Wayward Pines is the latest cable-length network show being billed as a "limited event," but where did the inspiration for the new series come from? Given how many shows take their notes from current events, you might be wondering if Wayward Pines is based on a true story, but it actually comes from a different source. Wayward Pines is based on a series of e-books written by Blake Crouch, who is also working on the TV project. Crouch's books are twisted mysteries about an Idaho "town" (because rather than a normal suburb, it's revealed as something quite sinister) called Wayward Pines. FBI agent Ethan Burke, investigating the deaths of two fellow agents, winds up in Wayward Pines, a place that seems nearly impossible to leave and prevents him from investigating the murders, as he gets wrapped up in exactly what Wayward Pines is and how he'll ever be able to escape.
Of course, things immediately go from cop procedural to supernatural mystery, since FOX hasn't been constantly bombarding the audience with the name "M. Night Shyamalan" for no reason. Wayward Pines is going to be playing with your expectations from the first episode, and in some ways, already has, by assembling a cast of movie stars and limiting the series to a shortened season of 10 episodes. Because of that, they can nab talent like Terrence Howard to lick an ice cream cone like this:
Wayward Pines' aesthetic clearly owes a debt to the films and television shows of David Lynch, who created his own twisted version of Americana in films like Blue Velvet and, of course, his famous ABC mystery series, Twin Peaks.
While Wayward Pines isn't really like Twin Peaks in terms of plot or character, it's absolutely using stereotypical American suburban imagery and turning it into something unsettling and weird. Lynch would shoot and edit conversations with ominous overtones, or use takes of actors performing in a highly unnatural, wooden way to help unsettle the audience.
Wayward Pines has plenty of inspirations, but Crouch had an interesting perspective on them. He's looking to take that unsettling atmosphere and give it a concrete plot with real answers. Those who have read the book will know — this isn't actually much like Shyamalan's The Village, despite their similar premises (small town totally isolated from the outside world). And Shyamalan, Hodge, and Crouch have even gone so far as to give away to Biography that the big mystery will be revealed in the fifth episode.
So a month from now, look out: Wayward Pines' big secret will be revealed. The show's biggest difference from real life is that somehow, in Wayward Pines, even spoilers don't matter.
Images: Liane Hentscher/FOX; Giphy