#29 - Twin Peaks Fans


This Nickscast are entering the spooky woods, going beneath the surface to see what’s really going on in the weird world of Twin Peaks fandom! Why did it get a revival? Are there really a lot of Twin Peaks fans? We’ll get the fans-eye view (and no backwards talking) on this week’s episode!

Next week, we’ll be jacking-in to our new deck and diving into the world of fans of Cyberpunk!

Episode outline

Fandom Facts

There’s likely as much mystery surrounding the fandom as there is surrounding the show.
— T

Twin Peaks was a cult TV series that ran for two seasons in the early 1990s created by David Lynch and Mark Frost. It received a film prequel in 1992 (Fire Walk With Me), and will have a revival this month on Showtime. The story begins around the murder of a high-school homecoming queen and quickly changes to… something different entirely.

Fandom Demographics:
Hard to estimate size: The Twin Peaks festival has about 7000 followers on Twitter, and the Twin Peaks subreddit has about 24000 subscribers.

Looking at IMDB, the majority are people between ages 30-44, skewing towards male. Looking at the IMDB data, there are 120 000 ratings for Twin Peaks. To get a sense of scale, Batman Begins has about 1 million ratings (as does Avatar), Disney’s the Lion King has about 700 000, and the X-files has about 160 000.

Changes in Fandom:
Interest in the fandom has remained relatively constant (relative to the peak) according to Google Trends with some spikes since the announcement of a revival in October 2014.

One of the largest fan festivals, the Twin Peaks Festival, has attendance capped at about 200 people, though previously attendance was less than 100 people, typically. Starting in about 2012 it started to sell out, indicating there is some more recent interest in the show.

The first year I went it took, I think, over a month for the tickets to sell out. This year, it took less than a day.
— Matt

Around the world:
Fans from around the world: mostly North America, but also UK, Spain, Germany, Poland, Italy, Japan, Russia, Brazil

When you go to the [Twin Peaks] Fest they give you a pamphlet with the names of all the attendees and the countries they’re from.
— Matt

Related fandoms:
X-files, Northern Exposure


For the love of cherry pie, why is no one writing me Twin Peaks fic? Okay, so the series is going on 15 years old, all but passed into media oblivion, and the fan-writers have long since migrated to other series, leaving behind only stories fossilized in now inaccessible print zines, since their time was but the dawning of the Internet. But still. We’re talking one of the worst cliffhangers ever inflicted on fen, with no canonical closure ever granted. I need fic. I crave it.
Fanlore: Twin Peaks

Archive of our own has only about 450 fanfics, and Fanfiction.net also has a fairly small contingent at about 180.

Some of the fanzines that they [Fanlore] referenced were just strictly fanfic and at least two of them were like one-hundred fifty plus page fanfic novels.
— Z

The only fanfic we ever featured on our show was a slash fic between Cooper and Truman.
— Matt

My favourite little bit from the Fanlore article is “a common trope is ‘fix it’ fic for the second season finale”.
— G

Worth noting is that David Lynch loves reading people's fan theories though!

Last episode’s Famous Last Words

Z: David Bowie’s appearance in Fire Walk With Me significantly increased sales of his music.

T: Matt, can you confirm his [Nick Z’s] ludicrous claim?
Matt: No, I cannot, but I would highly doubt it.

For those of you joining us late, welcome to the David Bowie podcast…
— T

G: Did Twin Peaks have a notable effect on coffee and donut consumption in the US?

  • Hard to quantify, but based on the growth of Starbucks at the time (number of franchise locations and expansion of its headquarters), its possible!

T: If Twin Peaks is a show that wrapped up the plot, then kept going, then ended… why would it get a sequel?

What did we discuss?

The Twin Peaks Revival ~ How Twin Peaks “survived” its second season via fandom ~ David Lynch’s directing style ~ Television and storytelling in the early 90s ~ Distinction between David Lynch fans and Twin Peaks fans ~ The Beginning of Supernatural television and “Mystery Box” shows ~ The unpredictability of Twin Peaks ~ fans attempting to decipher an answerless mystery ~ The influence of the Pacific Northwest on television ~

Are you in, or out?

Z is in.

Looking back now, I couldn’t tell you why I decided to start watching it through once a year but I still really enjoy it … it’s a show that keeps on giving.
— Z

T is out.

I’m on this weird line … Do I want to watch this? Am I just going to watch this out of morbid curiousity?
— T

  • T will watch the first three episodes of the series to give it a shot… probably

By the end of the season I’m going to have a big viewing library
— T

G is in.

There would be lots to glean from a second and, I assume, a third, fourth, and fifth viewing.
— G

Matt is in.

This week’s spotlight

The Race Against Time
Now in its third year of running, the Race Against Time is the Nickscast’s annual charity livestream where we work our way though Chrono Trigger, unlocking all its endings, and also raising money for the Alzheimer Society of Canada. Last year we raised over $1200 CAD, and have plans to surpass that!

This year, the event will be held August 12 through to August 13, starting at 10am ET. You can subscribe on Twitch.tv/theraceagainsttime in anticipation of the event!

Famous Last Words

This week’s famous last words around next week’s fandom: Cyberpunk fans!

Will Cyberpunk 2077 be the greatest game of all time? Discuss.

How important is the punk to cyberpunk (politically) in 2017?

Have the graphics that cyberpunks make improved since the 1990 Cyberpunks movie?

Is Cyberpunk still a thing? Or is it an aesthetic?

Where can I learn more about Matt Humphrey?

You can check out Matt’s Twin Peaks Podcast, or one of his many other projects, such as…

Where can you find us online?

We are everywhere! Most notably though, we like to hang out in a few places on social media:

  • If you want to help us to create more amazing fannish content, become a patron on Patreon; even as little as a dollar a month really helps us out!
  • For all the latest updates, check us out on Facebook or Twitter
  • To see the latest hijinx from our conventions or even our daily lives and adventures, check us out on Instagram
  • For our latest convention updates, Let’s Plays, and other in-real-life video, check out our YouTube channel
  • We’re also on iTunes, and Google Play, and would love it if you could leave a review and rating!
  • if you want to reach us, and for some reason none of those work for you, try nick@thenickscast.com
  • You can check out our website; that will mostly bring you back to this stuff.
  • Everything is thenickscast, so if you can’t find us, go on your social network and search for that!
  • … You’re still looking for ways to reach out? You can also use the hashtag #fanthro on Twitter!

What is “Fanthropological”?

How did you read this far without asking this question?!

Fanthropological is an anthropological (ish) podcast where we bring the fan’s-eye view to you! Each week, we take a look at a different fandom, dig up interesting background, trivia, and history, and try to get to why it is that people are a fan. We also try to highlight good causes related to that fandom, and find interesting things that fans have created to share those to the world. Each episode is about an hour. Ish.

Who is “The Nickscast”?

We are the Nickscast! Three products of late-80s / early-90s pop culture who love exploring fandom and everything geek … who also happen to have been best buddies since high school, and all happen to be named Nick. Yes, we are super creative. Dare we say, the most creative.


We are Nick Green, Nick Terwoord, and Nick Zacharewicz: We started the Nickscast as a labour of love, and as a place to entertain and to discuss our love of fans and fandom, and all that is shiny and interesting in that realm. It’s what lead us to start our first podcast, our satellite podcasts, Fanthropological, and so much more.

We want to help others learn more about different fandoms, and to create empathy with other fans: We dream of a world where other fans aren’t “those Weird-o’s”, but just folks with different tastes. A world where fandom is full of discourse and analysis, and there are plenty of tools and resources to help. Fans building communities to do good in the world. Because everyone’s a fan.

Notable quotes from this episode

I am pretty much out of my element this week.
— T

I am so much in my element right now that I feel like a fish in a percolator.
— Z

I kind of blasphemed right before this: I had chai tea. 
— Matt

I have a border of a puzzle. And I don’t know where I put the box. Maybe I never had the rest of the box, who knows!
— T

Z: …Basically, my statement is compeltely indefensible. 
G: We’re all completely shocked here.

G: Who’s next?
T: I’m gonna go with G and I’m hoping you have a much shorter answer.

Not a lot of shows have been on the air for one or two seasons and then have managed to see it come back from the edge. Firefly fans are still waiting for that.
— T

Questions aggressively unanswered, I would say, at the finale of the second season. 
— G

I think it would have cemented its status as … just something that went completely off the rails and was just the prime example of a complete failure. 
— Matt (regarding the “doorknob” episode)

It’s an enigma wrapped in a mystery wrapped in a plastic sheet…
— G

T: But then the show ends and… there’s all sorts of loose ends that are never resolved.
Matt: That’s what hurts so bad.

You don’t just call up the mayor of Portland and get him on the phone.
— G

You have to explain why things are happening to people. They can’t all be ramped shots and drawer pulls.
— G

T: Drawer Pulls? Like, a knob?
Matt: You’ve never been trapped in one of those?
T: See, now I am definitely out of my element.

The woods in Twin Peaks are evil and that wood must have been manufactured in Twin Peaks I guess?
— Matt (regarding characters trapped in drawer pulls)

I was wondering if there is anyone for whom Twin Peaks is not Lynch enough.
— G

There’s a lot of just “what is Twin Peaks”? … while the central mystery that drove the show ended, the show itself is just a bigger mystery.
— G

There’s no clear answers in the show. You’ve gotta use your noggin’.
— Matt

Do you want to do a cop show? The executives would be like “Yeah great, but maybe he’s a ghost!”
— Matt

Stop re-imagining things as police procedurals!
— G

People love to talk about the mysteries that don’t get solved.
— Matt

…I never really questioned the first couple times I watched the show how bad Cooper is at his job.
— Matt

He even admits it at one point in one of the episode. He’s like, “I’ve relied on bureau method, and luck, and intuition, and Tibetan method, and now I need some magic”. And I’m like, do proper detective work please!
— Matt

Z: I don’t want to turn this into a Twin Peaks theory podcast…
G: Yeah you do!

There’s some strange people out there who are obsessive and I don’t like those people, so I would change them!
— Matt (on what to change about Twin Peaks fandom)

The final episode is the greatest episode of television I’ve ever seen.
— Matt


Special thanks to Matt Humphrey (our guest) for taking the time to chat with us late into the night!



Music / Sound

  • All music and sound for this week’s episode were provided by Nick Green!


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