Wayward Pines created by Chad Hodge (Blinding Edge Pictures, De Line Pictures, Storyland)

Starring Matt Dillon, Carla Gugino, Shannyn Sossamon, Toby Jones, Melissa Leo, and Hope Davis.

Avoiding the Blockbusters

I’ve been running from my teenage self. I wasted countless dinero on the heavily marketed whims of studio executives. Action! Guns! Superheroes!

In actuality, greenscreen! Poor plotting! Wireframe acting performances!

An explosion a story does not make.

And yet recently, I’ve been placing a higher value in the popcorn flick. I’ll never want to avoid the dark, dreary, and deep themes found in serious cinema. But sometimes, it’s ok to get lost in some rip-roaring fun, literary qualities be damned.

Similarly, Wayward Pines represents the best of awful television.

We’re Not in Kansas Anymore

Special Agent Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon) emerges into a blurry consciousness in an odd town, Wayward Pines, Idaho. Charged with a mission to find his Secret Service partners, including Kate Hewson (Carla Gugino), Ethan begins searching his surroundings to discover what’s happened since his supposed accident.

The findings a certifiably odd. For example, there are no crickets in Wayward Pines, just speakers that make cricket noises. The people live in abject fear and their sense of time is skewed. Beverly the Bartender (Juliette Lewis) woke up in Wayward Pines three years ago, thinking it’s the early nineties, while Burke thinks it’s 2014.

His Secret Service partner, Kate, appears in Wayward Pines as a married woman 12 years spent in the small town, even though Ethan had seen her weeks ago.

Even more oddly, electric fences line the perimeter of the town keeping the inhabitants from returning to the normal lives outside the town.

While Ethan stumbles through the mysterious of this town, his wife, Theresa (Shannyn Sossamon), and his son, Ben (Charlie Tahan), attempt to locate their missing husband/father, uncovering strange happenings in the process.

Energy and Intrigue

With the scenery of Twin Peaks and the twists of M. Night Shyamalan, Wayward Pines has energy and intrigue.

The show unlocks its central mysteries early, allowing the viewer to uncover the ramifications of its twists in the backend of the season.

But let’s not kid ourselves, Wayward Pines is awful. The acting is consistently wooden outside of the excellent performance of Melissa Leo as Nurse Pam. These people aren’t lived-in characters; they are more like archetypes.

And the writing leaves much to be desired. The entire plot tumbles like a Jenga tower after the smallest critical analysis.

And yet I’m impressed with the way Wayward Pines presents an out-of-this-world story with a high level of entertainment. This show shouldn’t work; in many ways, it doesn’t work. And yet I love it.

It’s summertime. Give Wayward Pines a watch.

Verdict: 3 out of 5

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