On Thursday, people around the world will have one thing in common. They’ll be able to tune into “Wayward Pines.”
It’s launching in 125 countries, reportedly the biggest global premiere for a scripted show. (Here in D.C., it airs at 9 p.m. on Fox)
And what a script!
Based on a trilogy of best-selling books by Blake Crouch, the 10-episode series is about Secret Service agent Ethan Burke, who is on a mission in Idaho when he has a car crash and wakes up in the hospital in the idyllic town of Wayward Pines.
Only something is rotten in Wayward Pines. An early sign: When he asks steely-eyed Nurse Pam about making a phone call, she says, “We don’t have phone jacks in the patients’ rooms. Who wants all that chatter?”
Pursued by Nurse Pam and her hypodermic, Burke escapes from the hospital. But when he talks to people in the town about his hospitalization, they say there’s no hospital in Wayward Pines.
The director of the pilot and the executive producer of the series is M. Night Shyamalan, whose movie thrillers lately (“After Earth,” “The Happening”) haven’t been so thrilling. He’s clearly having a ball with this intensely weird TV show: the seemingly wholesome town, the light filtering through the pines, the scary music, the incredible A-list cast!
Matt Dillon and his craggy face play agent Burke. Steely-eyed Melissa Leo is the nurse. Juliette Lewis is a bartender. Or is she? She tries to help Burke. Or does she? Also, she thinks it’s the year 2000.
A mellow Terrence Howard is the sheriff. He loves rum raisin ice cream cones. When Agent Burke asks how to get out of Wayward Pines, the sheriff says, “You don’t.” That’s because the town turns out to be surrounded by an electrified fence.
So what’s going on? It’s variously suggested that Burke is hallucinating out of guilt over releasing a bomber who set off a bomb or that he’s part of a government experiment.
Or maybe this show is just an example of what happens when Hollywood thinks: “Let’s do an even more intense version of ‘Twin Peaks,’ only without the coffee jokes.”
Clearly, after the first episode nothing is clear about “Wayward Pines.” Except one thing: Viewers in Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe and Latin America will speak in one voice: “What the what?”
Read more of Marc’s TV musings: