Begone, dystopian-themed television! With shows like MTV’s Scream, the CW’s Riverdale, and NBC’s upcoming Midnight, Texas, it’s clear that the classic small-town mystery seems to be the way to go in 2017. Even though these shows are currently not on the air, there’s a new series coming next week to fill that murder-soap opera hole in your heart: it’s the long-awaited season 3 of Twin Peaks.
The trailer, newly released by Showtime, is almost entirely wordless. The format is reminiscent of an old-school slide projector, with a click and a moment of darkness after each “slide.” Glimpses of the aged cast, as well as fresh faces, are also visible.
Happily, I was glad to see that the overall aesthetic from the original show was kept, at least from what was seen in the trailer. The original Twin Peaks debuted in 1990, so handheld tape recorders, bulky landlines, and the occasional record player decorated sets and were constantly used as props. The show retains much of the original cast, so I would assume the new plot would take place twenty-five years after the old one — aka, now. I’ve always thought the extensive use of smartphones and laptops in shows that are supposedly “timeless” are super jarring and distracting, so hopefully that’ll be kept at a minimum despite the modern setting.
Seasons 1 and 2 of Twin Peaks followed FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle McLachlan) in his investigation of the murder of town golden girl, Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee). The further he goes in his investigation, more of the town’s secrets are revealed (does this format sound familiar? It should — the CW’s Riverdale, and almost every other small-town mystery within recent memory, follows the layout made famous by Twin Peaks).
While this premise may sound somewhat boring and overdone to us, twenty-five years ago it was initially met with skepticism. “I don’t think it has a chance of succeeding,” read one 1990 review from USA Today. “It is not commercial, it is radically different from what we as viewers are accustomed to seeing, there’s no one in the show to root for.”
1990 may not seem that long ago, but characters as complex as Dale Cooper or Audrey Horne were not commonplace on the small screen, or anywhere else, for that matter. Josie Packard, portrayed by Chinese actress Joan Chen, was one of the few non-subservient Asian female characters in the entire industry. Not only was the story matter seen as “radically different,” but director and writer David Lynch’s twisted, surreal style was just something that people were not used to.
Season 2 ended on a cliffhanger before ultimate cancellation due to low ratings. Lynch himself later said that “that wasn’t the ending, that’s just the ending people are stuck with.” So clearly, a third season has been in mind for quite some time.
Kyle McLachlan, Madchen Amick, and David Lynch himself have been confirmed as returning cast members. Confirmed newcomers include Michael Cera, Naomi Watts, Ben Rosenfield, and Amanda Seyfried.
Twin Peaks returns to TV on May 21, 9 PM EST, on Showtime.