Rolling Stone, Vulture, Cahiers du Cinéma name ‘Twin Peaks: The Return’ best of 2017

But can David Lynch's surreal exploration of small town American life win at the Golden Globes?

Twin Peaks The Return - Cooper and Palmer in the Red Room

UPDATE: Widely regarded Cahiers du Cinéma has also named Twin Peaks: The Return the best of 2017.

This may or may not come as a surprise, depending on how deep you are into all things David Lynch.

Rolling Stone (“Nothing like Twin Peaks: The Return has ever happened before or will again.”) and Vulture (“A weekly mind-effing event”) have both not only named Twin Peaks: The Return — aka A Limited Event Series as it’s known for the Blu-Ray release — to a best-of list, but ranked it as the #1 ranked television show of 2017.

In addition, many others have also mentioned David Lynch and Mark Frost’s re-boot — airing 25 years after the original took the country by storm in 1993 — including The Ringer (#2) and Entertainment Weekly (#2), among several others.

Also worth a mention: Sight & Sound considered The Return worthy enough for the #2 spot on its list of best films of 2017, noting it “blows up TV, creatively, and puts pop culture on a new wavelength.”

Then again, Lynch has been keen to remind us that the project was framed from the get-go as an “18-hour film” and not a conventional, episodic series. For instance, you won’t see traditional recaps at the beginning of each episode.

Given its non-linear structure (notably related to time), non-resolving plotlines (mostly), and seemingly nonsensical dream-like logic (a Lynch trademark) I am somewhat surprised that a show like The Return would make it to so many top 10 lists. And let’s not forget, most episodes would conclude with a full-length performance by a musician or band at the infamous, smokey “Bang-Bang Club”.

San Francisco arts, theater, film, music, news, reviews, videosTV Show or Film?

Netflix and Amazon Prime are disrupting traditional media as we know it. Cable cutting began in earnest years ago. And with streaming now here en force, satellite and cable’s hey days are all but done and done.

So, is Twin Peaks an 18-part TV show or 18-hour film?

Debating the question may be as fruitless as analyzing any number of the series’ non-sequiturs. Either way, it’s top notch entertainment. Isn’t that what ultimately matters most?

Vox has an interesting take on the question, ultimately suggesting that the very idea we’re discussing points to the future of media and the inevitable blurring of lines between the formats:

“The fights over Twin Peaks are, ultimately, all in good fun, but they point to the very real fact that we’re rapidly heading toward an age when ironclad distinctions will start to become helpful suggestions and then will disappear altogether.” (full article on Vox: “Is Twin Peaks a movie or a TV show? The answer’s more complicated than you’d think.“)

If push comes to shove I’d say the 2017 edition of Twin Peaks is a film. If David Lynch says so then that’s enough for me!

Even for hardcore Lynch fans the series was, at times, an 18 hour exercise in frustration. Many of us would flock to Reddit Sunday evening after an episode to try to make sense of it all. When would agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) snap out of his “Dougie” mode? Why was Diane (Laura Dern) acting so unusual? When would Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn) finally appear? And, what was with the apparent secret code (morse code?) flickering in the windows of that Gulfstream jet flying over snowy mountains in Part 7? Calling all cryptanalysts! We must know! The truth is out there!

Or maybe not.

Little Easter eggs and nudge-nudge, wink-winks is part of what makes this contemporary world of Twin Peaks so appealing.

This time around the soapy-ness (thankfully) is dialed down, and the Lynchy-ness ratched up… to 11.

By the time the masterpiece that is Part 8 aired, taking us into the metaphors and otherworldly explanation of evil and the atom bomb, we knew that this was indeed something special, and perhaps the ultimate parting gift from the auteur. That finale — icing on the Freudian cake. How wonderful that Showtime was willing to let loose David Lynch and Mark Frost without constraint.

Twin Peaks Return Episode 8 - Gotta light? Kyle MacLachlan in Twin Peaks: The Return - Limited Event Series blu-ray

Now that awards season approaches, it will be interesting to see if a show like Twin Peaks: The Return can stand out. Game of Thrones. Stranger Things. Riverdale. It’s tough out there. Given that this show is just as comfortable trolling its fans (two-and-a-half minute floor sweeping scene anyone?) as it is giving us a resolution into Laura Palmer’s murder investigation could prove a tough sell with some of the more conventional TV critics circles.

As for Once Upon a Time, my spouse’s favorite show? Well, I can say I do love those beautiful Vancouver sets.

Here’s hoping too that Kyle MacLachlan receives noms for his outstanding portray of Agent Cooper. Or, make that, Agent Coopers. I can only imagine the many notes and conversations needed to keep the 3 versions (or more?) of his character sorted on set.

Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series - Blu-Ray
Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series on Blu-ray was released this week and promptly stocked out. We just can’t get enough of David Lynch.

As for Once Upon a Time, my spouse’s favorite show? Well, I can say I do love those beautiful Vancouver sets.

Seth Meyers hosts the 75th Golden Globes on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018.

That much we know.

But, the ultimate question remains…

… will Showtime green light a Twin Peaks season 4?!

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