Friday, April 28, 2017

Notes Of A Fringe Television Watcher

I don't watch much television, partly because a decision made decades ago - that I wasn't particularly interested in doctors, lawyers or cops - has made it really easy to avoid so much of it.

But when I do find a show that I enjoy, I can become irrational in my devotion to it. Usually that engenders a type of loneliness because I keep falling in love with shows that no one, or almost no one, in my circles also enjoys.

It's been that way forever: if there was a club for 16-year-olds who enjoyed "The Prisoner" in 1968, I never knew about it.

So I don't know who that I know is going to care about this, but the New York Times thought it was worth reporting: one of my all-time favorite shows is is coming back. Kinda sorta.

The headline says it all - kinda sorta: "25 Years Later, David Lynch Returns to 'Twin Peaks'".

The 1990 premiere episode of "Twin Peaks" filled me with dread, then made me laugh, then perplexed me, then intensified the dread, all within the first 15 minutes - and the series kept doing those things in varying degrees for its two seasons.

Now David Lynch is back to give us more. And refusing to say, more of what:

Lynch himself will not answer questions pertaining to the plot of the new “Twin Peaks.” Additionally, he insists that the 18 individual installments of the series must be called parts, not episodes, offering a cogent auteur-like explanation: “This is a feature. An 18-hour feature, broken up into 18 parts.”

An 18-hour feature. Cuz he got it like that.

My thrill at learning this news was quickly dampened by the fact that the series - er, feature - will air on Showtime, which we don't have, because we've never paid for premium channels.

I might break down and subscribe to Showtime ala carte for a few months.

If you're a "Twin Peaks" fan, give a holler. Maybe we can have a watch party for the premiere. You do the coffee, I'll bring the pie.


The most recent example of shows that I love that most people I know ignore was "Bates Motel," which ended its fifth and final season Monday night. If you were a fan, I don't need to explain. If you weren't, I can't explain. Not fully, at least. But I'll say this - anyone who expected a cheap ripoff of "Psycho," or a gorefest, would have been surprised (and possibly disappointed). There were murders aplenty, but at its core, the Carlton Cuse-Kerry Ehrin-Anthony Cipriano imagining of the life of Norman Bates was classical tragedy, more Shakespearean than Hitchcockian.

The writing, the acting, and sometimes even the direction (something I tend to pay little attention to in television) of "Bates Motel" all reached heights that I considered brilliant.

If you were one of the multitudes (sigh) who never checked it out, go ahead, fire up your Netflix, and check out at least the first episode. If it doesn't grab your interest, you're out 45 minutes. But if it does, prepare yourself for a long, intense ride.

EDIT: HAH! I just discovered this in the Wikipedia entry for "Bates Motel"

Cuse has cited the drama series Twin Peaks as a key inspiration for Bates Motel, stating, "We pretty much ripped off Twin Peaks... If you wanted to get that confession, the answer is yes. I loved that show. They only did 30 episodes. Kerry [Ehrin] and I thought we'd do the 70 that are missing."

Well, alrighty, then! 
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