The titles of "Cult Director" and film auteur David Lynch are nearly inseparable, so it stands to reason that his sole foray into network television Twin Peaks would be a controversial cult hit that still has people talking almost 25 years later.
When Twin Peaks hit the American television culture on April 8, 1990, it created an instant sensation that dominated pop culture. The pilot often makes critics lists of one of the best single television episodes of all time, while the series is regarded as a high watermark for network television with Lynch bringing actual cinematography to the small screen. In addition to the quirky plot and small town soap opera turned inside out aesthetic, the show simply looked fantastic. But not unlike so many revered cult shows, Twin Peaks met a tragic end long before its time had come.
Some think that the decline in ratings in the first season may have had to do with the Thursday night schedule where the show was up against the power house sitcom Cheers. Many point to the second season decision to reveal Palmer’s killer midway through the season, leaving the show’s writers with few places left to go.
Even Lynch expresses regret at revealing who killed Laura Palmer, as to him that was the main attraction of the show. But nervous network executives won out over artistic integrity. According to show co-creator Mark Frost, the suits wanted the killer revealed at the end of the first season because they felt that audiences didn’t have the attention span required for a multi-season murder mystery. Certainly the premise was well ahead of its time when we have shows today (The Killing) that spend whole multiple seasons on one mystery.
As the series ended with a cliffhanger that some called brilliant and other incredibly frustrating, it’s easy to see why fans would still want more. For awhile fans thought the Twin Peaks movie “Fire Walk with Me” would be their salvation, but alas the film turned out to be a prequel (and an epilogue) that only left the faithful with more questions. In fact, the movie was poorly received by fans and critics, effectively scuttling any more big screen projects.
For a while in 2007 there was talk of a possible Twin Peaks graphic novel that would show the characters ten years later and show more insight into “Bob”, but Lynch vetoed the project citing he did not want to continue. In May of 2013, cast member Ray Wise indicated that Lynch had discussed a possible Twin Peaks project but nothing came out of it. New content juggernaut Netflix has indicated they would love to produce new episodes, but of course they have no commitment or comment from Lynch on the matter.
With the prospect of the 25th anniversary looming the zeitgeist is aflutter with possibilities, rumors and just plain old pipe dreams; perhaps that’s the reason for all the recent hub-bub regarding a LA casting call for a Lynch directed Peaks promo. But once again, like the seminal series, all may not be as it seems. On January 2nd Sande Alessi Casting placed an open casting call for LA based actresses.
“TWIN PEAKS PROMO. Directed by David Lynch. Shoots in Los Angeles on Tuesday, January 7, 2014. Prob a 6 hour or less day…HOT Caucasian girl – BRUNETTE OR REDHEADS ONLY to play waitress. Age 18-27. MUST have an amazing body. Busty, very period looking face.”
The casting call was then deleted 12 hours later and the rumor mill went into full speculative production.
An unnamed executive at Sande Alessi said the ad looked real, while show show co-creator and executive producer Mark Frost tweeted that he thought it was a hoax. Neither CBS, who owns the DVD distribution rights, or Lynch have offered any comment on the matter either.
Clearly the call was for a waitress at the Double R Diner where coffee, pie, and intrigue were mainstays on the menu where FBI agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) periodically visited as he investigated the murder of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee). The diner served as a nexus for all kinds of colorful characters and suspects. Who can forget the stoic Deputy Hawk, or the bizarre clue spouting Log lady?
Fans of the show will recall that in the final episode Laura Palmer’s “ghost” told FBI agent Dale Cooper that she would see him again in 25 five years, but as there is no indication that either Kyle MacLachlan, or a suitable substitute, will be involved in the shooting of the promo its unlikely that we’ll get to see that reunion.
Some think Lynch might be shooting some new test scenes for a possible reboot and just needs to find the “New Laura Palmer.” Another theory which seems far less likely is that Lynch is shooting some follow up material to the show’s last episode. The most realistic rumor is that it is some kind of promotional material for the upcoming release of the show on Blu-ray.
Whatever the case may be, it’s clear that fans of the show just want more and will take it anyway they can get it. Perhaps Mr. Lynch should take note of this new buzz and consider that even though he may have little to no interest in continuing the story, the many devoted followers of the show would be more than willing to follow him back to the great northwest for a cup of coffee and a piece of pie in one of the strangest towns in America.
Twin Peaks aired for two seasons on ABC from 1990-1991, but it has since become a cult hit and spawned a feature film: the prequel Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, which hit theaters in 1992.
Images: Lynch-Frost Productions/Spelling Television