Fox is getting ready to serve up some damn fine coffee, er, some rum raisin ice cream cones with its new oddball mystery thriller Wayward Pines, which dropped a strange new trailer that bears more than a passing resemblance to Twin Peaks. But we don’t have a problem with that, as TV could always use more weird series to balance the procedurals and sitcoms. Check it out.
“Be happy. Enjoy your life in Wayward Pines.” Any place that occasionally has its citizens crowded around and repeating a town-specific pledge is not a place that’s being run by anyone who considers normalcy a good personality trait. In this case, that role appears to belong to Terrence Howard’s Sheriff Arnold Pope, who has a fixation on people following the rules, and he’s keeping eyes and ears on everyone to make sure they’re playing along. One of those rules? “Always answer the phone if it rings.” I wonder if AT&T is one of the sponsors here.
Wayward Pines centers on Matt Dillon’s Secret Service Agent Ethan Burke, who gets stuck inside the close-knit community after a car accident stalls his search for his missing partner and former lover Kate Hewson, played by Carla Gugino. (She seems fully assimilated, but maybe not.) Burke, who clearly has no idea what he’s gotten himself into, doesn’t even make it through the preview without breaking some rules. One particular phone caller tells Burke to kill the man he’s talking to at the time, played by Weeds’ Justin Kirk. Burke doesn’t do it, but Kirk knows that he’s supposed to. It’s a weird moment.
The rest of this show’s cast is equally intriguing. Juliette Lewis plays a bartender who takes kindly to Burke and will probably put herself at risk to help him. Melissa Leo is a nurse at the hospital where Burke ends up after his accident, though she doesn’t seem quite as friendly. The hospital also employs a psychiatrist played by Toby Jones, and Reed Diamond will play a toymaker. (Toymakers are never weird professions to have in the modern age, right?) And then there’s Burke’s wife, played by Shannyn Sossamon, who will try to track him down, although she might want to hope for failure, given no one ever leaves this place.
Wayward Pines, which went into development two years ago, was created by The Playboy Club creator Chad Hodge, and it’s based on the novel Pines by Blake Crouch. It’s being executive produced by M. Night Shyamalan, who probably had a bit to do with the show’s off-kilter sensibilities.
Pack your most surreal suitcase and get ready to move to Wayward Pines when it debuts on Fox on Thursday, May 14. Something tells me the network wants Howard’s Empire fanbase to get on board with this one as well.