Do You Need to Watch the Original ‘Twin Peaks’ Before the New Season?

Drew Dietsch
Movies TV
Movies TV

Twin Peaks is returning and fans couldn’t be more excited. But, what about those who aren’t familiar with David Lynch’s twisted little world? Do you need to watch the preceding two seasons of Twin Peaks in order to see this new version? Well, there is a short and a long answer to that question. If you’re intrigued by the show, read on and you can get an idea of what you’re in store for.

A Place Beyond the Pines (or Douglas Firs)

Twin Peaks is (ostensibly) the story of a murder. High schooler Laura Palmer is found dead and wrapped in plastic in the quaint logging community of Twin Peaks, Washington. FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper is sent to investigate the murder, but the town of Twin Peaks is filled with secrets and strange characters, and this murder eventually leads to a metaphysical battle between the forces of good and evil themselves.

Sounds crazy, don’t it? Well, it is! Creator David Lynch is known for his surrealist and unconventional filmmaking style, hitting the scene with the nightmarish Eraserhead in 1977. Though the show is also remembered for its kooky cast of characters, Twin Peaks was always a monument to expressionistic storytelling. This was especially new to mainstream audiences in the early ’90s when the show premiered. It made for quite the unique television experience at the time. Today, we’re much more accustomed to overtly cinematic TV. But, there is very little in this world that can compare to a David Lynch creation. Just because you’ve been jiving with Legion or American Gods doesn’t mean you’re ready for the often cosmically disturbing wonderland of Lynch’s headspace.

Not to mention that he took that aggressive oddness to the big screen with the feature film, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. That movie is a mind-bending trip into some of the scariest stuff Lynch has ever put on screen. If Fire Walk With Me ends up being a strong companion to the new season, it will definitely be required viewing for those trying to get what Lynch’s style is all about

In that regard, you might want to watch the original Twin Peaks just to get an acquired taste for his particular brand of weird. But, is that all? Is there another reason you need to get caught up?

The Not-So-Perfect People of Twin Peaks

More than anything, Twin Peaks is a show that is overflowing with excellent characters. Many of them are downright lovable – Andy! Pete! – but almost all of them are fascinating in some way. They are flawed people who are usually good at heart. But, it’s often that the unquestionably evil characters are just as entrancing.

Any good story is populated with well-rounded and compelling characters. Twin Peaks has an abundance and that’s what you’ll be missing if you jump into the new season blind. Those characters will still be worth watching, but the history won’t be there for any newcomers. The show is filled with moving backstories for nearly every person, and not having that when you start up this new season would be doing the characters a disservice.

In Short: Yes

Twin Peaks is one of the best shows in television history. You should watch it for that reason alone. But, if you are at all interested in this new series, you need to watch what came before. It will prepare you for the kind of insanity you’re getting into. It will also get you acquainted with a phenomenal group of characters. There is no reason not to watch Twin Peaks in preparation for this new season. In fact, even die-hard fans of the show should give the old stuff a rewatch. Why not? It’s great TV and we can always use more of that.

Drew Dietsch
Drew Dietsch has written for CHUD.com, the News-Press, WhatCulture, and releases a weekly film review podcast, The Drew Reviews Podcast. He'll yak your ear off about horror movies, Jaws, RoboCop, and/or Batman if you let him. www.thedrewreviews.com
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