Peanuts and Popcorn

Ethan (Matt Dillon, R) and Beverly (Juliette Lewis, L) finalize their plans in the "Don't Discuss Your Life Before" episode of WAYWARD PINES.

Ethan (Matt Dillon, R) and Beverly (Juliette Lewis, L) finalize their plans in the “Don’t Discuss Your Life Before” episode of WAYWARD PINES. (Photo: FOX)

I’m a sucker for anything that M. Night Shyamalan is involved in. Not that I have liked everything that he produced, but he fascinates me. The Sixth Sense was brilliant and even though many did not appreciate his film, The Village, I liked it. I love his Twilight Zone-ish storytelling. So when I heard that FOX was going to present the limited series, Wayward Pines with him at the helm, I was all in and after last night’s premiere, count me in for all ten episodes.

As others are, I’m really liking the newer “limited series” concept where a show has a beginning, middle and end. Unlike series like Resurrection where I spent two years following a mystery only to see the show canceled. Now I’ll never know what happens!

For Wayward Pines, comparisons will be made to both The Village and the older TV show Twin Peaks and for good reason. However, unlike The Village, where the twist was that a small community was living in a time warp was revealed in the end, here, we know almost immediately that the Pines community is its own universe. As for Twin Peaks, the residents of Pines are almost as quirky, but probably more sinister.

Matt Dillon stars as secret service agent, Ethan Burke, who accidentally winds up in the town while searching for his partner Kate Hewson (Carla Gugino) and another agent who have been missing for a few weeks. He also is still getting over the devastation of the “Easter Bombing Attack” awhile back where he was racked with guilt for not saving people and turned to Hewson for comfort which led to a short-term affair. He also has a history of mental illness. Oh goody.

The pilot opens with Burke waking up all scratched up and lying in a stream in the middle of the woods. He wanders into town and collapses. He wakes up again, this time in the hospital being attended by what appears to be the sweet Nurse Pam (Melissa Leo) but first impressions can be deceiving. He is informed that he was in a car accident and that his traveling partner didn’t make it.

Meanwhile at home in Seattle, (that was obviously NOT filmed in Seattle), his wife Theresa and son Ben (Shannyn Sossamon and Charlie Tahan) are anxious after hearing that Ethan was in an accident, but investigators haven’t found him yet. They try to call Ethan. Ethan tries to call them. Neither party can get through to the other.

It is not really a spoiler, (if you’ve seen the commercials for this show), to know that Mr. Burke is trapped in this town located in Idaho supposedly. There aren’t many people living or working in town and the ones who are, are not very forthcoming in details. People seem to get confused about dates. Doctors think that Burke has internal bleeding by his brain and needs to be operated on. The town sheriff, (Terrence Howard), doesn’t get alarmed very easily and is in no hurry to help Burke. However, the local bartender, Beverly (Juliette Lewis), seems friendly enough and wants to help Burke giving him cryptic messages about the town. Then, there is the issue of his partner, Kate. He finds her on his second day in the town, but instead of short hair as she is seen in flashbacks, she has long hair and is apparently married. He follows her home and when she comes to her door, she pretends that she doesn’t know who he is. However, when they talk outside of her home, she breaks character briefly to let him know that they are being watched, that he needs to go away as it will jeopardize her life and that he is not dreaming. So, let the mystery begin.

If you like a good mystery, enjoy odd storylines and plan to watch the show, my advice is to pay attention to everything. Anything can be a clue on what is actually happening. The story and scenes are fast-paced, so if you blink, you could miss something important. One of the fun things about this show is that you never know what is and isn’t important to know.

The show is beautifully shot and the characters are enjoyable to watch if not exactly likable. Dillion’s manic character is unsettling and you wonder how long it will take him before he cracks. Is the show creepy? Not exactly, at least not yet. There is one grotesque scene in the pilot, but that ‘s about it, but things could get worse. There doesn’t seem to be any supernatural beings or demonic presence, so that’s a plus. However, the show is not for everyone. It is too soon to tell as anything can happen at this point. We’re in for a wide ride and I’m buckling in. How about you?

Wayward Pines airs on Thursdays at 9:00 p.m. on FOX.

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