Wayward Pines Review – TV FOX

The best thing about Wayward Pines, the new, short-run effort coming to FOX, is watching how it attempts to learn from the mistakes of similar shows that have come before.

From the less-than-stellar “remake” of The Prisoner with Jim Caviezel and Ian McKellen, to the largely goofball Persons Unknown (which was, sort of, The Prisoner 2: The Group), and everything else in the “trapped in a town” genre, the story can’t work if the characters are empty plot devices.

Wayward Pines is a rare example of setting out with the tropes and traps of a genre in order to dodge the pitfalls inherent in telling a type of story that can never fully distance itself from the fact that it’s pretty goofy. The problem is that while the show clearly tries to look at what made other efforts fall apart, and do those things differently, it isn’t paying enough attention to all the new ways to fly off the rails that it’s creating.
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Thus, there’s a strange familiarity with everything (there’s no end to the plot points that demand you think of the dozens of times you’ve seen them before), and because things play out in those ways better than we expect, it’s rather gripping. Unfortunately, it’s never long before the show loses its audience to almost random moves that are more problematic than the things it fixed.

Wayward Pines FOX Matt Dillon

Based on a series of books, which by all accounts are really good, the show centers on Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon), a Secret Service agents who has been sent to find two other agents who have disappeared. He wakes up in Wayward Pines, ID, with little idea what’s going on, but after having clearly been in an accident.

Things quickly get very weird, especially with the appearance of Nurse Pam (Melissa Leo), who seems like she would be more at home in American Horror Story: Hospital than anywhere she is expected to seem even the slightest bit normal. Ethan is clearly dazed and confused, but he can still tell when something is off. buy augmentin online https://blackmenheal.org/wp-content/languages/new/mg/augmentin.html no prescription

With his wallet and phone missing, he heads to the local dive to use the phone, and runs into Beverly (Juliette Lewis), who gives him a cryptic message about crickets, and an address. With little time to build a serious amount of tension, the game is on, as Ethan suddenly finds himself not only in the middle of Spooky Town, but in a somewhat disturbing shift of form, the residents don’t even really pretend it isn’t Spooky Town.

It makes for a rough ride, and one that will have a hard time keeping viewers after the first (and definitely the second) episode, mostly because what it does well is fighting so hard against what’s terrible. For all that it pulls you along through a rather creepy atmosphere, and kudos to M. Night Shyamalan (who hasn’t deserved any in a while), it also throws Ethan’s reactions in your face and dares you to play along with the idea that he’s just going to play along… which is ludicrous. buy elavil online https://blackmenheal.org/wp-content/languages/new/mg/elavil.html no prescription

Beyond the overall style, and the fact that this is obviously a general subject people have some interest in, the acting is so solid that it becomes its own distraction. With the exception of Terrence Howard’s Sheriff, who is too far over-the-top to be watchable (which isn’t his fault), everyone sucks you into the thing and nearly demands that you fall for it. This only serves to make things that much more irritating when you start scratching your head.

If you can write off logic, this one may be a good time, and it has everything but the story working in its favor. But, here’s another unique road Wayward Pines takes us down, because even though I may eventually be forced to make fun of you if you keep watching it, I’m still inclined to recommend that you start. You may find a guilty pleasure you can laugh at, but nevertheless enjoy.

The verdict for this show is actually pretty easy to sum up. In any show remotely in the same sub-genre as Wayward Pines, there’s always that background question audiences have to ask themselves, and at some point the “goodness” of the show is going to depend on how any particular telling of the story deal with it. That question is this, “At what point would your average person (or average Secret Service agent) just go First Blood on the situation and start picking people off and hiding in the forest.” Well, I’ve adjusted the question a bit for the show.

Wayward Pines is, given this question, something along the lines of a story-by-non-sequitur, because it’s hard to find the argument that we don’t reach the point of no return halfway into the first episode, which makes everything that follows uninteresting.

On the other hand, people keep watching (and agreeing to be in) American Horror Story, so it’ll probably be the next big hit.


The 10-episode intense, psychological thriller, based on Blake Crouch’s international best-selling series of books and adapted for television by Chad Hodge (“Runaway,” “The Playboy Club”), is brought to life by suspenseful storyteller and Academy Award nominee M. Night Shyamalan (“The Sixth Sense,” “Signs”).

The series stars Academy Award nominee Matt Dillon (“Crash”) as a Secret Service agent on a mission to find two missing federal agents in the bucolic town of Wayward Pines, ID.

In addition to Dillon, the stellar cast includes Academy and Emmy Award WINNER Melissa Leo (“The Fighter”), Academy Award nominee Terrence Howard (“Crash,” “Hustle & Flow,” EMPIRE), Carla Gugino (“Entourage,” “San Andreas”), Shannyn Sossamon (“How to Make It in AMERICA”), Toby Jones (“Infamous,” “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”), Reed Diamond (“24,” “Much Ado About Nothing”), Tim Griffin (“Prime Suspect”), Charlie Tahan (“Charlie St. CLOUD”), Academy Award and Emmy Award nominee Juliette Lewis (“Cape Fear”) and Hope Davis (“Allegiance,” “In Treatment”).



Marc Eastman
Marc Eastman
Marc Eastman is the owner and operator of Are You Screening? and co-host of the Are You Screening? podcast with co-host Shane Leonard. He has been writing film reviews for over 20 years, and several branches of the internet's film review world have seen his name. He has been member of the Critics Choice Awards for well over a decade.

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