Ask Alan: How Much Old ‘Twin Peaks’ Must You Watch To Understand The New Ones?

Senior Television Writer
05.26.17 8 Comments

Hey everybody, it’s Friday, which means it’s Ask Alan time, as I take your questions about the past, present, and future of TV.

First up, the conclusion of the network upfronts, and the fact that trailers for most of the fall shows are already online, inspires a question about how much these shows tend to change from the versions the networks bought and the ones that will air in the fall. This was the rare Ask Alan question to be as useful to me as to the person who emailed, since answering the question helped convince me once and for all to avoid watching network pilots until I absolutely have to (whether before press tour or before premiere), just to avoid having to sit through multiple versions of the same thing.

After that, I hit a version of a question I have been asked in many, many forms over the last few weeks: how much of the original Twin Peaks does someone need to watch in order to understand the new episodes of Twin Peaks on Showtime? (If you are thinking of following my advice vis a vis Twin Peaks season two, here’s a rundown of some of the more ridiculous things you may miss as a result.)

Finally, I’m presented with a very complicated question: who is the second-best performance and/or character on Deadwood, since virtually everyone agrees that Ian McShane as Al Swearengen is the best? This was a tough one, and I literally made my picks while recording them and am still not sure I made the right choices for either one. Stupid Deadwood: too many great actors and roles!

As always, you can email me questions at, or tweet at me with the hashtag #AskAlanDay.

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