Twin Peaks anniversary
Image courtesy of ABC

Twin Peaks,” the ABC series that was a forerunner of today’s offbeat serialized cable dramas, is coming back to life with nine new episodes to air on Showtime in 2016.

Series creators David Lynch and Mark Frost are working away on the scripts, with Lynch planning to direct all nine episodes. The episodes are expected to bow in early 2016, which would coincide with the 25th anniversary of the show’s demise after two seasons on ABC in 1990 and 1991.

The new segs will be set in the present day and continue storylines established in the second season. Frost emphasized that the new episodes will not be a remake or reboot but will reflect the passage of time since viewers last checked in with key characters. As part of the deal, Showtime will rerun episodes from the original series’ first two seasons leading up to the 2016 premiere.

Frost would not elaborate on plot details or even the characters that will come into play. But the story threads that will picked up were “baked in to the last episode,” Frost told Variety. He called it “the next chapter of the story” and said that the passage of 25 years will be an important element in the plot.

“For those followers of the show who felt bereft when the show ended where it did all those years ago are going to like where it goes from here,” Frost assured. “And we hope that a lot of people who haven’t been to Twin Peaks yet are going to be equally interested in where the story goes from where we left off.”

“Twin Peaks” was ahead of its time in its unusual, often surreal approach to telling the yarn of a murder mystery in a fictional small town in Washington state. The show bowed with a ton of buzz — Lynch was red-hot as a feature helmer at the time — but it had little in the way of a sustained audience by broadcast TV standards of the day.

The series has remained a cult favorite over the years and thus was a ripe candidate for revival amid the general mania in the TV biz for reinventing vintage film and TV titles.

Lynch and Frost have retained ownership of “Twin Peaks” all these years. CBS has distribution rights to the show through the deficit-financing pact that Lynch/Frost Prods. set back in the day with Aaron Spelling’s Worldvision distribution arm, which CBS now controls.

Another key connection that helped the new-model “Twin Peaks” land at Showtime is the pay cabler’s Gary Levine, exec VP of original programming, who was the ABC exec who developed and championed the show during its original run.

Lynch and Frost have talked about taking another run at the Twin Peaks world over the years, but the effort got serious about three years ago when the two had one of their semi-regular lunches at Hollywood’s Musso and Frank Grill. It was not lost on either of them that “Twin Peaks” had proved to be a TV pioneer in many respects. Aspects of the show that were seen as a handicap in the ABC days are now pillars of the contempo generation of edgy cable and pay cable series.

“I always felt that in ‘Twin Peaks’ we were more or less filming a novel — drilling down to a level of detail you weren’t used to seeing in network storytelling,” Frost said. “Over the years a lot of people have credited us with inspiring them to think differently in how to tell stories. Now that we’re doing (the show) again, I’m happy to come back and get in on the action.”

Lynch and Frost didn’t shop the series around. Showtime was a natural home because of the latitude offered by pay cable, plus the comfort level offered by the connection with Levine.

“Showtime was the place we felt most comfortable going to after meeting with Gary and (Showtime prexy) David Nevins and seeing their passion for the show,” Frost said. “Gary we consider a good friend and David I’ve known for quite a while.”

There’s no word yet about casting. In the original series, Kyle MacLachlan (pictured) played the pivotal role of the Agent Dale Cooper, the FBI agent who comes to the small town to investigate the murder of homecoming queen Laura Palmer.

After that mystery was solved, the show explored even more seamy goings-on and oddball characters in the town. The pilot for the original series was shot on location in Washington state, but subsequent episodes were primarily lensed on stages in the San Fernando Valley. There’s no decision yet on a shooting location for the new segs.

Frost said it was still to be determined whether the revival will be a one-time limited series or an ongoing effort.

“The proof will be in the pudding. If we have a great time doing it and everybody loves it and they decide there’s room for more, I could see it going that way,” he said. The original “Twin Peaks” premiered on April 8, 1990, and had its last original telecast in June 1991. A prequel story, “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me,” was released as a feature by New Line in 1992.

The TV series has endured for a new generation of fans through periodic homevid releases and more recently, a streaming pact with Netflix. The AFI hosted a tribute to the show in Los Angeles in July in connection with the Blu-ray/DVD release “Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery.”

Given the show’s legacy and the rabid fandom it has inspired, Frost admitted that he and Lynch feel the pressure to make the new episodes worthy additions to the canon.

“We can’t rest on our laurels,” he said, which is a key reason why Lynch has committed to directing all nine hours.

“This show is a kind of thanks to all of the incredibly passionate fans we’ve had over the years that have kept the show alive and passed it down to the next generation,” Frost said. “We’ve been lucky enough to have one of the coolest, most intelligent, most inquisitive group of people attracted to our show. We’re happy for them that the show is coming back.”

In a statement issued by Showtime, Lynch and Frost quipped: “The mysterious and special world of Twin Peaks is pulling us back. We’re very excited. May the forest be with you.”

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