Before David Lynch revived Twin Peaks for Showtime, the surreal US drama had a brief second life in a bizarre series of Japanese coffee commercials.
For reasons that evaded Japanese film critics (paywall) at the time, the 1990s TV show about a murder in a small American town was a huge hit in Japan, even after it was cancelled in 1991. It developed a cult-like following there of fans who found the series through videocassette tapes and the satellite-TV channel Wowow. The 1992 prequel film that followed the series, Fire Walk With Me, flopped in the US, but performed exceedingly well in Japan, where it was released first.
To build on that success—and make some extra cash—co-creator Lynch and some of the core cast reprised their roles in four commercials for Coca-Cola’s Japanese canned coffee brand Georgia Coffee in 1993. Viewers may recall that the show’s main character, FBI Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) did enjoy a “damn fine cup.”
The ads were set in Twin Peaks and told the story of a Japanese man who was searching for his missing wife, with the help of Agent Cooper.
Each commercial uncovered a new clue that led to the show’s mysterious Black Lodge, where Cooper rescued the woman.
Georgia reportedly planned to follow the commercials up with a second series of ads. But the plans were scrapped. Apparently, the show didn’t sell coffee to Japanese customers as well as it sold its offbeat characters to audiences in the show.
Nonetheless, the ads make for some fun viewing while fans wait for the true revival, which premieres on Showtime on Sunday (May 21) at 9pm ET/PT.