Twin Peaks: Showtime Revives David Lynch Masterpiece – What to Expect

What should we expect from Showtime’s Twin Peaks, the spectacularly unexpected reboot of the quirky, genre-busting mystery series that rose quickly and fell even more quickly over the course of two seasons on ABC in the early Nineties?

First, if you find the whole thing too weird to enjoy . . . you’re not alone. Twin Peaks was always an acquired taste, a series that borrowed bits and pieces and styles of almost everything that had come before and mixed them in a blender: murder mystery, 1980s night-time melodrama, slapstick comedy, ’50s Americana nostalgia, the supernatural and occult, gripping psychological portraits, dark serial-killer horror, and surreal, dream-like imagery. The show was never designed for the widest audience or casual viewing.

We don’t know what twists and turns this new third season is going to take, but it’s a safe bet that the multiple plot lines will get more entangled than your headphone wires. Most of the old cast (at least most of those who haven’t passed away in the intervening quarter century) have returned, to be joined by a slew of new characters — there are a jaw-dropping 238 speaking roles in the coming 18 episodes.

On most shows, budgetary limitations require a small recurring cast. Picking out the murderer in a one-hour whodunit such as Castle gets to be pretty easy; just look for the biggest-name guest actor in the smallest role. On a crime show such as NCIS, every major national-security crisis is resolved by the same small team of agents. The size of the cast of the original Twin Peaks defied television conventions, and wasn’t equaled until HBO inaugurated the current golden age of prestige television with The Sopranos and The Wire. The liner notes to the original Twin Peaks soundtrack offered small portraits of 40 significant recurring characters. Because most people’s lives involve regular interactions with more than the same half-dozen people, the myriad complicated…

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