With David Lynch dramatically quitting the return to Twin Peaks, another auteur will have to step into his slippers. Aaron Hawkins throws out a few contenders. //
Twin Peaks ushered in the 1990s with eight glorious episodes that changed the way we thought about television forever. Almost a quarter of a century after it was cancelled came the announcement that the show’s creator David Lynch was resurrecting the cult classic for Showtime in 2016. At least until this week, when the lack of available budget made him pack his bags and leave the project. Before the cable network have a whip around to buy him back, might we suggest the following subs be called off the bench?
The zenith of both Knauf and Lynch’s television careers have much in common. Both involve rich and all-encompassing universes, populated by eccentric mobs of small town folk (with dark secrets). Both shows were genuinely deserving of the much diluted ‘ahead of their time’ epithet. While both shows were canned after their second season, at least Carnivale was in the ascendant. If it’s a cashflow problem that got Showtime into this situation, a $4 million-an-episode reboot probably isn’t the direction they’d want to head in, but just think about it for a second. In the Lynchian universe of narrative non-sequiturs, all it takes is a meaningful tilt of the head and your time-space continuum readjusts for good. The Man From Another Place? What if that place was the circus circuit of the American dustbowl? It’d explain the cabaret schtick of The Red Room, right? So long as we finally get to see Brother Justin’s righteous rage, consider all disbelief suspended.
If you’ve seen El Topo, you can’t tell me you haven’t secretly wondered what would happen should its mastermind cross paths with Michael J Anderson. In the ‘70s, the mescal Western maestro set out to make a 14 hour film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune. Music by Tangerine Dream. Design by H.R. Giger and Jean Giraud. A cast that included Salvador Dali, Orson Welles, David Carradine and Mick Jagger. The project collapsed under its own weight, only to be succeeded by Lynch’s adaptation in 1984, with music by Toto, and a cast that included Sting. Jodorowsky has said that seeing its abject failure on the big screen provided him with an amazing sense of relief, but what better poetic justice than getting his hands on Twin Peaks? The octogenarian has recently returned to filmmaking, so it isn’t outside the realms of possibility, even if it would be in the realm of the absolutely bonkers.
To paraphrase the great dramatist Anton Chekhov – what’s the point of carrying a log around with you all the time, if at some point it doesn’t brutally bludgeon someone to death? If you’ve lived and breathed the darker side of humanity for as long as David Simon has, there must be few things that make your blood boil like a serious murder investigation being hammed up by a quirky federal agent like Dale Cooper. Nothing interrupts a damn fine cup of coffee like the rippling soundwaves of Michael K Williams whistling ‘Farmer In The Dell’. It’s about time the community of Twin Peaks had a show runner who took their seedy underbelly seriously. The seasons long asides about the calibre of education offered at Twin Peaks High School would just be an added bonus.
One of the running gags of my undergraduate years was the idea of the Director’s Commentary Commentary, a marathon critique of the excesses of auteurist indulgence. In the case of the legendary misanthrope’s second act as a documentarian, of course, a simple Director’s Commentary would suffice. I would put money on the fact that Herzog has never seen Twin Peaks, so Showtime could save a fortune by just locking Herzog in a voice booth, showing him season one, recording his dismissive asides and existential crises, and re-releasing the overdubbed version next year. “Those who read own the world, and those who watch television lose it”, he once offered. I’d watch it at least twice.
Lightbox users: watch Lynch’s majestic Twin Peaks here.
Everyone else: click here to start your free trial
The Bulletin is The Spinoff’s acclaimed daily digest of New Zealand’s most important stories, delivered directly to your inbox each morning.