With the official premiere of the ten-episode event series Wayward Pines this week, in an episode entitled ‘Where Paradise Is Home’, a whole onslaught of questions has been introduced to the television audience that had the pleasure of watching it. This is a series that has started off introducing a lead character we can’t quite trust (in the past Matt Dillon’s Ethan had hallucinations due to his guilt towards some kind of Easter bombing), thrown him straight into the belly of the beast (he’s somehow popped up in this town with no memory of getting there), and turned us on our head by managing to twist time (Juliette Lewis’s Beverly has been there one year and she arrived in 1999, while Carla Gugino’s Kate has been there twelve years but only arrived around five weeks ago in real time). So many pieces thrown at us without being able to see the whole picture; much like Ethan, we’re following along with mostly clues from his point of view, with only a couple from outside with his family and the lead secret service agent Adam.
From the get go, I can already tell this series is not for everyone. This is a show that requires patience because we’re not getting the entire image of what’s going on. Similar to the opening shot, we’re only viewing the close-up of what’s occurring, when we really need to be able to pull back and view everything in a big picture kind of way. Given what has been provided to us already, this series appears to be something of a slow burner. Much like many a thrillers in the film format, this show appears to be one that will be slowly pieced together, we’ll be given the whole picture, and then we’ll have to deal with the repercussions of that big picture. I mean, why are these specific people there? How are they all okay with being held there against their will? How many of them are being held against there will. What is keeping these people there, and why? What did Adam do; did he give them Ethan? Is this a Truman Show situation, just with some kind of time warp? How has Beverly only been there one year, when in real time it’s been fifteen years, while Kate has been there twelve years in five weeks real time? Why can’t they leave? See, already so many questions – and I’m sure numerous audience members have more, with working theories far beyond my own grasp – with so many answers hopefully to be received.
Regarding the more behind the scenes kind of aspect to the show, with a few nitpicks about the technical parts; I’d like to start off by commending the casting of the series. This show has got names like the aforementioned Matt Dillon, Juliette Lewis (who I am loving already), and Carla Gugino, and then it also boasts the likes of Melissa Leo (as crazy nurse Pam), Terence Howard (as the sheriff), Shannyn Sossamon (as Ethan’s wife Theresa), and Reed Diamond (as Kate’s husband Harold). Such a phenomenal boat of talent, I expect this series will fly when it comes to the acting aspect. The cinematography has some kinks, but so far what’s been used is certainly working for it, and is in no way a hindrance such as the third season of American Horror Story’s technique was. The colouring and lighting left something to be desired, but I suspect that came more from a creative standpoint of making this town seem cold and alien to our unreliable hero. One thing I had the most issue with was the sound; it was so very raw, it almost made the episode seem a bit unfinished. Perhaps they’re going for an unnerving quality to the series, but I got more low-budget horror film quality from it. Even so, there was an intriguing quality to the series.
Overall, I enjoyed this series premiere. I don’t know how willing I’d be to stick with it beyond one season, but if they stick to the ten-episode event they’ve showcased for this series, I’ll certainly be a happy camper. Like I said, this is a series meant for someone willing to test their patience, and speaking as someone with a very low threshold, I wouldn’t be happy to have that patience stretched into obscurity. I can handle the slow build and burn of ten episodes, but I expect to get pieced results throughout those ten episodes, even if that means new questions arise. So far, the writing, the way this whole series is constructed, is working for it, but I strongly urge all those involved not to tempt the audience by giving too little too soon, or too much too soon, because I already watch a fair amount of series, and have several on my docket to catch up on, so I’d have no qualms dumping this one if it doesn’t continue to hold my interest. That’s just one woman’s advice.