Wednesday, May 25, 2016

It’s a Lot Like Lost, but in Canada, or Thoughts on Wayward Pines Season 1

It’s a special kind of curse to enjoy success at the start of your career, a bit like peaking in high school; you never get out from under the shadow of all that attention, and every subsequent project is measured against it.  Considering all of M. Night Shymalian’s body of work so far, he seems to have squandered any of the potential and promise he exhibited in The Sixth Sense (1999).  His name has become synonymous with intriguing setups and disappointing payoffs, though he may have broken the curse with the release of The Visit (2015) and the TV Wayward Pines, where he directed the pilot and serves as a producer.
Wayward Pines is from a set of novels by Blake Crouch, which is always a good sign because it indicates an established plot with a beginning, middle and end, instead of a bunch of writers in a room thinking about ways to shock the audience with unexpected deaths of beloved characters.
The series throws you in the deep end as we wake up in a British Columbia rainforest with Matt Dillon as Ethan Burke, a Secret Service agent with no authority and no cell phone service.  He walks into the town, bruised and disoriented, where everyone seems friendly but full of secrets.
It is fun to watch Matt Dillon twist and turn; literally a rat in a maze, and Melissa Leo is delightful as Nurse Pam, in an empty hospital with an excuse for everything.  It’s equal parts Matrix and Twin Peaks, with a dash of the classic UK series The Prisoner (not enough Prisoner, if you ask me).  It’s also reminiscent of the underrated and sadly single season of Persons Unknown.
Toby Jones plays Dr Pilcher, the unofficial leader of the town, though it is run with jovial malice by Sheriff Pope, the ice cream loving autocrat of Wayward Pines, as portrayed by Terrence Howard.  It’s also nice to see Juliette Lewis getting some work as Beverly, the helpful bartender.
As the series progresses Ethan Burke discovers his missing partner, cameras everywhere and speakers with ambient cricket sounds, public executions in the town square and monsters in the woods beyond a big wall.  The conspiracy arc and larger mystery is explained thoroughly by the end of the season, and unlike Lost, you will be satisfied and intrigued with the explanation.

my first novel? thanks for asking:) I wrote a 4 book supernatural martial arts series concerning the ongoing feud between a group of kung-fu killer witches in san francsico’s chinatown.