down to the unexplained few minutes of Dr. Jacoby’s spray-painting a rack of shovels. The rest of the series could be nothing but Kyle MacLachlan shouting “Hell-ooo-ooo!” at slot machines and this episode alone will have justified the entire “Twin Peaks” revival.

Thankfully, the other 3 hours have been equally worthwhile, which portends well for the remainder of the series: an auspicious beginning to be sure.

I’m really looking forward to this…

Seasons of Spring 3 by 3

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“She’s dead.  Wrapped in plastic…wrap.”

Three television series will see a Season 3 premiere this Spring: the Showtime redux of Twin Peaks — god I hope it’s good, Fargo on FX, and Better Call Saul on AMC.  Dates:

Twin Peaks: Sunday, May 21

Fargo: “sometime in mid-April”

Better Call Saul: Monday, April 10

Fargo will feature Ewan McGregor and be the most modern Fargo yet, set in 2010.  I hope it’s good in spite of McGregor’s presence.  Same goes for the Trainspotting sequel set to release next month (egad!).

Season 2 was entertaining, though not up to Season 1 form.  There was so much violence that the National Guard would have been called in by about episode 5, so my incredulity will be alleviated if they dial it back a bit.

If previous patterns hold, AMC will air the first two seasons of Better Call Saul in marathon style leading up to the premiere.  That same pattern dictates availability of Season 2 on Netflix one week prior to the premiere; Season 1 is available now.  Certainly hoping it continues to be (among) the most entertaining shows ever aired.  Gus Fring will be part of the story, and I’d be surprised if we don’t at some point see Walter White, as the inevitable crossover into the Breaking Bad era takes place.

As for Twin Peaks.  Without going into it, let’s just say that Twin Peaks was a revelation when it first aired.  Not only did I think it was an incredibly great, ground-breaking show, but it made a significant cultural impact on my life ever since.  The cast list is 200 miles long, including Kyle MacLachlan and a number of other original cast members, and newcomers Michael Cera, longtime Lynchite Laura Dern, Ashley Judd, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Matthew Lillard, rock frontmen Trent Reznor and Eddie Vedder, Naomi Watts, and A-Lister Amanda Seyfried.

Such a massive cast is a lot to juggle, so I hope this doesn’t become another Dune.  David Lynch and Mark Frost are producing and writing, as they did originally, and Lynch will be directing.  My concern is that Lynch hasn’t made a film since Inland Empire, and was seemingly retired from dramatic presentation, content to make damn fine coffee and avant-garde music.

Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul and Fargo have set a new standard in television.  I hope Twin Peaks can live up to that standard while capturing the spirit, and the spirits, of the original series.

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Twin Peaks Revival

Twin Peaks stairsThis is old news by now for fans, but Showtime is slated to run nine new episodes of Twin Peaks.  From the Times blurb:

These episodes will be written and produced by Mr. Lynch and Mr. Frost, and will be directed by Mr. Lynch. Showtime also said it will re-air the original seasons of “Twin Peaks” before broadcasting the new episodes.

I was skeptical until seeing that David Lynch and Mark Frost, the original creators, will be making the new episodes.  I’m still skeptical, because Twin Peaks was so much a product of its age, and so completely saturated in pure magic that will be hard to recapture 25 years later.  The first season still ranks to me as among the best stuff ever put on television.  The Fargo series does give me a lot of hope that something great can be accomplished.

I’m also surprised, as I was under the impression that David Lynch had forsworn any further movie (or TV) making, having switched full time to music and generally disappointing his fans by not making anything else.  I am more hopeful now that he will become involved in another movie project; I’ve got this feeling there are still some great stories running around in his demented mind.

I’ve always disliked HBO, Showtime, etc., because for so much of their history they’ve been about charging viewers monthly for a lot of crappy, very un-curated movies.  They still do that, but it’s become a lot better now with quality original productions — a trend that is ever increasing.  And being on the “premium” pay network will have its advantages; again from the Times:

Regarding the original ABC run of “Twin Peaks,” Mr. Frost said: “There was always a sense that we were slightly handcuffed by the network restrictions of the time and place. Obviously, all that will be gone. We’re really free to do and go wherever we see fit.”

Looks like I’ll be subscribing to Showtime on a temporary basis when the show hits.  There is no way I am missing this.

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BONUS!  For the fans: “A Ranking of All 118 Sweaters Seen on Twin Peaks”, which includes perhaps unnecessarily acrid captions:

Donna - sweater

Click for Slideshow