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Commentary TV and Movies

Emmys 2018: Twin Peaks was too good for the awards show

Commentary: Fans and critics alike loved Twin Peaks: The Return, so why didn't the unusual Showtime series pick up any awards?

David Lynch isn't just the director and co-creator of Twin Peaks: The Return, he also plays FBI Agent Gordon Cole.

Showtime

The Log in Twin Peaks does not judge, but sadly Emmy voters do and they weren't in favor of the Twin Peaks revival. 

Twin Peaks: The Return, directed by David Lynch, and co-written by Lynch and Mark Frost, impressed fans and critics alike with its art-house style cinematography and an incredible performance by lead actor Kyle MacLachlan as Agent Dale Cooper/Dougie Jones. 

Lynch and Mark Frost were nominated for an Emmy in Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special, and Lynch was also nominated for Outstanding Directing.

But neither Lynch nor Frost got to walk away with any awards at the 70th Emmy Awards on Monday night. And MacLachlan wasn't even nominated as Best Lead Actor.

Twin Peaks didn't do any better at the Creative Arts Emmys either. Nominated for production design, editing, sound editing, sound mixing, cinematography, makeup and hairstyling, Twin Peaks lost out to The Handmaid's Tale and Black Mirror

Considering that fans broke Showtime's signup record just to see the new series, it's hard to understand why the series didn't register as award-worthy with voters. (Disclosure: Showtime is owned by CBS, CNET's parent company.)

"Twin Peaks' premiere is the biggest single-night driver we've ever had," Showtime Networks CEO David Nevins said in 2017.

Kyle MacLachlan and Sheryl Lee reprising their roles as Agent Dale Cooper and Laura Palmer in Twin Peaks: The Return. 

Showtime

As a hard-core fan, I'm perplexed at the Emmys' refusal to honor Twin Peaks. The series has always been considered groundbreaking with its unusual characters, innovative cinematography and grim sense of humor. Twin Peaks transformed modern-day television.

Without the influence of Twin Peaks -- which originally debuted in 1990 -- we may never have gotten shows like Lost, Bates Motel, Broadchurch, Legion, The Killing, Fringe, True Detective, The Leftovers, Riverdale and The X-Files

And in 2017, David Lynch broke new ground again. Twin Peaks: The Return was a triumph.

"The 25-years-later murder mystery was not only a masterpiece – it may have permanently changed the medium," Rolling Stone magazine wrote. "Just as the original Twin Peaks inspired visionary showrunners from David Chase to Damon Lindelof to create the TV's so-called 'Golden Age', Twin Peaks' revival may have leapfrogged them all. What we just witnessed was unmatched in the medium's history."

The 18-episode revival gave fans another long look into the bizarre lives of characters they loved from the original series and Twin Peaks movie Fire Walk With Me, as well as new performances from actors like Laura Dern playing the mysterious Diane we only heard about in the original series.

Harry Dean Stanton in one of his last roles acting in Twin Peaks: The Return in 2017.

Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

What's even more shameful, is that this season of Twin Peaks showcases some amazing last performances for actors Harry Dean Stanton as Carl Rodd, Miguel Ferrer as FBI agent Albert Rosenfield and Catherine Coulson as The Log Lady, who all died shortly after the new series aired.

Twin Peaks: The Return was something of a unicorn. Never before in the history of television has an auteur like Lynch been given free range to indulge his particular whims and quirks with complete creative control (and a sizeable budget). The end result: incredible television like Part 8, the eighth episode of the revival series, an hour long piece stripped of plot and traditional narrative structures, replaced with lengthy surreal images. It was weird as hell, but completely unlike anything shown on television ever. Audiences are still recovering.

Perhaps that's why Twin Peaks: The Revival went over Emmy voter heads.

The series was never trying to be TV as we traditionally understand it, but "one film broken into 18 parts," according to Lynch. Twin Peaks was always more of a cinematic puzzle to be dissected and discussed in a way that wasn't typical to the usual series that remain blips on the history of entertainment.

Maybe just maybe, Twin Peaks is too good to win an Emmy.

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