UPDATED: A popular expression here in the Indiewire offices is something we humbly borrow from the first season of “True Detective” — “time is a flat circle.” We use it in a lot of different ways, but most often it has to do with another quote from a great TV show: “All this has happened before. All this will happen again.” Because following the TV news lately, it’s hard to escape that feeling.
Take “Twin Peaks.” Since the official for-real announcement that Lynch would be back on the series, what’s been fascinating is how many details about the show’s return are reminders of its original run. Frequent Lynch collaborator Angelo Badalamenti is returning to do the music. They’re shooting in the show’s original locations, including the Double R Diner — home of some damn fine coffee — which is being restored just for the shoot.
And notably, “Twin Peaks” will run for 18 episodes, equivalent to an old-school season of network television (which, let’s remember, “Twin Peaks” originally was). I’d bet money that those episodes will get split up into multiple seasons and thus spread across multiple years — it’s been over a decade since Showtime ever aired a season of a scripted show with more than 13 episodes — but it still reflects a certain way of thinking that speaks to Lynch’s roots.
All of these details add up to this: The more we hear about the upcoming return of “Twin Peaks,” the more we regret ever using the term “reboot.” But to be fair, it’s been a legitimate struggle, lately, to figure out the proper terminology to address all these shows that are coming back. Do we just call next year’s return of “The X-Files” Season 10? (Or even Season 11, given the officially licensed series of comics?) And, I ask you, what about “Coach”?
“Reboot” is not the word for those projects, it appears. “Reboot,” as we’re going to define it going forward, indicates a lack of continuity with the original series; real creative reinvention is the new standard for the term. “Rebirth,” meanwhile, does two things: Indicates a once-thought-dead project is now alive, and it’s returning with the same creative team — which is really key and fortunately what’s happening more and more.
The reason this matters is that if we’re going to lean into this new era of television, where everything old is new again, the fact that networks aren’t just shucking aside the original talent behind the camera has real meaning.
The 2004 “Battlestar Galactica” is at this point the gold standard for a proper reboot; completely reinvented, top to bottom, with a new cast and new creative talent behind the scenes. History is littered with far less successful achievements. But as much as we might complain about how these shows returning might indicate a lack of creativity on the part of the networks, the fact that keeping the original talent involved means time is a flat circle.
And when we think about 18 more episodes of “Twin Peaks”… Yeah, that’s a good thing.
UPDATE: One catch to “Twin Peaks”: With there being 18 episodes (potentially) as opposed to 9 — not to mention that it took over six months for Showtime to officially lock down David Lynch’s contract — it’s looking like Showtime won’t actually be airing the episodes until 2017, according to co-creator Mark Frost.
On the plus side, they are (according to star Kyle MacLachlan) confirmed to begin shooting the new episodes in September of this year. And Agent Dale Cooper is a man you can trust. (Maybe.) But by 2017, nearly every other “rebirth” mentioned above will have already premiered. So who knows what kind of cultural landscape the new “Twin Peaks” will be met with? Maybe we’ll have a whole new “re-” word ready to describe its return.