After a major car accident, Agent Burke wakes up in the middle of the woods with no wallet, no phone, and no idea where he is. Based off of a series of books titled “Pines: The Wayward Pines trilogy” by Blake Church, Fox’s 10 part miniseries premieres Thursday, May 14.
Produced by M. Knight Shyamalan (“The Sixth Sense,” “Unbreakable”) “Wayward Pines” tells the story of Ethan Burke played by Matt Dillon (“There’s Something About Mary”) as a Secret Service agent looking for two missing colleagues.
He stumbles upon a small town in Idaho called Wayward Pines, which feels like everyone’s worst nightmare when you think of small towns in the U.S. Everyone knows everyone’s business, everyone seems threatened by Agent Burke, and everyone is extremely friendly–almost too friendly.
Thus begins Agent Burke’s attempts to try and solve the mystery of Wayward Pines. He meets resistance from Nurse Pam, played by Oscar winner Melissa Leo, Sheriff Pope, played by a genuinely threatening Terrance Howard, and Dr. Jenkins, played by Toby Jones, and makes an ally of the mysterious woman Beverly, played by Juliette Lewis.
Of the episodes I watched, I was literally sitting at the edge of my chair. This is one of those shows where you should pay attention to details, because it will definitely come back in the end. Think some type of blending of “Pleasantville,” “1984,” “Twin Peaks,” “Lost,” and a little bit of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”
The twists are easily one of the best parts of the show.
The atmosphere of “Wayward Pines” is easily the strongest thing offered. Shyamalan directed the first episode, and has a reputation for throwing in bizarre twists that don’t always make sense, or seemingly ruin the story. This is not the case in “Wayward Pines.” I’m not going to spoil it, because it’s too good of a twist, but just trust me when I say, they’ll keep you guessing.
Of the episodes I’ve watched, there are one or two revealing moments that caused me to yell, “WHAT?”
The acting is surprisingly really well done. Matt Dillon has been in and out of acting parts since his Oscar nomination for “Crash.” The part of Ethan Burke works well for him. The audience learns he’s a heroic archetype but he’s not 100 percent a good guy. He’s made mistakes and hasn’t been the most attentive husband and father. However he’s still likable and entertaining. We want to see this guy solve this mystery and get back to his family.
His wife Theresa, played by Shannyn Sossaman and Jocelyn from “A Knight’s Tale,” is also very likable. She knows her husband’s indiscretions and while she’s obviously irritated with them, she’s determined to be a good mother and wife who’s determined to find her husband and keep her family intact. Her teenage son is a typical teenage character. But he’s also given his own story arch and it’s interesting.
The characters that live in Wayward Pines are all eccentric and different. Sheriff Pope is a threatening presence and a strong opposing force against Dillon, but he’s not villainized. In fact, none of the characters are. Without giving too much away, there’s really not a central villain. Each character is given a different perspective and you understand their motivations even if you may not agree with their decisions.
Other standouts include Toby Jones, Dr. Anrim Zola from the Marvel films and the voice of Dobby in the “Harry Potter” films, as the town psychiatrist. Jones has a reputation as a strong character actor and this part is another to add to his repertoire. Melissa Leo, Oscar winner for her role in “The Fighter” stands out, as well as Nurse Pam, who is eerily similar to Nurse Rachett from “Once Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” She’s dressed in a uniform from the 1950s and carries a giant syringe full of who knows what.
I think if you like “Twin Peaks,” this miniseries will be a good wait until the proposed reboot comes out from HBO. It fills that void, and is very similar stylistically. If you want a good mystery, an interesting and intruding story with characters that are made up of a diverse cast, give it a watch. If you’re a reader check out the book series. I certainly will this summer.
Final Verdict- 10/10
Photo Credit: FOX Network