"Twin Peaks" finally returns to the air tonight (8 p.m., Ch. 4), and it's not a moment too soon for a good number of Peaks Freaks.

According to the ratings, there aren't all that many fans of the show left out there. (Of course, we're still talking about several million.) But those fans that have remained with the quirky show are particularly devoted."Save Twin Peaks" movements sprang up around the country. (Including one organized locally by radio station KJQ.)

ABC Entertainment President Robert Iger has been inundated by more than 10,000 letters - from all parts of the United States as well as Great Britain, Ireland, Colombia, Germany and Australia - demanding the show be returned to the air. Some of those letters were emotional:

- One came from a Army nurse stationed in Saudi Arabia: "I protest! It's bad enough to have missed episodes (of "Twin Peaks"), but much worse to think it won't be there for me when I get home."

- "When I heard `Twin Peaks' was to be canceled, I cried." (Seymour, Wisc.)

- "I want my `Twin Peaks.' It was all that I have to live for." (Omaha, Neb.)

- "I cannot imagine life without `Twin Peaks." ' (Evergreen, Colo.)

Some were threatening:

- Written with cut-out, pasted-up letters: "Cancel `Twin Peaks' and die, you capitalist swine." (Milwaukee, Wisc.)

- Another cut-and-paste letter: "Bring back `Twin Peaks' - or else . . . " (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada).

- "Put `Twin Peaks' back on the air or go home in a body bag." (Glen Gardner, N.J.)

Others pretty much got into the spirit of the show:

- "Please bring back `Twin Peaks.' I promise to be a good girl; I'll keep my room clean, eat all my vegetables and brush my teeth after every meal." (Oakland, Calif.)

- "My mother and I fight quite a bit, but we do agree on one thing: `Twin Peaks' is the best damn program on television." (Bettendorf, Iowa).

- "Call the FBI. `Twin Peaks' is missing . . . " (League City, Texas).

- "Save `Twin Peaks,' you turkeys." (Mount Laurel, N.J.)

Some were exceptionally long - including one 11-page letter with the phrase "Bring Back Twin Peaks" printed more than 1,500 times.

Other, more imaginative pleas were more than just letters:

- A 12-lb. fireplace log (like the one carried by the Log Lady), with a letter of protest nailed to it.

- A formal resolution by the Michigan State Senate: "WHEREAS many of the people of Michigan are desirous of the immediate return of the series . . . "

- Boxes of doughnuts (which ABC staffers believe may have been bribes).

- A rubber hand (possibly Laura Palmer's) with slivers of wood inserted under the fingernails.

- Chess pieces, with a note: "It's your move, Bob."

- A can of corn labeled Twin Peaks Quality, complete with instructions on how the series should be broadcast and promoted.

- Two dozen used golf balls (like the ones the murderer Leland Palmer putted in his living room).

- A 10-foot, computer-generated banner: ATLANTA SAYS KEEP PEAKS!!

- An 18-foot banner: KEEP TWIN PEAKS ON THE AIR!!!

- Sixty cents in coins so that Bob Iger can buy "a damn good cup of coffee."

All of this for a show that hasn't even been canceled - yet. It was just placed on hiatus, and the six remaining first-run episodes begin tonight.

But, if the ratings don't show a good bit of improvement, these six episodes will be the last - and you can bet if "Peaks" really is canceled, the letter writing (and log-sending) campaign will begin all over again.MEMORABILIA: If you're wondering what happened to the shirt Agent Cooper was wearing when he was shot last season, it'll be auctioned off at a Minnesota high school this weekend.

The shirt - bullet holes and all - was donated to St. John's Prep school by the show's co-producer.RECAP AND PREVIEW: When last we left "Twin Peaks," Josie had just died, BOB had appeared in the room (had he been in possession of the dead woman?) and Josie's spirit had somehow been captured in a wooden knob on the dresser.

I don't get it either.

Anyway, tonight we'll learn that Cooper is attracted to a beautiful, reclusive woman; Truman falls to pieces grieving over the death of Josie; Donna Hayward receives a macabre family visitor; Audrey Horne falls in love; Nadine Hurley and Mike Nelson check into the Great Northern Hotel; and Ben Horne hosts an environmental benefit.

But don't expect to really understand what's going on. That's part of the charm of "Twin Peaks."