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Why the weird lack of 'Twin Peaks' trailers is a good thing

Commentary: "Twin Peaks" is returning, but you won't find the usual onslaught of teasers and trailers. Here's why that's the perfect way to market the mysterious series.

Kyle MacLachlan returns as Agent Cooper in "Twin Peaks."
Suzanne Tenner/Showtime

In a world plagued by spoiler-dropping trailers, the return of "Twin Peaks" Sunday is quietly sneaking around the outskirts of YouTube, dropping only the vaguest of hints about plot lines and characters. It's an anomaly in this age of multiple teasers followed by multiple trailers. And it's exactly how the show should be promoted.

We're now just days away from the season 3 premiere and we still don't have anything that resembles a real trailer. Showtime dropped two almost teaser-like videos recently, one showing the faces of familiar characters and another featuring short droplets of scenes. The only dialogue we get comes from these lines from three different characters: "Try me." "He's coming. I have to get off the phone." "Albert!" That's not much to go on. (Disclosure: CBS is Showtime's parent company.)

The marketing has centered more around the original series and, to a lesser degree, the "Fire Walk with Me" prequel movie. We've seen a coffee-scene compilation and a series of documentary-style shorts about the cultural phenomenon that grew up around the first two seasons.

"Twin Peaks" has always been about what lurks around and inside the shadows. It may shine a light on its enigmatic residents, but that light will be in the form of an eye-searing strobe. The shadows never completely disappear, and the promotion for the new season keeps it that way, with the new episodes shrouded in an appealing uncertainty.

David Lynch, co-creator of "Twin Peaks" along with cohort Mark Frost, isn't one to do things by the Hollywood book. He helped bring this weird, squalling, retro, dark, funny and dangerous show to television in 1990, pretty much left it in different creative hands for season 2 and then returned to triumphantly direct all 18 episodes of the revival decades later. That's not the usual recipe for a hit show, but for "Twin Peaks," it's been the right one.

"There must be something in it that gets people to a good place in the department of thinking and feeling," Lynch said in a Showtime YouTube interview. Part of that lies in accepting the endurance of the show's many mysteries. Those secrets remain veiled in the lead-up to the return. That means the "Twin Peaks" revival is achieving something almost unheard of in the modern age of fast-proliferating spoilers and shot-by-shot trailer breakdowns: it's debuting a new series with almost the same level of enigma as the original pre-internet 1990 premiere.

Later in that YouTube interview series, Lynch delivers this kicker: "Keep your eye on the doughnut, not on the hole." That's good advice as we reenter "Twin Peaks" under cover of darkness.

"Twin Peaks" returns on Showtime on May 21.

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