26 years after it went off the air, Twin Peaks is returning to television. Though it’s coming a year later than Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) promised Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) in the final episode of the original series, fans everywhere can finally rejoice. At long last, it is happening again.
When Twin Peaks premiered in 1990, it was a far cry from anything else on TV. The most popular shows at the time included Cheers, Roseanne, The Cosby Show and The Golden Girls. Co-created by David Lynch (Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive) and Mark Frost (Hill Street Blues), the show was ostensibly a whodunit murder mystery, but it was nothing like Murder, She Wrote. Rife with red herrings, love triangles, and cliffhangers, Twin Peaks had all the beats of a conventional show, but it completely defied convention. It was a police procedural but weirder, a soap opera but more surreal. It moved seamlessly from funny to frightening while delving into the mystical and metaphysical.
Because of its idiosyncrasies, Twin Peaks has long been considered a cult series, which makes it easy to overlook the fact that the show was a cultural phenomenon when it first aired. The first season of Twin Peaks received 14 Emmy nominations and won three Golden Globes, including Best TV Drama Series. A precursor to what we now call prestige television, Twin Peaks was the quintessential water-cooler show of its time. However, the acclaim was short lived. Ratings slipped after Laura Palmer’s killer was revealed in the 7th episode of the 2nd season. Twin Peaks continued to explore the stranger side of life in the lumber town for another 15 episodes, but it wasn’t quite the same. After two seasons and 22 episodes, Twin Peaks was canceled. Though the show was at its best when it centered around solving the mystery of who killed Laura Palmer, the rest the series is worth the watch, if for no other reason than to spend more time in the company of the quirky characters who inhabit the peculiar world of Twin Peaks.
With the new season of Twin Peaks premiering May 21 on Showtime, now is the time to revisit the series or dive in for the first time. All 22 episodes are available on Showtime on-demand. So grab a cup of coffee, a slice of cherry pie, and savor one of the most original shows to ever air on tv.