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Watch List: Wayward Pines

Welcome to Wayward Pines – M. Night Shyamalan's freaky new detective thriller about a quiet mountain town where all is not as it seems.


So M. Night Shyamalan made a movie about killer wind. It’s called a metaphor, and it’s time to get over it. Besides, everyone’s allowed a few stinkers: Dario Argento made Giallo. John Carpenter coughed up The Ward. And Wes Craven himself crop dusted fans with My Soul to Take (9 percent splat, ouch).

The latest project from Oscar-nominated writer/director M. Night Shyamalan – best known for his final act twists – comes in the form of a 10-episode dark detective thriller called Wayward Pines. It’s Shyamalan’s first foray into television, and though he only directs the pilot (available to stream on Hulu now), the filmmaker remains a driving force behind the scenes as a producer of the show.

That said, there’s plenty of talent on either side of the camera. Zal Batmanglij (Sound of My Voice, The East), James Foley (House of Cards), and Nimród Antal (Vacancy, Metallica: Through the Never) each direct an episode, while the cast includes red carpet regulars Matt Dillon, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo, and Toby Jones.

wayward pines

Set in an Idaho town where the bizarre flows like wine, Pines trails special agent Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon) as he hunts down missing agents, one of whom happens to be his former mistress (Carla Gugino). Burke is zeroing in on his AWOL amour when he wrecks his car and wakes up in Wayward Pines, a sleepy village that soon reveals its freaky side.

Seriously: Not only are the locals certified wackadoos, but the mountain town is surrounded by concrete walls and time operates on a warp fit for a Christopher Nolan production. It’s all very Lost in an American Horror Story meets Twin Peaks kind of way.

Speaking of David Lynch and Mark Frost’s peculiar PacNW creation, Blake Crouch, the author of the Wayward Pines novels on which the show is based, makes no bones about his Twin Peaks fandom, and of Lynch’s influence on his own work. Expect plenty of bizarre characters and dark atmospherics to accompany this mystery viewing experience.­­

Wayward Pines, we like you. M. Night, welcome back. We’re betting on an eyebrow raiser for sure. So count us in for some lively principles of detection – even if it turns out the protagonist was dead the whole time.

wayward pines

Wayward Pines premieres Thursday, May 14, at 9 p.m. EST on FOX. Whet your appetite by streaming episode one, “Where Paradise Is Home,” available now on Hulu.

Stills via FX Productions