Monday, May 18, 2015

Pilot Review: Wayward Pines

Wayward Pines (FOX)
Premiered May 14 at 9pm

This isn’t a great time for network shows to premiere, and so the barometer really isn’t that high. My main concern with this show, which I learned about only days before it premiered after seeing advertisements all around New York City, was not that it wouldn’t be good but rather that it would be scary, since “The Sixth Sense,” which I wrote about this weekend because it’s available via Netflix Instant Streaming, is one of the best movies I’ve seen but also one of the scariest. I love thrillers of all kinds as long as they don’t involve people coming back to life (conspiracies are okay, demons and ghosts are not), and it seems from this first hour that this show might be creepy but will still fall under the thriller classification rather than horror. It is reminiscent in some ways of a supernatural “Under the Dome,” which might not be a bad thing since that show, in concept, was much cooler than in execution. I’m definitely intrigued by all the elements of the town that seem unchangeable but the distinct presence of rebels who know that something is going on and are doing different things to deal with it – Juliette Lewis’ Beverly actively leading Matt Dillon’s Ethan to important evidence and Carla Gugino’s Kate trying to blend in and not cause problems. Following Ethan’s family and boss in the outside helps to emphasize the spooky nature of whatever is going on in Wayward Pines. I didn’t expect to want to come back for a second look, and now I’m eager to see if it can match its intrigue in episode two with quality answers and plot progression.

How will it work as a series? Its mystery framing worked well in this episode as did its insular nature, trapping Ethan in a cyclical situation with no answers. He made a lot of noise and now knows that he’s stuck, so it’s a question of whether the show can continue to exist and enthrall now that he’s going to be primarily focused on figuring out how to get the hell out of his current prison of sorts.
How long will it last? This ten-episode first season is being billed as a miniseries, and from the way it started, it looks like that’s all this show will end up being. Airing original episodes when everything else on network TV is headed into reruns could help, but it’s going to need a serious surge to merit a second season.

Pilot grade: B

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