Based on a series of books, which by all accounts are really good, the show centers on Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon), a Secret Service agents who has been sent to find two other agents who have disappeared. He wakes up in Wayward Pines, ID, with little idea whatís going on, but after having clearly been in an accident.
Things quickly get very weird, especially with the appearance of Nurse Pam (Melissa Leo), who seems like she would be more at home in American Horror Story: Hospital than anywhere she is expected to seem even the slightest bit normal. Ethan is clearly dazed and confused, but he can still tell when something is off.
With his wallet and phone missing, he heads to the local dive to use the phone, and runs into Beverly (Juliette Lewis), who gives him a cryptic message about crickets, and an address. With little time to build a serious amount of tension, the game is on, as Ethan suddenly finds himself not only in the middle of Spooky Town, but in a somewhat disturbing shift of form, the residents donít even really pretend it isnít Spooky Town.
It makes for a rough ride, and one that will have a hard time keeping viewers after the first (and definitely the second) episode, mostly because what it does well is fighting so hard against whatís terrible. For all that it pulls you along through a rather creepy atmosphere, and kudos to M. Night Shyamalan (who hasnít deserved any in a while), it also throws Ethanís reactions in your face and dares you to play along with the idea that heís just going to play alongÖ which is ludicrous.
Beyond the overall style, and the fact that this is obviously a general subject people have some interest in, the acting is so solid that it becomes its own distraction. With the exception of Terrence Howardís Sheriff, who is too far over-the-top to be watchable (which isnít his fault), everyone sucks you into the thing and nearly demands that you fall for it.