‘Wayward Pines’ Could Be Redeeming for Shyamalan

Though there’s a slew of former Hollywood A-Listers that have experienced somewhat rapid decline, the nuclear-fallout that writer/director M. Night Shyamalan’s career has suffered is perhaps one of the most notorious.

Shyamalan scored a major hit — and six Oscar nominations — for the Bruce Willis/Haley Joel Osment thriller The Sixth Sense in 1999. His three following movies (UnbreakableSigns, and The Village) were also mostly well-received by critics and audiences alike. However, beginning with 2007’s Lady in the Water, Shyamalan has had a string of commercial & critical flops — most recently, the Will & Jaden Smith vehicle After Earth, which Will Smith himself called “the most painful failure” of his career (a career that includes, mind you, Wild Wild West).

So when trailers of the Twin Peaks-esque Wayward Pines began floating around the internet a year ago — with M. Night Shyamalan’s name attached as EP/director — this television addict was none-too-eager for the limited series’ premiere.

However, after seeing further teasers during the season finale of Empire— and watching a preview of the first episode courtesy of Fox — I gotta say; Wayward Pines has my curiosity piqued.

Fans of Twin Peaks will note the similarities immediately; Pines features Secret Service Agent Ethan Burke (Matt Dillion) on a mission in the small town of Wayward Pines, ID to find two mission agents. Like the town of Twin Peaks, the people of Wayward Pines, though quirky, have a mysterious undertone to them that suggests something much more sinister lies below the surface.

The “twist ending” characterization/curse that has followed Shyamalan since Sixth Sense may actually work to his advantage in a show like Wayward Pines (as anyone who’s read the novels and/or seen Twin Peaks can likely attest), given the eerie nature of the town from the start. What will be critical for Shyamalan — and Fox — is whether people will be able to look passed similarities to Peaks, and embrace the show’s premise on its own.

In addition to Matt Dillion, Wayward Pines boasts a talented cast — including Empire‘s Terrence Howard, Juliette Lewis, and Carla Gugino. The show has been billed by Fox as a “limited run” series, with 10 episodes ordered to begin next month. Though the show is set to kick off on May 14th, Fox is offering a preview of the first episode both on-demand and online beginning tonight.

What are your initial thoughts on Wayward Pines? Let us know your opinions below!

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