M Night Shyamalan’s new project, Wayward Pines, is the weirdest TV show you’ll see all year. Here’s what you need to know...
1. It’s set in a fictional Idaho town
Adapted from a series of books by Blake Crouch, the show stars special agent Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon) who finds himself stuck in the idyllic Wayward Pines.
Following a car wreck, he wakes up in hospital missing his belongings, his memory and fending off a needle-wielding nurse.
2. The longer he stays, the weirder things get
Cricket noises come from speakers, phone lines are dead and there’s a body decomposing down the road. This small town, filled with creepy inhabitants, is
hiding some big secrets. “I haven’t told them yet,” Shyamalan laughs, when asked how real-life Idahoans have taken to being called oddballs. “[In reality] it’s much quieter. We have such colourful people in our show, but they’re acting bizarre for a reason.”
3. We weren’t joking about Twin Peaks
The special agent in a strange town, the Fifties-tinged effect and creepy-as-hell police officer – it’s all in there. Crouch has admitted the novels were based on the cult TV show, but it doesn’t feel copied. There are enough Shyamalan-famed plot twists (wait until episode five) to keep it on the right side of weird. Chuck in Lost levels of mystery and we’ve got a winner.
4. This is Shyamalan’s first stab at small screen
And it was a long time coming. Two years before the show came to fruition, the Sixth Sense and Unbreakable director had been looking for ideas. “It was a learning process. But those two years were important – learning what the responsibilities and challenges of shooting that fast are, and where other shows have faltered.”
5. Directing TV isn’t a walk in the park
Once Wayward Pines landed on his desk, reality kicked in. “It’s the smallest of details, like, on our TV show there was no playback – you move fast and don’t get to watch what you’ve just shot again. That’s a different muscle,” he says. “I’ve been toying with not having playback on my movies for a while, but didn’t have the courage, and this sort of forced me to direct that way and experience making a film without constantly checking yourself. It’s more primal – just becoming a student again is scary but still a wonderful thing.”
Wayward Pines starts on 14 May, 9pm on Fox