Twin Peaks co-creator Mark Frost reveals the secret history of an epically weird show
You didn't have to get Twin Peaks to love Twin Peaks. It appears on almost every 'best-of' list for anything to do with TV — and even if you didn't watch it, there's a good chance you've heard about its quirky characters and mysterious story arcs.
Twin Peaks has been off the air for a quarter century. But with so much left unexplained, it's no stretch to say viewers have spent 25 years thinking about it — without any hints or help.
This week, Mark Frost, the show's writer and co-creator, released a new book called The Secret History of Twin Peaks. And as he tells Day 6 host Brent Bambury, the book arrives in anticipation of the show's return next spring.
That's right. It's happening again.
Twin Peaks returns to TV in 2017. Its exact return has been a moving target, but the latest rumours have it airing in April.
The revival could include as many as 18 episodes, and will feature the majority of the original cast, as well as an all-star list of newcomers that reportedly includes Monica Bellucci, Jim Belushi, Michael Cera, Eddie Vedder and Naomi Watts, along others.
The Secret History of Twin Peaks
The book is an unusual and formidable work of art, featuring photos, newspaper clippings and official government documents. All of it was conceived in the mind of the man who helped create the Twin Peaks universe.
"It's what you would call, in strictly literary terms, an epistolary novel in that it's comprised of different documents that tell a story over about a 150-year period," Frost says.
The story starts in 1805 with an excerpt from the expedition journals of William Clark and Meriwether Lewis and continues to 1991, or the conclusion of second season. Frost describes his approach as a mosaic.
"It enables us to get into the details of what developed in the region around Twin Peaks, how the town came to be, and how the characters you know on the show began their lives and lived their lives," he says.
"It seemed to me the best way to tell this story was to use these different documents so I could pull in different voices and different points of view."
The book features two voices: 'The Archivist,' who left notes and hints from the past, and an FBI agent (not FBI special agent Dale Cooper) who's been tasked with trying to decipher this dossier. Her voice appears in the form of footnotes throughout the book.
"There are mysteries that are central to the story and then there are smaller, tributary mysteries that I think clarify over time," Frost says.
Twin Peaks revival
The book is an adventure unto itself but it's also a companion for next year's Twin Peaks revival on Showtime.
In that way, Frost says the book is like a prologue.
"I see it as a way to broaden and deepen the mythological ground in which the story dwells. By going back in history and going deeper into the region and the specifics of people's back stories, I wanted to expand the sense of what this world was," he says.
The enduring legacy of Twin Peaks
Twin Peaks is a show that keeps its mysteries and dares viewers figure them out.
"That gets right to the heart of what the show was trying to do thematically," he says. "That's one of the things that made the series resonate: pat answers and closed questions. We left it to the viewer to decide."
He says he and co-creator and director David Lynch were reluctant to offer any kind of absolutes.
Win a copy of the book
We've got two copies of the book to give away. If you want one, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us who's your favourite Twin Peaks character and why. Write "Twin Peaks" in the subject line, and be sure to send your mailing address.
Good luck. And remember, don't drink coffee that's been anywhere near a fish.