10 Things Showtime’s New Twin Peaks Series Needs to Do
Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or a log) this past week, you’ve probably heard that David Lynch and Mark Frost’s seminal television series Twin Peaks is coming back to television after nearly twenty-five years, with nine new episodes written by Frost and directed by Lynch, airing on Showtime in 2016. If you’re a longtime fan like me, who watched when the series originally aired, and have been eagerly awaiting news of any kind of continuation for the past two decades, this was the kind of news you’d always hoped you’d get but never thought would actually ever happen.
But there are a lot of ways this could all go terribly wrong too; we all still have Phantom Menace shell shock all these years later after all. And while I have faith in both Lynch and Frost, here are ten things they really need to consider when returning to the mysteries of the Pacific Northwest once again. By the way, this list has massive SPOILERS in it for the original show, so if you haven’t seen it yet, fair warning (seriously though, go watch it; it’s on Netflix, so you have no excuse.)
1. Everybody Doesn’t Need to Come Back
The original series had a huge cast – something like fifty regular and recurring cast members over the course of thirty episodes. And only a handful of them are no longer with us (Don Davis, Jack Nance and Frank Silva most prominently.) But that doesn’t mean that everyone who was on the show needs to come back for Twin Peaks 2.0. Truth be told, even before the original show ended, many of the character’s storylines had come to their natural conclusions well before the series finale. I’m lookin’ at you, James Hurley.
It’s been twenty-five years, and truthfully many of the characters would have moved away by now, or even passed away. Does evil trucker Leo Johnson really need to still be alive for example, and are fans going to be really upset if football jock/drug dealer Mike Nelson is somehow absent? If Lynch and Frost can’t think of a good plot element or story for some cast members, then by all means, leave them in the past.
2. Make Sure Sherilyn Fenn Returns as Audrey Horne
I realize that I just said that many of the original cast members don’t need to come back, and while I hold to that statement, there are a handful of characters who are almost a part of the show’s visual iconography – Agent Dale Cooper, Laura Palmer, The Log Lady, the Little Man in the Red Room…and saddle-shoed seductress Audrey Horne, played by Sherilyn Fenn. Although the series ended with Audrey trapped in a bank where a bomb went off, this is still a soap opera, and we never saw a body, meaning Audrey could be – and should be – very much alive.
Stupid behind-the-scenes politics kept the characters of Audrey and Agent Cooper from ever hooking up properly, despite all their on screen chemistry. but time has passed, and now seems the time to do it. A couple of years ago Sherilyn appeared as “Maudette Hornsby” on the Twin Peaks tribute episode of the USA show Psych, looking very much as Audrey would all these years later. The tribute episode was fun…but now it’s time for the real thing.
3.Forget About Lara Flynn Boyle
While most fans want as many of the original cast from the series to come back, I think there is one who really doesn’t need a phone call to her agent. I speak now of Lara Flynn Boyle, who played the pivotal part of Laura Palmer’s best friend Donna Hayward in the series. The show made her a star, but she instantly put the show in her rear view mirror and pretty much acted as if she was never even on it. She refused to come back for the movie version Fire Walk With Me and was replaced by actress Moira Kelley.
Since then, she’s pretty much refused to talk or have any participation in anything Twin Peaks related – she’s never participated in any special features for any of the DVD or Blu-ray releases, and when USC film school asked the cast to participate in a series of Q&A’s honoring the show’s legacy, she never responded, and also declined to be interviewed for Brad Duke’s excellent book Reflections: An Oral History Of Twin Peaks. She’s made it pretty clear she doesn’t care about the show that made her famous, and since she’s already known to be totally replaceable, I say do so. Not to mention, she’s had SO much bad plastic surgery over the years as to become barely recognizable today, either as Donna or as a regular human being. If Donna Hayward is even going to be in it, I say just replace her again. No one will care.
4. Frank Silva Should Still Play Killer BOB
The ultimate villain of the series, the face that haunted millions of fans, was that of Killer BOB, played by the late, great Frank Silva. Originally not an actor, but a set decorator for many of Lynch’s films, while working on the pilot episode of Twin Peaks, Frank was accidentally locked inside the set of Laura Palmer’s bedroom. This caused a flash of inspiration for David Lynch, who then filmed Silva crouching behind the bed of Laura Palmer. After being accidentally caught in the mirror in the last shot of the pilot, Lynch realized he’d found the villain for his show
Sadly, Frank Silva left this plane of existence and went to the White Lodge in 1995. And while a look-alike actor could be found theoretically, to me BOB should remain Frank Silva. As it is, BOB mostly appeared on the show in fleeting images- a face in the mirror, a quick flash in a vision, a blur hiding behind a bed; technology has advanced to where mapping someone’s face onto a body double isn’t hard to do anymore, and considering the glimpses we see of BOB are just these quick scary images, it could totally be achieved rather easily. Although dead actors have been “brought back to life” before, this isn’t like John Wayne selling Coors; I feel like this is something that Frank Silva would have loved.
5. Don’t “Midi-Chlorians” Us, Please
Probably one of the most hated aspects of the Star Wars prequels is George Lucas’ invention of Midi-Chlorians, a “scientific” explanation for how the Jedi are able to access the Force. Most fans hated it, for the very simple reason that some things are cooler left unexplained and mysterious. In Twin Peaks, many MANY things involving the supernatural mythology of the show are left unexplained and mysterious; just what are the Black and White Lodges, how are the Owls connected to everything exactly? Are BOB and MIKE aliens, spirits, or what?? Pondering these questions and coming up with your own theories is part of the appeal of the show.
Frankly, it’s cooler not knowing, so I hope Lynch and Frost don’t feel the need to pull a Midi-Chlorians on us. Sure, we longtime fans want answers to the questions like “will Agent Cooper ever get out of the Lodge?” among others, but loose plot threads being resolved is different than explaining things that don’t need to be explained, and are much better left mysterious.
6. Don’t Forget Fire Walk With Me
David Lynch’s big screen prequel to the series , 1992’s Fire Walk With Me is heavily divisive among fans; many hated it, many loved it, but it definetly added tons of new layers to the mythology of the story. We were introduced to new FBI Agents Chet Desmond (Chris Isaak) and Phillip Jeffries (David Bowie) both agents who vanished under mysterious circumstances. The new Twin Peaks series on Showtime should definitely use some of those plot elements from the movie, and bring in Agents Desmond and Jeffries again. And maybe even Agent Sam Stanley, if they can convince Kiefer Sutherland to come on board as well. There were many new elements added, and the new series should definitely play off of some of those.
7. Drop Some Lynchian Easter Eggs
David Lynch has stated on several occasions that two of his post Twin Peaks feature films, Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive, take place within the same universe as Twin Peaks. There are certainly thematic elements connecting all those works, and Mulholland Drive originally began life as a Twin Peaks spin-off for the character of Audrey Horne, before actress Sherilyn Fenn turned it down and the part was re-worked for Naomi Watts.
While I wouldn’t want anything too overt, it would be a fun nod to see a Winkie’s establishment in the town (maybe the RR Diner’s big competition?) or maybe the terrifying “Man Behind Winkies” could appear in the Black Lodge. I’d suggest having Robert Blake’s “Mystery Man” from Lost Highway appear in the Black Lodge as well, but why give that asshat any work?
8. Make Sure Angelo Badalamenti Does The Music
There are certain elements that make Twin PeaksreallyTwin Peaks; you need David Lynch and Mark Frost of course, you need the town itself, you need Kyle MacLachlan as Dale Cooper…and you absolutely need Angelo Badalamenti to compose the score. Badalamenti’s music is as much a character in the show as any cast member or even the town itself. The thought of an all new soundtrack from Badalamenti is nearly as exciting to longtime fans as the thought of new shows. Much like I can’t imagine Star Wars without John Williams, I can’t imagine Twin Peaks without Angelo.
9. Create Compelling New Characters
As much as I want to see some of the original series characters come back, the new Twin Peaks has got to bring in some new blood. The original show had a sexy, young cast in addition to the older character actors like Peggy Lipton and Richard Beymer and Piper Laurie. This can’t be a show dominated exclusively by middle-aged people and senior citizens. In fact, I’d argue that the new characters should be the narrative thrust of this show, with the classic characters added in for extra spice for all of us older fans, but not dwelled on too much.
10. Make Twin Peaks a True Multimedia Experience Again
So many properties these days boast about being a “multimedia experience,” but Twin Peaks did it way back when in 1990, before having a multimedia experience was even a thing. In between the first two seasons, there was Jennifer Lynch’s book The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer, which instead of being a cheap tie-in novel, was actually essential reading in unraveling the show’s main mystery. Added not long after the book was the audiotaped recordings of Agent Cooper, and several more books. Of course, in our modern internet age, the chance to create a truly cool multimedia experience is even greater, and I expect Lynch and Frost to really turn it out this time.
Previously by Eric Diaz:
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