Monday, September 16, 2013

Review: 'Fan Phenomena: Twin Peaks'

The longevity of “Twin Peaks” is a truly staggering thing. To think that a show that lasted a mere 30 episodes, that shined for a brief season before being treated like a televised pariah by critics, network execs, and former fans, could have such renewed life two decades after the fact was surely unthinkable in 1990. Blame the fans. We’ve kept the dreamiest place on Earth alive with our blogs and conventions and DVD viewing parties and University screenings and campaigns to bring the damn fine show back. You can now hop onto etsy, ebay, and café press and find a wide variety of fan-made merch (as I write this, I’m controlling my mouse on an unauthorized “Twin Peaks” mouse pad I bought on café press several years ago).

A new series by Intellect Books called “Fan Phenomena” takes a look at the relationships between pop culture and we obsessives. Amazingly, David Lynch and Mark Frost’s series is among the flagship subjects, which include such much longer lasting and better-known items as Star Wars, Batman, and “Star Trek.” That the fan-written essays in Fan Phenomena: Twin Peaks are so consistently well written may speak to the intellect of the average “Twin Peaks” fan, or it may just speak to the good job editors Marisa C. Hayes and Franck Boulègue did. Or it may just be that these particular fans tend to be scholars and professional writers.

The main purpose of this series is to present writings less academic than those found in the usual analyses and ones primarily focused on the fans’ roles in keeping the subjects alive. For the first few essays, this holds true with neat pieces about that new wave of fan-made merchandise, Audrey Horne’s style, and the influence of “Twin Peaks” on the “golden age” TV series that followed it (this one really could have been expanded a lot, especially since the writer fails to even mention the first “Peaks” spawn, “Northern Exposure”). Inevitably, the pieces get more academic as the book continues on, though these essays are primers on the essential “TP” topics (duality, dark secrets, dreams, etc.) that are more accessible than those in David Lavery’s Full of Secrets and certainly Martha Nochimson’s migraine-inducing The Passion of David Lynch. So even if it doesn’t completely hold true to its non-academic, fan-focused goal, Fan Phenomena: Twin Peaks is still a fun read and very heartening evidence of how the series’ influence continues to resound and its fan base continues to swell.

Get Fan Phenomena: Twin Peaks on here:

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