New on Showtime: Twin Peaks

Let me preface everything that will follow by saying that I was/am a huge fan of the original Twin Peaks (1990-91) so much so that I was Audrey Horne for Halloween that October.  Even liked a good chunk of the challenged second season that has become the stuff of crash-and-burn fable… I respect the Lynchian style and have seen most of his films. So when Twin Peaks returned tonight to Showtime, I was pumped. After seeing the first two hours, I feel like I’m trapped in the Black Lodge: lost and a little confused if this is the future or the past.

So what do we know: the original series was centered around a quirky northwestern town where the homecoming queen – Laura Palmer – is killed in the first episode. A quirky, charismatic and cherry pie-obsessed FBI agent (Kyle MacLachlan) is sent to investigate the killing and consume coffee and donuts. The series went very dark, very fast and gave tremendous cache to the then-floundering ABC network for its startling, offbeat style. It also spawned dozens of series about offbeat characters doing offbeat things. We return to Twin Peaks 26 years later knowing who killed Laura Palmer and that Agent Cooper had been trapped in the Black Lodge all this time.

I want to be generous here knowing there are 16 more hours to unfold but I barely made it through the first hour. Lynch’s trademark laconic pace was slowed to a crawl and it was nearly 34 minutes before anything happened. There’s no exposition or much of any explanation at all. There’s also almost no score underlying the “action” so it’s, at times, painfully quiet. It’s also scary as hell and deeply disturbing, so very David Lynch. And Matthew Lillard (yeah, Scooby) plays a principal. Hour two was an improvement over the first: stuff happens. Quirky stuff? Oh yes, it is.

Really, really short review: Twin Peaks: Enter At Your Own Risk.

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