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That Gum You Like Kind of Sucks Now: Against Resurrecting TV Shows

I ordered Showtime so I could watch the new Twin Peaks

My wife bailed during the episode that was 40 dialogue-free minutes with a persistent annoying machine-like hum in the background. I think that was episode 3. I hung in through episode 7 before giving up. Hoo boy, does it ever suck. 

I mean, it is interesting to watch a dedicated surrealist like David Lynch at work. For about an hour. After 7, I lost patience. Don't get me wrong: there are some brilliant sequences. But there isn't really a TV show going on here. Like, "Michael Cera shows up doing a Brando impersonation and has a really awkward conversation" is, to be sure, the kind of thing you won't see on TV very often, and I appreciate that, but something has to freaking happen eventually. I don't think that's an unreasonable expectation.

Cera

 

The reason the original Twin Peaks was so fantastic was that it was David Lynch being forced to work within the confines of a TV show. It was weird as hell, but it was recognizable as a TV show. Things happened that advanced the story in every episode. Imagine!

The Return is some kind of surrealist collage that is occasionally amazing, but it's not a TV show.  I fell asleep halfway through an episode of The Return and started watching the end of one episode and the beginning of the next. This did not change my experience at all. There is literally no story arc in an episode. I don't really trust Lynch to put together a story arc over the course of a season. 

So: artists are free to do what they want, and audiences are free not to follow. But I think we have to look at this trend of re-animating favorite TV shows. I've decided this is ultimately some Pet Sematary shit: you can bring it back, but it will never be the same. The fourth season of Arrested Development was a shitshow, and the returns of Gilmore Girls and The X-Files did not seem to inspire great fan enthusiasm after the anticipation for their return.

I think it's time to stop doing this. Dead shows should stay dead. A great TV show is the work of a ton of people and is a lightning-in-a-bottle phenomenon, impossible to recapture. (Indeed, most shows stop being good before they go off the air for the same reason.)

The original creators are going to want to do something different than they did before. This is understandable for people who did this show as their entire work life. But those of us who just loved spending an hour a week in that world don't want something new. We want something exactly like it was before.  These incompatible desires are never going to be reconciled.

The Force Awakens suggests that you might be able to give the fans what they want if you hire a fan, and not the original creator, to be in charge of the project. 

But people seem unwilling to do this for TV shows, and none of these undead shows have succeeded in recapturing their former glory, so I say the hell with them. Even in our multichannel universe, TV time is a zero-sum game. Twin Peaks: The Return is taking money and airtime that could be devoted to a show that would be the next Twin Peaks. Netflix has turned budget conscious--how many cool original shows did they pass on because they'd already earmarked so much cash for Arrested Development: The Unfunny Years or Gilmore Girls: Holy Fuck is Rory Annoying? Enough of this shit already. Make some new shows.

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