Limited and/or anthology shows have been increasing in popularity of late on cable networks (True Detective, Fargo, etc.); and now, that trend is starting to catch on with public networks For example, in 2015 Fox is going to be debuting not only the new Ryan Murphy comedy/horror anthology series, Scream Queens, but also its own “event” series in Wayward Pines – the latter getting an unprecedented global launch next May.
Wayward Pines is based on the first installment in author Blake Crouch’s book series, titled “Pines”. The TV series revolves around secret service agent Ethan Burke (played by Matt Dillon), who goes searching for two missing federal agents in the small town of Wayward Pines. However, it doesn’t take long before Ethan realizes this mysterious, Idaho-based, slice of old-style living is not at all what it appears to be, on the surface.
Crouch’s source novel was adapted for the small screen by Chad Hodge (The Playboy Club), with M. Night Shyamalan serving as executive producer and directing a handful of episodes, beginning with the pilot. Shymalan’s name has, unsurprisingly, been used as the major selling point for this series. The filmmaker has done his part to promote the project, having talked up the David Lynch-inspired qualities of Hodge’s script work and his own interest in creating something “character-based and darker in tone” with this series.
Variety is reporting that – as announced by the network and Fox International Channels – Wayward Pines will premiere on Fox on Thursday, May 14th next year, at 9 p.m. EST. The program will be rolling out simultaneously in more than 125 countries in Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, and Latin America, making it the largest day-and-date launch for a scripted series yet. That is to say, no matter how good (or not good) the actual show turns out to be, it’s certainly being treated as a true “event.”
Wayward Pines certainly boasts an intriguing cast that includes Oscar-winner Melissa Leo and her Prisoners costar, Terrence Howard, along with noteworthy character actors in Toby Jones (Captain America: The First Avenger), Juliette Lewis (August: Osage County), and Reed Diamond (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.). Indeed, the cast is no doubt a bigger selling point for those who (fairly) take Shyamalan’s involvement to be a warning flag, more than a promising sign nowadays.
On that note, it’s nice to see Shyamalan move away from big-budget fare – following the critical knockouts for The Last Airbender and After Earth – and getting back to the character-heavy, psychological-thriller storytelling that he made his mark with. We’re not yet convinced that his Twin Peaks-esque TV series and his upcoming low-budget horror/thriller The Visit (also releasing in 2015) will start a comeback for Shyamalan… but, here’s hoping, right?
Wayward Pines premieres on Fox on May 14th, 2015 @9 pm EST.