NEW YORK (AP) — In April 1990, “Twin Peaks” arrived with a bang on ABC, serving up huge ratings for a saga whose weirdness made its audience’s heads spin. Little more than a year later, “Twin Peaks” was canceled for low ratings. But TV was changed forever by the vision of its creative partners, David Lynch and Mark Frost.
On Sunday, claiming its rightful place in a world of wildly creative television that the original “Twin Peaks” helped spark a quarter-century ago, an 18-episode revival will premiere on Showtime at 9 p.m. EDT.
Among the many stars from the original series, Kyle MacLachlan will be back as FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper, who first came to tiny Twin Peaks, Washington, to investigate the murder of high school sweetheart Laura Palmer. This week, MacLachlan, 58, told The Associated Press what it’s been like to discover that, yes, he could go home again:
“Through the years I had spoken with David about reviving the show. We’re neighbors in L.A. and every once in a while I would say, ‘Have you given it any thought?’ He’d say, ‘Not really.’ So I was surprised a few years ago when I got a call and he asked me if I’d like to go back to ‘Twin Peaks.’ I said, ‘I never left!’ And he and Mark started writing the scripts — which I only saw for the first time right before we started filming. I was up for whatever trajectory they had Cooper on.”
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The eight-month shoot began in fall 2015, and initially MacLachlan found that reinhabiting the role was a challenge.
“I wasn’t the same person that I was 25-plus years ago, obviously, and this wasn’t Cooper as he was then. His boyishness, his enthusiasm for trees and coffee and pie, his sense of fair play and his intuitiveness, those were all still part of him. But it was in a slightly different version now.”
On the other hand: His relationship with Lynch (who directed all the episodes, and who had launched MacLachlan’s career in the 1980s by starring him in the films “Dune” and “Blue Velvet”) felt instantly like old times.
“Although he still surprises me, for the most part I know where he’s going and I know what’s expected. He’s got a sure hand, without losing the fun. He’s serious, but there’s always a twinkle in his eye. At least, that’s his FIRST approach,” MacLachlan said with a smile. “If THAT doesn’t work, there’s a sternness in his eye that I’ve seen come out.”
Reuniting with so many “Twin Peaks” alums was “heartwarming,” MacLachlan said.
“Many of them I hadn’t seen in the meantime. Harry Goz. Sheryl Lee. Bless his heart, Miguel Ferrer,” the veteran actor who was starring in “NCIS: Los Angeles” when he died in January.
After the original “Twin Peaks” solved the mystery of Laura Palmer’s killer early in its second season, ratings collapsed.
“The next mystery didn’t have the same power, and ABC kept moving us. We kept making the episodes, but we felt like things were unravelling. It almost felt like the writing began to get more desperate in our effort to attract back the viewers we were losing. Then, in that season’s last episode, I felt like we had a story with the power of the Laura Palmer mystery. But it wasn’t enough to stop ABC from canceling the show.
“This time, we won’t be at the mercy of a network telling us, ‘You’re not making the grade’ and taking us off the air. Hat’s off to Showtime for committing to the project and working with David to really let him do his thing. This show is gonna BE David — unexpected and mind-bending.”
And even though this “Twin Peaks” has been billed as a limited series, MacLachlan said “I think the chances are good” when he was asked if more episodes might follow the first 18.
“Whether David and Mark feel compelled to write them, I don’t know. But I think he has more stories,” said MacLachlan, quickly adding he’s game to do more: “My character’s very special. He’s a lot of fun to play.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.