BY BILLY SUTER
NAOMI Watts, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tim Roth, Amanda Seyfried, Michael Cera, Laura Dern, Richard Chamberlain, Jim Belushi, Ashley Judd, Jeremy Davies, Matthew Lillard, Monica Bellucci… all are among the cast of an eagerly awaited new drama series that continues the story from a landmark drama series of the 1990s.
That show, of course, is David Lynch’s enigmatic and captivating Twin Peaks, noted as much for its unforgettable, haunting score by Angelo Badalamenti as it is for its eerie storyline and offbeat characters.
The sequel, also called Twin Peaks (and also, in some places, known as Twin Peaks: The Return), is scheduled to start on DStv’s M-Net (channel 101) with a double episode at 9.30pm on Tuesday, May 23.
The plot for the new 18-part series has been kept under very tight wraps by co-creators Lynch and Mark Frost, but it is known that the show continues the tale of the original series which ran from 1991 to 1992.
Officially premiering on America’s NBC network on Sunday, May 21, the series was developed and written by Lynch and Frost over a number of years.
It is directed by Lynch, who recalls many original cast members – including Kyle MacLachlan as FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper, who apparently again takes central focus in the drama.
The original Twin Peaks had a cult following when it aired in 1990, introducing the fictional US town of the title, where agent Cooper investigated the murder of homecoming queen Laura Palmer, played by Sheryl Lee.
For a town filled with secrets, Twin Peaks revealed much more than the killer and delved instead into a darker examination of human nature.
A crime drama laced with offbeat humour, supernatural and soap opera elements, and peopled with some highly eccentric characters, the series spawned a 1992 feature film, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, which was a prequel to the TV series.
Wikipedia reports that David Bowie had intended to appear in the new series – in a cameo appearance as FBI Agent Phillip Jeffries, his character from the Twin Peaks movie, but the music star’s death in January last year prevented this from happening.
Among others reportedly returning from the original series are Sheryl Lee as Laura Palmer and Maddy Ferguson, David Duchovny as Denise Bryson, Russ Tamblyn as Dr Lawrence Jacoby and Dana Ashbrook as Bobby Briggs.
Back , too, are Madchen Amick as Shelly Johnson, Sherilyn Fenn as Audrey Horne, Peggy Lipton as Norma Jennings, Ray Wise as Leland Palmer, Alicia Witt as Gersten Hayward and Julee Cruise as the Roadhouse Singer.
Also scheduled to start on M-Net on May 23, at 6pm, is the eighth season of The Middle, the Emmy-nominated comedy series centred on Frances “Frankie” Heck (Patricia Heaton) and her husband Mike (Neil Flynn), who reside in the small fictional town of Orson, Indiana.
They are the parents of three children, Axl (Charlie McFermott), Sue (Eden Sher) and Brick (Atticus Shaffer).
The series is narrated by Frankie, initially an under-performing salelady at a used-car dealership and later a dental assistant. Her stoic husband Mike manages a local quarry and serves as a stabilising influence in the family, although Frankie complains about his lack of affection at times.
The kids are quite different from one another: oldest son Axl, a popular but under-motivated and cynical teenager, does well in sports but not in academics; daughter Sue is an enthusiastic young teen but chronically unsuccessful and socially awkward; and youngest son Brick is an intelligent but introverted compulsive reader with odd traits.
Also one to watch out for is This is Us, an acclaimed new drama series scheduled to premiere on M-Net at 7.30pm on May 29. It has been described as a provocative, slice-of-life ‘dramedy’ in which husband Jack insists that his wife, Rebecca (Golden Globe-nominee Mandy Moore) upholds a particular birthday tradition.
An ensemble cast includes Milo Ventimiglia Sterling K Brown, Chrissy Metz, Justin Hartley, Susan Kelechi Wartson, Ron Cephas Jones and Chris Sullivan.
The series is about family lives and the connections of several people who all share the same birthday, and the ways in which they are similar and different.
Episodes weave through the stories of the past and present of the characters, with most scenes taking place in 1980, between 1989 and 1995, and 2016 and 2017.
The show premiered in the US last September and, reports Wikepedia, received nominations for best TV drama at the 74th Golden Globes awards and at the 7th Critics’ Choice awards.