Wayward Pines: The Pilot. A Review.
The Short Version: Wayward Pines a interesting but uneven mix of The X-Files & Twin Peaks. Well acted, well cast and well shot the question is can the series deliver on the promises of the pilot episode or does will it collapse under its own weight?
The Long Version: Ten years ago a TV series by M. Knight Shyamalan would have been a major event and a ratings giant. Today, M. Knight is better known as a director who burned through the goodwill of his audience in record time and is still in audience rehab. But that should not keep you from watching.
Since you're on this forum, you've seen the promos - Matt Dillion is FBI and he and his current partner are tracking two agents who have disappeared off the face of the Earth - and likely thought "looks like The X-Files & Twin Peaks." Add to that some The Village & Blue Velvet and that's the pilot episode boiled down to its prime ingredients.
I don't envy the person or persons who write pilots. It's a balancing act: how much info do you front load without giving away major plot points, how much do you hold back without going too vague and losing the interest of your viewers? And there's a lot of plot in the first episode that I'm not going to give away.
Thankfully there are a lot of good actors to keep the action and exposition interesting. Melissa Leo and Terence Howard are particularly good at going from Mayberry RFD sweet to Frank Booth (Blue Velvet) sinister at a moment's notice. Matt Dillion is also good as the FBI agent who wakes up in this rum raisin flavored nightmare with his own baggage including a previous mental breakdown and an extra-marital affair.
And while M. Knight didn't write the pilot - its based on a trilogy of books - he directed and produced it and the pilot looks good. Really good. Reminds you how well he can direct when he's not going down the rabbit hole of his writing. Not the writing of Sixth Sense or Unbreakable but his later writing of The Village or Signs where both films fell apart in the third act. And the set up of Wayward Pines has a strong The Village vibe to it.
And that, for me, is key to the series: is the secret of the town of Wayward Pines worth the audience's time or is it going to be Under the Dome which seems to have an audience only because there's nothing else new on TV at that time?
Time, ten weeks to be exact, will tell.