Twin Peaks is set to return in 2016, 25 years after it was cruelly cancelled by studio executives. At its peak, it was among the most cutting edge, avant garde pieces of television ever made, and it paved the way for the kind of quality drama we now take for granted.
Steve Dinneen, Alex Dymoke
Its central tenet was simple: who killed Laura Palmer? Director extraordinaire David Lynch then introduced us to a host of kooky and creepy characters who would remain in the public consciousness for decades to come, from the Log Lady to the mysterious Man From Another Place (pictured).
But after the start of the second season, some studio exec genius decided that the mystery of who killed Laura Palmer should be solved, leading to Lynch leaving the show and the remaining episodes losing all direction. After limping on for 15 more episodes, Twin Peaks was axed, leaving a multitude of unanswered questions that we may, in 2016, finally learn the answers to. Twin Peaks wasn’t the only show unfairly cut before its time: here are some others we’d love to see return.
This Chanel 4 original was the best British drama of the decade. Shot in a garish palette, it followed a group of people who learn about a top secret conspiracy involving a potentially catastrophic virus. It was smart, surreal and unashamedly violent. But after ratings dwindled during the second season, the planned upcoming two series were dropped. Now we’ll have to console ourselves with the David Fincher remake for HBO.
One of the greatest series ever made, Deadwood was a foul-mouthed Shakespearian epic, starring Ian McShane as the drunken anti-hero in a pioneering gold-mining town. As the show’s three series developed the language and themes became increasing grandiloquent, blurring the lines between populist television and high art. But after the third season the axe fell, leaving writers no time to tie up any loose ends. That we will never learn the fate of McShane’s Al Swearengen is one of television's greatest travesties.
Joss Whedon is now Hollywood royalty, writing and directing some of the biggest blockbusters ever made, including Marvel’s Avengers Assemble. He made his name with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, going on to write the sublime space western Firefly. However, problems with the studio – including the bizarre decision to air episodes out of order – led to poor ratings and it was cut after just one season.
It seems absurd that this smart teen drama lasted just a solitary season when its successor Dawson’s Creek flogged the same horse for six seasons. My So-called Life introduced the world to Claire Danes and Jared Leto, who were doing the whole wise-cracking, smart-talking teens thing long before Dawson’s Creek’s Kevin Williamson or Buffy’s Joss Whedon. For reasons not entirely of its making – it was pitted against some real heavyweights in the TV schedule – ratings never quite matched the quality of the show and it was axed. Perhaps now would be the time to bring Lets and Danes back to see how their characters turned out.
Despite a flying start that saw it win both critical acclaim and excellent ratings, ABC cancelled Pushing Daisies after only its second season. The story centred on Ned, a pie-maker with a special talent allowing him to bring people back to life with just one touch; a concept that proved too quirky for sustained mainstream success. Though the critical acclaim never let up, the ratings did, and it was pulled. Bereft fans can look forward to a Broadway musical rumoured to take place at some point in the next couple of years.
It may be a cartoon but Monkey Dust is about as child-friendly as a night on the razz with Lindsay Lohan. Darker, than dark, it entertained a small but devoted fan-base for three seasons from 2003 until 2005 when writer Harry Thompson tragically died of lung cancer aged 45. Monkey Dust’s razor sharp, pitch black comedy regularly tipped over into tragedy, with bestiality, murder, suicide, divorce and paedophilia its stock in trade.