Wayward Pines Begins on Fox

Category: Television


When M. Night Shyamalan first read the script for the new Wayward Pines 10-episode series on FOX, he was a little baffled, as viewers will understand when they see the first episode. To say there are a lot of questions as to what is going on in this seemingly perfect town is an understatement.


As Shyamalan, the Executive Producer and Director of this series explained to the media, “I was reading in bed and my wife was coming to bed and I had the little lamp on and I finished it. It was 60‑some pages and I finished it, and I didn’t understand how any of this could make sense, all of these things. But I had one question in mind, so I got on the phone, called everyone and I said, ‘All right, I just finished it. As long as everybody isn’t dead, I’m in.’” So if you think everyone is dead in Wayward Pines when you first begin watching it, and it is all taking place in heaven, you can be assured they are alive.


Okay, so what exactly is going on in this beautiful mountain town in Idaho? (The show was actually filmed in Canada.) Why all the mystery? Why are people so perfect? Why can’t they leave the perimeter of the town? According to the filmmakers and actors, that all gets explained halfway through the season in episode five.


As Shyamalan, who has been nominated for several awards for his writing and directing, said, “For me, if you had to say what’s the thing that’s groundbreaking about the show, the thing for me about the show is that halfway through the season, it becomes an entirely different genre, and I find that awesome. For me in particular, the thing that draws me to making movies and the ones I write is like slamming two genres together that shouldn’t be together and kind of how they can be complementary. In this one, you think you’re watching one genre and then it flips to the other genre. It has equal muscles in both genres, so you’re referencing muscles from one genre and we have other muscles yet to be shown.”


According to costar Carla Gugino, “The mystery continues even as you start to understand who these people are and you get a different context.” So even though the truth of what this town is all about is revealed in episode five, the last half of the show still has plenty of intrigue to keep viewers coming back. Gugino’s costar, Melissa Leo, echoed that sentiment, saying, “You’ve gotten to know the characters halfway through. Now you understand what their circumstances are and you are attached, in my viewing of it, to the characters.”


The lead actor in the show is veteran Matt Dillon, who has had a long career in show business beginning in 1979, and has garnered many award nominations, including one for his performance in the film Crash. “I’m drawn to atmospheric projects, and I like this,” Dillon stated.


“For me, the most important thing is that [for] the characters, that there’s logic behind everything that they are doing. It doesn’t have to make sense to anybody but that individual, but there has to be truthfulness to who the characters are, and I think we all felt that.,” the lead actor said. “This show is particularly tricky because you have different levels of reality for everybody, you know. My character stumbles into this town early on, and he’s discovering stuff. I mean, it’s kind of a subjective piece of storytelling in the beginning from his standpoint. He’s sort of with the audience discovering things. But it’s interesting because I would talk to the other actors, and they have a whole other reality. I mean, he runs into the woman that he’s come there to look for, his ex‑partner, and she’d been living there for 12 years, but he saw her two weeks ago, so things like that that really don’t make sense.” Everything comes together in episode five.


Perhaps explaining the mystery halfway through a season seems like a strange thing to do, however this is a story that lends itself to having the viewers understand what is happening early on, so they will develop a deeper connection to the characters.
The story is based on the series of novels by Blake Crouch, who has a personal affinity for the old TV series Twin Peaks. Viewers will almost certainly feel a sense that Wayward Pines is similar to Twin Peaks, however that correlation is short lived as this series continues down a different path.


Wayward Pines begins with Secret Service Agent Ethan Burke (Dillon) searching for two missing agents. After a car crash, he wakes up in the sleepy little town of Wayward Pines, Idaho. He tries to contact his family in Seattle but cannot get through. He then sees one of the missing agents, who is living in the town with her husband. But how can that be? He just saw her a couple weeks ago and she was not married. She was younger too. According to her she has been living in the town for over a decade. Then things start to unwind for Burke, and as soon as you think things are getting strange enough, the truth is revealed (episode five). And from then on the story takes a different turn.
Wayward Pines Hospital, Wayward Pines Academy, and all the establishments in town are quite different than what Burke is used to. Oops, did I forget to mention the public executions? What is it about this place? If viewers will stick with it until the truth is revealed (in episode five) they will learn why everyone is in this town. But there’s more…


Wayward Pines premiers Thursday, May 14, 2015 on FOX.


About the Author

Francine Brokaw has been covering all aspects of the entertainment business for 20 years. She also writes about technology and has been a travel writer for the past 12 years. She has been published in national and international newspapers and magazines as well as internet websites. She has written her own book, Beyond the Red Carpet The World of Entertainment Journalists, from Sourced Media Books.

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