the twin peaks phenomenon

P19_Andrew-605x454Andrew Irwin at the TLS:

Reviving a series twenty-six years after its last episode aired is always going to be a dangerous game. Twin Peaks, much loved and firmly entrenched in popular culture, with a healthy body of academic literature surrounding it, seems particularly risky: mainly because much of it wasn’t very good. Although David Lynch and Mark Frost’s surrealist melodrama created a number of extraordinary images, and greatly influenced the television that came after, it notoriously suffered from problems of pacing in its second series, with its central mystery resolved too soon (at the network’s behest and against Lynch’s wishes). The plot lines that replaced it were ad hoc and irritating; with plummeting ratings, Twin Peaks was cancelled after its second season, and was then followed by a number of books and a prequel film, Fire Walk with Me, to flesh out the story. The chances seemed high that this revival, set twenty-five years later and featuring many from the original cast, would simply repeat the mistakes of the second series, lose the atmosphere that was integral to the success of the first, and tarnish a legacy.

Set in a scenic rural town in Washington State, the original series begins as the body of a popular blonde high school student named Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) washes up on the shore, wrapped in plastic; the discovery of her body triggers great spasms of anguish in the small logging community. Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), wearing the anonymous black suit of the FBI and expert in his investigations, but filled with boyish wonder, is called into town to investigate the case and is at once smitten with the wholesome values, the air, the trees and the coffee-and-cherry-pie version of 1950s Americana, transplanted inexplicably into the 90s.

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