In the premiere of FOX's Wayward Pines
, the much-anticipated 10-episode small screen adaptation of Blake Crouch's international best-selling series of books, Special Agent Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon) is having a bad, bad day. He wakes up, alone, in the middle of a dark lush forest. He's battered and bruised. Things quickly go from bad to weird, as Burke finds he has arrived in Wayward Pines, Idaho. A picture-perfect hamlet where the people are incredibly attractive but disturbingly strange.
This probably sounds like another show many people remember and love, Twin Peaks
. You know you're in for trouble when the town slogan is "When Paradise is Home." If the premiere of this psychological thriller is any indication of what's to come, here's a few reasons why you should run -- not walk -- to your Lazy-Boy.
1. It's Directed by M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Signs)
once golden boy Shyamalan, has hit a bit of sophomore/junior/senior
slump. After a string of big-screen flops, Shymalan may have found the
right medium and material to make his big comeback. The director's forte
is creepy characters and plot twists and turns that the audience won't
see coming. What could be construed as ridiculous plot holes are
interwoven with just enough reality to make the viewer question if,
under the right circumstances, the unbelievable and extraordinary can
2. It's Familiar but Unpredictable
Yes, it's a bit formulaic in the
sense that we've seen shows where the leading character, hero or
anti-hero, is put in an unfamiliar situation but what appears to be
strictly by chance. Yet, it turns out he or she or them have a purpose, a
connection that has brought them to a place that was expecting them all
along. Sound familiar?
Time isn't a constant. The story isn't
linear, the present is intermingled with the past in the form of
non-linear flashbacks. Wayward Pines
manages to be purposeful and chaotic, so
don't bother trying to think a few steps ahead.
The town exists
within the confines of the U.S., or so we think, but it's sovereign.
It's cutoff, to some degree, from everything and everyone outside its
borders. Was it designed that way or evolve from a place seemingly
mundane into something more sinister? Is it a government cover up, an
alternate dimension or some strange grandiose illusion, or a Utopia beyond Burke's wildest dreams?
be a well-intentioned good guy, or deeply troubled. We learn he's
suffered past trauma, and his sanity is questionable. He struggles to
hold on to what he believes to be true, but is bombarded with doubts,
reinforced by both strangers and those he knows and even loves. Wayward Pines
is an amalgam of film noir, psychological thriller and science fiction. It's quintissential Shymalan with a big nod to one of his films in particular, The Village
. And while Wayward Pines
may draw comparisons to shows like Under the Dome, Twin Peaks
, it is likely to carve out its own niche as the series progresses.3. It's Complexity is Astounding
is sent to Wayward Pines to find two missing agents, but what they were
doing there is a question that remains unanswered. The two arrived
together but met very different ends. Burke gets help in the form of
cryptic warnings and even a daring rescue which lets viewers know that
he's not without allies in this bizarre fishbowl.
Burke has no
wallet and no phone and the circumstances under which he arrives make
him virtually untraceable. The hospital he's admitted to appears to be
empty and manned by a disingenuous nurse named Pam (Melissa Leo), and a
"physician," Dr. Jenkins (Toby Jones), who, in addition to being eager
to perform brain surgery on the discombobulated Burke without his
consent, may also hold all of the answers as to why Burke was sent to
There are multiple conspiracies afoot, and Burke's wife, Theresa (Shannyn Sossamon), promises to be tenacious when it comes to figuring out what has happened to her husband, but since friends are now foes, she's likely to set out on her own looking for answers.4. The Locals are Colorful
has only been in Wayward Pines for one day, but most of the locals
promise to make his stay very unpleasant. Terrence Howard (Empire
the nefarious sheriff, Juliette Lewis (Cape Fear
) a woman whose very
existence could be questionable, a pushy hotel clerk, and a tavern owner, who refers to Burke by some code name after pummeling him senseless.
The pilot sets the bar high for the remaining nine episodes, but I'm optimistic viewers will not be disappointed.
The pilot of FOX's Wayward Pines
is available to watch free, ahead of the premiere, until April 30 on FOX ON DEMAND via participating pay-TV providers, including AT&T U-verse, Bright House Networks, Cablevision, Charter, Cox, DIRECTV, Mediacom, Suddenlink, Time Warner Cable, Verizon FiOS and XFININTY. Check with your local cable provider. Or you can stream on FOX
Wayward Pines Premieres Thursday, May 14 at 9pm on FOX.
(Image and video courtesy of FOX)