This morning, director David Lynch announced the return of his groundbreaking series Twin Peaks with a tweet that called back as much as it looked forward. There was a hashtag, #damngoodcoffee, referring to the catchphrase of Kyle MacLachlan's city-slicker FBI agent Dale Cooper. Even more tantalizingly, there was a prototypically Lynchian video—a shot of Laura Palmer (she of “Who killed Laura Palmer?” infamy) beckoning to the viewer (like something out of one of Cooper’s prescient, uncanny dreams), followed by the series’ famous opening shot of the town’s cheery welcome sign on a foggy day.
For fans of the program that originally ran on ABC in 1990 and 1991, it was more or less a perfect tweet—a nostalgia trip promising that the show’s essence would remain intact when its new season (nine episodes, directed by Lynch) airs on Showtime in 2016. That essence? Inexplicable, atmospheric weirdness.
But from an industry perspective, the new episodes won’t be weird at all. Showtime is just the latest network to repurpose iconic stories for the nostalgic modern-day audience: The success of Bates Motel (Psycho), Fargo (of the Coen Brothers movie), and Hannibal (Silence of the Lambs, Manhunter, Red Dragon, etc.) has solidified the idea that rebooting a cult-cinema classic is a sound business strategy. Doing the same for cult, cinematic television was just the next logical step. It’s an unavoidable fact that Twin Peaks, which has always resisted television convention, is returning in part because it’s playing by Hollywood’s new rules.