Twin Peaks returns tonight. Let’s rock!
I discovered Twin Peaks sometime after the show’s original run, watching it all on DVD. And I loved the weirdo masterpiece. It’s a show about grief, mystery, and coming to terms with a shattered illusion of a perfect community. It’s also a show about a demon named BOB, interdimensional beings, a Black Lodge, and owls that are not what they seem. It is all over the place at times – at some point it will seem like a horror comedy spoof of soap operas, other times it absolutely is a soap opera, plain and simple. It’s not perfect, but it was a game changer, something both wonderful and strange. And sure, Season 1 is superior to the uneven Season 2, but I very much liked what they were trying to do with the show before its untimely cancellation. The film which came out next, Fire Walk with Me, is a remarkable thriller about young life cut short. (Plus it has David Bowie.) But I understand why fans were disappointed with it. Season 2 ended on a cliffhanger and the film was a prequel to the series, not a sequel. Well, that continuation of the story is finally coming, with David Lynch directing every episode of the revival (!!!) for Showtime. Fan favorite characters are returning (Gordon Cole, Shelly, Hawk, Andy, Dr. Jacoby, Audrey Horne, and AGENT DALE COOPER), plus some mysterious new cast members (including Laura Dern, Naomi Watts, Ashley Judd, Tim Roth, and… Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor?). I couldn’t be more excited. I also know that it’s very likely to be a wildly different show than the one that aired on CBS 25 years ago. Not only will Showtime allow the show to get more adult, but Lynch himself has changed as a filmmaker since the original series was on. One look at INLAND EMPIRE or Mulholland Dr. can give you an idea of how dark and strange the show might become.
But Lynch is not alone behind the scenes of Twin Peaks. Co-creator Mark Frost has also returned. And it looks like in addition to Lynch directing all episodes, Frost was in the writer’s room for each of the 18 new episodes. Frost has also given fans a couple extra goodies to go along with the revival: two new books. The Final Dossier is expected to arrive in late October, but The Secret History of Twin Peaks is available now, and I made sure to finish the novel before the new series starts up.
So, first thing’s first: this is an odd book. I guess that shouldn’t come as a surprise, given the oddness of Twin Peaks, but yeah, totally weird. The Secret History is similar to S. by Abrams and Dorst. It is the discovered dossier compiled by a person known only as The Archivist, who gives details on Twin Peaks history, current events, strange happenings, and conspiracy theories. Written into the margins are the notes of an FBI agent who is tasked with studying the dossier and offering her findings to her superior, Gordon Cole. Some pages are full of redacted print. Other pages are torn out of centuries old diaries. Still others feature strange images of owls. (Note: the design and art direction of the hardcover is beautiful and would not translate well to ebook.)
The dossier goes all the way back to Lewis & Clarke, talks about a strange land in the west (we’re led to believe this is Twin Peaks region), and an all-important green ring. We move through history to the settlement of the town, and the strange occurrences that always happen there. Twin Peaks fans know there is something strange in the woods. We know about the Black Lodge. The Secret History finds an interesting way to expand on those ideas, offering us a few answers, while also presenting all new questions. The amount of time focused on UFOs was unexpected. As was the Richard Nixon cameo.
At times, I was reminded more of John Keel’s The Mothman Prophecies more than what I’d come to expect from a Twin Peaks-related book. But that added some fun to the mystery of the fictional world, making the Peaks mystery appear more epic by taking on some familiar ‘real world’ concepts and then twisting them for the series’ intentions.
It is not a typical novel—I struggle to call it a novel at all, other than the fact that it is obviously fiction. It’s also not what you might expect from a Twin Peaks book. All I can say is that I enjoyed it. It mixes in character histories on important Twin Peaks regulars with all the conspiracy madness. You’ll get a detailed background about Big Ed and Norma and then you’ll be back in UFO territory. It’s crazy. And I kind of loved it for being so crazy.
What hints The Secret History of Twin Peaks might have for the revival… I do not know. It’s all canon, obviously. The show has been very careful not to spoil anything for fans. The Secret History is no spoiler. It adds to the mystery. It’s fun, elusive, and weird. I’m looking forward to reading The Final Dossier, just as I can’t wait to see the new show.
Twin Peaks returns on Showtime tonight. The Secret History of Twin Peaks can be bought today at Amazon.
Writer of horror, science fiction, and dark fantasy. Lover of books and film. Lifelong Godzilla fan. Reluctant blogger.
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