There has been a significant change in the structure of television series since Twin Peaks (Mark Frost, David Lynch) aired on ABC in 1990. Other television series directly or indirectly influenced by Twin Peaks, like The X-Files (Chris Carter, 1993), followed the path Twin Peaks opened and gave way to the era of the so-called Prestige TV or Cult TV that has known a great success starting from the 2000s. Due to a new audience emerged from Twin Peaks in 1990, genres like nighttime soaps, procedurals and sitcoms begun to abandon their pure forms and there have been significant variations in narratives, such as blending them together to create new tropes and forms as Twin Peaks did at the time. Those TV series reached the popularity and the quality level of cinema with their star actors, sophisticated screenplays, cinematography, production designs and big budgets. Thus, the authenticity of creator and the quality of authorship have gained a central role in television. Twin Peaks: The Return (2017), aired on Showtime, has brought the concept of Prestige TV to attention more than ever, changing the rules once again. Despite the not-so-shocking rates in terms of number of viewers, the series introduces some relevant elements, such as the structure (the director himself described Twin Peaks: The Return as an 18-hour movie rather than an 18-episode TV series) and the deconstruction of a single, linear timeline and reality with abstract and surrealist contemporary art as well. This paper focuses on how Twin Peaks: The Return has contributed to “Prestige TV”, with the creators’ ability in mingling the traits of the author and arthouse cinema with mainstream cinema and TV narratives, to create a particular grammar that will probably start a new era in TV series.
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