Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

The Revival of Twin Peaks, a Triumph of the Value of Engagement

Posted by Sean Hull on February 26, 2017

The topic of “The Value of Media Engagement” really resonates with me, and that’s because, joy of joys, the cult classic television series Twin Peaks returns this year! Originally released in 1990, the series was well-received initially, but following a lackluster 2nd season which resulted in declining ratings, the show was canceled.

Despite its lack of value from in an appointment-based system, the show has managed to maintain a strong following over the last 27 years, and thanks to its heavily engaged fanbase Showtime has resurrected it, with a new series set to air in May of 2017. What is most significant about this resurrection is that it appears to be a strict continuation, not a reboot: the sparse trailers provided by Showtime are heavily referential, preferring to display old Twin Peaks footage within a new context instead of showing new footage alone. I think this is significant because it shows that Showtime is valuing Twin Peaks based on its existing dedicated following, instead of trying to chase a new demographic to the exclusion of old fans. For a show that’s over 25 years old, that kind of move requires a lot of confidence in the existing fanbase.

I can only hope this Twin Peaks continuation doesn’t go the way of the 2016 X-Files miniseries, a superficially similar resurrection. While the upcoming Twin Peaks seems to be targeting the most die-hard fans of the original, the X-Files reboot scrapped a great deal of the lore built up in the previous series, introducing new conspiracy theories that blatantly contradicted what was seen in the previous series, all to the displeasure of dedicated X-Files fans who had hoped for a true continuation.

Well, until the new Twin Peaks comes out, I can only speculate. To conclude I will leave you with a teaser for the new Twin Peaks. I think its incomprehensibility to anyone who hasn’t seen the original series will nicely illustrate who the target audience is.


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