After a 26 year wait in between seasons, a Cannes Film Festival premiere and a marquee cast that included Jennifer Jason Leigh, Ashley Judd, Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, David Koechner, and of course Kyle MacLachlan and Laura Dern, Showtime’s third season of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: The Return was passed up by Emmy voters in all of its acting categories in addition to a limited series nomination.
For the long-awaited third season of the cult series, it’s about as bittersweet as the cherry pie in the lumber town, especially when you consider that on the upside, the TV Academy gave some respect to Lynch with his sixth, seventh and eighth Emmy noms of his career in limited series writing (shared with co-creator Mark Frost), directing and sound design for the show.
Overall, Twin Peaks counts nine Emmy nominations today, its other six being in the areas of production design for narrative contemporary program (an hour or more), limited series/movie cinematography, single-camera picture editing, hairstyling, make-up (non-prosthetic) and sound-mixing.
Chalk up any Emmy shortchanging here to –of course– fierce competition. When the avant-garde small town noir series debuted on ABC back in 1990, it was a splash of water, and ultimately a standard for quite some time, in regards to cliffhanger narratives and large ensemble casts on television. But in a streaming and cable universe ruled by Westworld, The Assassination of Gianni Versace, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Game of Thrones, Twin Peaks is but one of several voices in the crowd. In addition, Showtime allowed Lynch to work without a net in regards to crafting season 3 entirely in his and Mark Frost’s vision, unlike the commercial-break confines of early 90s network TV. This yielded a Twin Peaks that was extremely trippy, and to some, quite confusing.
When Twin Peaks first aired on ABC in April 1990, it was an immediate sensation. People magazine at the time reported that Hollywood celebrities transfixed by the show’s absurdist sense of humor and biting suspense, would host weekly viewing parties. Twin Peaks promptly earned 14 Emmy noms (including drama series) and two wins in its first season and another four noms during its second season. MacLachlan was nominated twice as lead drama actor for his portrayal of FBI agent Dale Cooper. As fast as the series was a ratings hit, the second season’s viewership collapsed in 1991 as Lynch and Frost doted too long on providing concrete answers as to who Laura Palmer’s killer might be.
Currently, there’s been no word of a season 4 per Lynch’s unofficial spokesperson MacLachlan. Lynch did not release a reaction today in regards to the series’ noms.