Posted on Monday, May 12th, 2014 by Russ Fischer
When a show features a slow push in towards a sign bearing a town’s folky name, especially if the setting appears to be the US Pacific Northwest, there’s no way to avoid comparisons to Twin Peaks. And when the show in question also features a lot of rustic wood interiors, quirky characters, and a federal agent arriving in town on an official errand, well, then you’re almost in SNL parody territory. But here’s the trailer for the new M. Night Shyamalan show Wayward Pines. It features all those elements, and looks to all the world like Shyamalan is just producing his own personal Twin Peaks… at least until it also starts looking a lot like The Prisoner.
Somehow, this is a real thing that people made, and other people paid for. At least Fox knows that it looks a hell of a lot like Twin Peaks, as the official marketing blurbs aren’t shy about name-checking Mark Frost and David Lynch’s show. And this is based on a novel, Pines, by Blake Crouch, so it didn’t just come out of nowhere. And maybe it goes in its own unique direction — that’s certainly possible. But at this point, a half dozen major landmark genre TV shows seem to be represented here.
The show will be presented as a 10-episode “event series,” with a cast that includes Matt Dillon, Carla Gugino, Melissa Leo, Terrence Howard, Toby Jones, Juliette Lewis, and many more.
Imagine the perfect American town… beautiful homes, manicured lawns, children playing safely in the streets. Now imagine never being able to leave. You have no communication with the outside world. You think you’re going insane. You must be in Wayward Pines. Secret Service Agent ETHAN BURKE (Academy Award nominee Matt Dillon, “Crash,” “City of Ghosts”) drives to the bucolic town of Wayward Pines, ID, searching for two missing federal agents. One of the best Secret Service agents in the Seattle office, he’s the man who knew missing agent KATE HEWSON (Carla Gugino, “Watchmen,” “Entourage”) better than anyone. They were more than partners; their relationship nearly destroyed Ethan’s marriage.
Everything changes when a truck slams into his car…and he wakes up in the Wayward Pines Hospital, with the intense and unpredictable NURSE PAM (Academy Award and Emmy Award winner Melissa Leo, “The Fighter,” “Treme”) at his bedside. It soon appears that Pam is more interested in harming than healing. She and Ethan grow into deadly rivals, and her role in the town proves much deeper than anyone realizes.
As the mysteries within the town pile up, Ethan starts to question his own sanity. He is confronted by the mysterious and charismatic DR. JENKINS (Emmy Award nominee Toby Jones, “The Girl,” the “Harry Potter” franchise), the psychiatrist who treats him at Wayward Pines Hospital. As he begins to meet some of the local residents, including toymaker HAROLD BALLINGER (Reed Diamond, “24,” “Much Ado About Nothing”), Ethan forms a bond with BEVERLY (Academy Award and Emmy Award nominee Juliette Lewis, “Hysterical Blindness,” “Cape Fear”), a bartender who is as wary of Wayward Pines as he is.
Back home in Seattle, Ethan’s wife, THERESA BURKE (Shannyn Sossamon, “40 Days and 40 Nights,” “How to Make It in America”), a former Secret Service Agent trainee, is informed by Ethan’s boss, ADAM HASSLER (Tim Griffin, “Prime Suspect”), that early testing shows Ethan was never in the car which was recovered on the side of the road outside of Wayward Pines. They’re still investigating. But this isn’t enough for Theresa. So she sets out on her own search for her husband, along with their teenage son, BEN (Charlie Tahan, “The Harvest,” “Charlie St. Cloud”).
Meanwhile, Ethan is challenged at every turn by the town’s die-hard residents, especially SHERIFF ARNOLD POPE (Academy Award nominee Terrence Howard, “Crash,” “Hustle & Flow”), who takes offense at a Secret Service agent showing up on his turf. Ethan’s continuing investigation only turns up more and more questions, and each one leads him to the most important question of all: What’s wrong with Wayward Pines?
WAYWARD PINES is a production of FX Productions. The series was developed for television by Chad Hodge (“The Playboy Club,” “Runaway”) and executive-produced by M. Night Shyamalan, Donald De Line (“Green Lantern,” “The Italian Job”), Hodge and Ashwin Rajan (“After Earth,” “Devil”). Hodge wrote and Shyamalan directed the premiere episode.