Dearest David Lynch,
I write this letter to you as a concerned and interested fan. I have been following your work for as long as I can remember. Blue Velvet blew my mind. Mulholland Drive is possibly the greatest film I have ever seen by anyone, ever. Don’t even get me started on Twin Peaks.
Actually, let’s get me started on Twin Peaks.
For those university students unfamiliar with the aforementioned series, I am sorry for you. Worse yet, I am disappointed in you. Some history; David Lynch is an American filmmaker with an almost anti-Hollywood approach. His first film, Eraserhead, changed how people thought about making movies. If you watch it you will likely hate it beyond understanding; it’s an acquired taste. Similarly, Lynch’s latest film, Inland Empire, is equally acquired. It has no discernible plot; it’s mostly Laura Dern running through backlots, crosscut with eastern European prostitutes and abstract noise.
Now, in 1990, ABC gave David Lynch his own television series. What? Giving someone who makes abstract art films a network television show? Does that make sense? No, but it was brilliant. It had a long, involved story arc, many unexplained characters and events and made liberal use of dream sequences.
Predictably, it was canceled after only two seasons due to low ratings. But ABC also had its fingers in Mr. Lynch’s business, changing the creative direction of the show. Mr. Lynch has not returned to television since.
Anyway, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we are now in a golden age of television. The standard of writing and production has gone up considerably in the past 20 years. Now is the time, Mr. Lynch. Now is the time for your triumphant return to television. We have room in our tiny laymen’s brains for your genius again. To illustrate my point I will cite three television shows that prove we, as a populace, are ready again.
First and foremost, The Wire. If you have not watched The Wire, go now. Stop reading this and go watch The Wire. No hyperbole, just go watch The Wire. Although consistently ignored while it was on the air, it has been hailed by critics (and me) as the best television series ever made. It’s more like a novel than a television series. Over 60 episodes, there is not a single scene — not even a single line of dialogue — that is not necessary. It is that involved. To try to summarize it in a paragraph is impossible.
What I am trying to say is that, we have seen the extreme of plot arcs on television. You can’t jump into The Wire halfway through — you can’t even miss an episode. There are no flashbacks, ever. It’s a tangled web, one that repays investment. Throw-away dialogue in the first season ends up coming back three seasons later. It’s more like literature than television.
We can take it, Mr. Lynch. We can take your crazy tangled webs.
Secondly, I cite Lost. Personally, I am no big fan. There are too many boring episodes between the episodes where something happens. It does, however, have a great deal of mysterious and unexplained content. Seriously, one character is a fucking killer cloud. There’s a polar bear on the island! Sometimes this island goes back in time. Nobody knows what the hell is going on.
We’ve also seen series creator J.J. Abrams ascend to auteur status. Everyone assumes he can do no wrong now. This is the perfect environment for you, Mr. Lynch. Make whatever you want happen. A giant squid who is also a clock that loves carrots has a dangerous crush on a semi truck? That’s the opening scene. Your audience will tolerate you. Better yet, we will celebrate you.
Thirdly, I cite The Sopranos. This is the series that turned the bus that was television around for the better. It is notable for many reasons, but my main point involves its liberal use of dream sequences. Entire episodes of The Sopranos have been devoted to revealing narrative through dreams. Characters’ teeth fall out. They become different people. Nothing is entirely certain.
This is your forte, Mr. Lynch. Twin Peaks’ dwarf dream is probably the weirdest thing I have ever seen. If you haven’t seen it, Youtube “Twin Peaks Dwarf Dream.” Get ready for weird.
So, lets put all these elements together. Long story arcs, mysterious unexplained events and a liberal use of dream imagery — that’s Lynch in a heartbeat. But we can take it. I swear we can. These shows have been difficult and successful. You can be difficult on television, Mr. Lynch, and you can be successful.
So Mr. David Lynch, I beseech you, try television again. I know you tried to come back in 2000 when you started Mulholland Drive as an ABC pilot. But I am sure another network like AMC or, better yet, HBO will bankroll you. We’ve been weaned on great television, and we’re ready for your insane, mobius strip version of solid food. It’s the Golden Age, Mr. Lynch, and time for you to come back. Whatever you make, I think we’ll watch. I’ll watch it.
Superfan Ben Clarkson