Would Twin Peaks be cancelled as quickly today? (Plus a note on Season 1 and 2 Ratings.)

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Jonah
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Would Twin Peaks be cancelled as quickly today? (Plus a note on Season 1 and 2 Ratings.)

Post by Jonah »

I know a lot of shows are cancelled as quickly or even quicker today, but not with the kind of numbers TP had. Even beyond actual ratings, it became a worldwide phenomenon. It was huge and it was everywhere. Nowadays I think that would've gotten it at least to Season 3 or beyond.

Even within the last 10-15 years, shows that became huge hits in their first season but had second season slumps (LOST, maybe DESPERATE HOUSEWIVE, REVENGE) were renewed (and often retooled in their third season, as TP was planning to do). Now with streaming being so popular, I think that would help too, although with so many shows and audiences so used to strange and unusual ones, it's unlikely one would become as big a worldwide phenomenon as quickly.

I know there was a massive backlash against Twin Peaks in its second year but people got fed up of LOST (and to a lesser extent REVENGE) and their lack of answers, yet they ran 6 and 4 years respectively.

So, what do you think - if the show had become a major phenomenon now or even 10-15 years ago, would it have lasted longer than it did in 1991?
Last edited by Jonah on Thu Dec 17, 2020 8:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
I don't always need television shows with red curtains in the woods or magic islands - but it helps!
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Jonah
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Re: Would Twin Peaks be cancelled as quickly today?

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A note on ratings. Even at its lowest ebb, Twin Peaks was getting almost 7 and a half million views (according to Wikipedia, Season 2's 15th episode placed 85th in the ratings out of 89 shows, at 7.8 million views, leading ABC to put Twin Peaks on indefinite hiatus). When it came back, it got 9.2 million views then dropped to 7.9 and its lowest, 7.4, with 10.4 million returning - in July - for the last two episodes. A far cry from the 34 million who tuned in for the pilot or the 15-20 million who watched the first season, or the 19 million who watched the Season 2 premiere, the rest of that season averaging around 12 million views an episode (the killer reveal got 17.2) before dropping to 7 and a bit million. Most of those lower numbers would be considered good now but were deemed very low at the time, though I think 10 million returning (in July no less) plus huge international brand name recognition should have been enough to show ABC there was still interest and to justify another season, perhaps with a retooled mystery.

Overall, according to my calculations, Season 1 averaged 19-20 million viewers (with occasional spikes) and Season 2 averaged 11-12 million (with occasional spikes and drops). I have no idea what international ratings were like but I know it was very popular worldwide, especially in the UK and throughout Europe, and in Japan.
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Cappy
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Re: Would Twin Peaks be cancelled as quickly today? (Plus a note on Season 1 and 2 Ratings.)

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I don't really know -- but Supernatural has been on for like 15 years and I've never met anyone that watches it.
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Re: Would Twin Peaks be cancelled as quickly today? (Plus a note on Season 1 and 2 Ratings.)

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But yeah, I think it could have more seasons in todays media climate.

Also tv seasons can just be 8 to 13 episodes now, which would work in TP's favor. They could maintain a Season 1 level of quality control over later seasons more easily...

A sort of intangible quality to nail down would be the "Who Killed Laura Palmer?" pop culture craze -- would it still catch on like wildfire like it did in 1990? Or would it be confined to having a niche appeal like maybe Black Mirror? Having those national media moments that everyone is aware of is increasingly less likely in today's digital streaming landscape. I don't think Peaks ever gets as big as it originally did if it comes out today, but conversely it lasts longer due to established niche markets for 'unconventional' or 'weird' media consumption.
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Jonah
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Re: Would Twin Peaks be cancelled as quickly today? (Plus a note on Season 1 and 2 Ratings.)

Post by Jonah »

Cappy wrote:
A sort of intangible quality to nail down would be the "Who Killed Laura Palmer?" pop culture craze --
That would have been hard to replicate. But I imagine ABC would have wanted them to try and a new murder mystery would have inevitably and eventually followed in any Season 3 or Season 4 at the time.
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Re: Would Twin Peaks be cancelled as quickly today? (Plus a note on Season 1 and 2 Ratings.)

Post by Cappy »

I have a weird gut feeling that had the show lasted until 1993 it would've turned into a rural version of Melrose Place -- a bunch of beautiful people who struggle with the over the top events that befall them.

I can't imagine Lynch being able to deal with the networks much after that finale, even if they got that 3rd season back in 1992. And Frost, who knows. Had ABC kept the brand going they probably would've just tried to replicate popular trends with it.
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Re: Would Twin Peaks be cancelled as quickly today? (Plus a note on Season 1 and 2 Ratings.)

Post by Cappy »

Actually I watched the first episode of "American Gothic" the other day -- I feel like that's what an early 90s attempt to do Peaks w/o Lynch or Frost's involvement would look like. It has some of the trappings of Peaks (on paper anyway) but without the set design, the atmosphere, the quirky dialogue, etc.

It's just kind of ominous stuff in a rural setting.
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Jonah
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Re: Would Twin Peaks be cancelled as quickly today? (Plus a note on Season 1 and 2 Ratings.)

Post by Jonah »

Cappy wrote:I have a weird gut feeling that had the show lasted until 1993 it would've turned into a rural version of Melrose Place -- a bunch of beautiful people who struggle with the over the top events that befall them.

I can't imagine Lynch being able to deal with the networks much after that finale, even if they got that 3rd season back in 1992. And Frost, who knows. Had ABC kept the brand going they probably would've just tried to replicate popular trends with it.
I think you said in another thread, to paraphrase, it might have turned into a glossy soap that occasionally dipped into supernatural horror. Some would argue that's already what it was, though we also had so much more - the quirkiness, the offbeat detective stuff, the lodge mythology, the social commentary. Anyway, a glossy soap that occasionally dipped into supernatural horror sounds okay with me, maybe not for Twin Peaks but in general a sometimes supernatural and scary Melrose Place sounds kinda awesome lol.
Cappy wrote:Actually I watched the first episode of "American Gothic" the other day -- I feel like that's what an early 90s attempt to do Peaks w/o Lynch or Frost's involvement would look like. It has some of the trappings of Peaks (on paper anyway) but without the set design, the atmosphere, the quirky dialogue, etc.

It's just kind of ominous stuff in a rural setting.
I vaguely remember liking that on DVD, but not loving it.
Last edited by Jonah on Sat Dec 19, 2020 8:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
I don't always need television shows with red curtains in the woods or magic islands - but it helps!
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