As we enter Twin Peaks finale, let’s examine its success

Twin Peaks finaleThe Twin Peaks finale is airing on Showtime Sunday night, and it marks the culmination of a complex, fascinating, and sometimes-confusing run this summer.

What the show did was beyond ambitious — Mark Frost and David Lynch were involved in just about every aspect of the show, as they co-wrote every installment and Lynch also directed every one. Meanwhile, they’ve drive a substantial amount of attention to Showtime and left critics writing many a think-piece about the show all season long. We know that there are some out there who love the revival and feel like it’s close to what the original once was. Meanwhile, we also know that there are others who are infuriated that something so bizarre is getting the acclaim that it is. Lynch has long been polarizing, and that wouldn’t have changed even if he had never opted to make this.

If you were to just look at the Twin Peaks ratings, it’s hard to proclaim that the show is a runaway hit by any means — the show is averaging just 300,000 viewers an episode, far lower than many other premium cable programs. Yet, Showtime is a different beast than an AMC or an FX in that what the network cares about is getting people to sign up for the service as opposed to just watching the show live and getting ad revenue. They don’t have any ads. If the majority of the people watching Twin Peaks became Showtime subscribers just to watch it, the show is a hit.

Well, Showtime head David Nevins told The Hollywood Reporter recently that the network has held on to a great deal of the record-number of free trial subscribers that it got early in May to watch the series on their streaming service. Basically, they were able to turn a lot of these people into paying customers. Some of these people probably won’t stick around when Twin Peaks is over, but the network will have still made a decent amount of money. That’s enough for them to be reasonably satisfied in the end.

We’re going to address more of the renewal question tomorrow leading up to the final episodes airing, but for now let’s just say that it feels fairly doubtful that Showtime is going to order more — even if Twin Peaks made them money, this feels more like a standalone experiment than something meant to be long-running.

Leading up to the Twin Peaks finale, what did you think about the show as a whole? Share now in the attached comments! (Photo: Showtime.)

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