'Twin Peaks' Revival Promises Weirdness And Mystery — But Is That Enough? So much of today's high quality TV already feels like a distant homage to Twin Peaks. That may make it hard for co-creators David Lynch and Mark Frost to surprise fans with their revival.
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'Twin Peaks' Revival Promises Weirdness And Mystery — But Is That Enough?

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'Twin Peaks' Revival Promises Weirdness And Mystery — But Is That Enough?

'Twin Peaks' Revival Promises Weirdness And Mystery — But Is That Enough?

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

All right, one of the most anticipated television shows of 2017 is Showtime's revival of "Twin Peaks." NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says the new show's biggest challenge may be surpassing its own groundbreaking history.

(SOUNDBITE OF JULEE CRUISE SONG, "FALLING")

ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: There is so little information available about the plot of Showtime's "Twin Peaks" revival that one promo just features co-creator David Lynch eating a donut. He's dressed like a character he played from the show, FBI Bureau Chief Gordon Cole, while the series' mournful theme music plays in the background.

(SOUNDBITE OF JULEE CRUISE SONG, "FALLING")

DEGGANS: Fans would expect no less from Lynch, an eccentric Oscar-nominated director known for staying tight-lipped about his projects. He created "Twin Peaks" for ABC back in 1990 with Mark Frost, a writer for NBC's pioneering cop drama "Hill Street Blues." The story began with the murder of homecoming queen Laura Palmer in the fictional town of Twin Peaks, Wash. The FBI agent sent to investigate the case was Kyle MacLachlan's Dale Cooper, a guy who liked to read detailed notes on just about everything into a tape recorder for an assistant named Diane.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TWIN PEAKS")

KYLE MACLACHLAN: (As Special Agent Dale Cooper) Diane, 11:30 a.m., February 24. Entering the town of Twin Peaks. It's 5 miles south of the Canadian border, 12 miles west of the state line. Never seen so many trees in my life.

DEGGANS: What followed was a series that redefined the boundaries of television. It mashed up genres, moving from an noirish (ph) murder mystery to a surreal dream-like supernatural story. And it sparked legions of fans obsessed with the show's weird details, like the Log Lady, a woman who seemed to communicate with supernatural forces through a log she carried around. And now they want to try doing it again. Showtime's revival features MacLachlan, along with much of the series' original cast.

Clues about the revival's plot may be found in a new book by Frost called "The Secret History of Twin Peaks." It features a dossier filled with documents connected to Cooper's investigation that another FBI agent must sort through to figure out who assembled them.

In the original "Twin Peaks," Lynch and Frost created an odd, surprising universe fans can immerse themselves in, a bold move for 1990s television. Later TV shows and films like "Fargo" and "The X-Files" took that approach to new levels. The question now is how will Lynch and Frost keep surprising fans at a time when so much of today's quality TV already feels like a distant homage to "Twin Peaks"? I'm Eric Deggans.

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