We sat through the entire first season of Wayward Pines. If there is a compliment to the show, it is definitely that it retained my attention for the duration of its run. The script and acting couldn't keep up with a story that, while intriguing, was virtually a cesspool of rip-offs. It was like Lost, Under the Dome, Jericho, and The Walking Dead on speed, all rolled into an awkwardly paced scifi mystery romp. Lucky for the show that there are redeemable elements in each of those productions worth another visit.
Despite verging-on-household names like Matt Dillon and Carla Gugino, the "hey, I recognize that face!" initial response leads one only to that moment of deja vu, while their acting careers do little to impress their present performances. The top three names aren't exactly A-list. Matt Dillon is best known for his roles as a sexual predator (Wild Things, Crash), Gugino is better known for "my eyes are up here", and Shannyn Sossamon hasn't been popular since the awesome actor who was inexplicably interested in her (Heath Ledger) passed away.
That leaves us with a plethora of C-list actors that end up stealing the show, for the most part. Toby Jones and Melissa Leo have pretty good turns as the god-complexed platonic couple of the science experiment-turned-post apocalyptic dystopia. Even Gugino has some magical moments on screen. But Dillon, as is his persona, is blank and seems mentally disconnected from his role. It worked great for him in Factotum, but here it verges on distracting from the ambiance of foreboding doom and approaching threats. But nothing is worse than his rage-inducing perma-constipated-face of a son. He was like watching a male version of Kristen Stewart with no lip biting, but half the acting talent. Yeah, I said half.
Yet the story finds a way of keeping your attention. Undoubtedly for us horror fans, it was the rather abrupt introduction of Descent-like humanoid predators. At first it's just a glance, but gradually we get closer and closer looks at the creatures until they are tearing flesh from bone like the nasty little cave-dwellers themselves.
Perhaps the best twist of the season finale is that it has such an evident conclusion, when at least I, as a viewer, was unaware the show was a serial production. I was expecting a cliffhanger, but was delighted to have closure. While there are rumors of a season 2 (please no...), it would most likely beat a dead horse and/or dilute the ending of the first season.
Despite finding satisfaction in the ending, I am hard-pressed to recommend the show, as it is one thing to suggest a gamble on an hour to two hours of your life with a film, and another entirely to suggest one devote 10-20 hours on a television series. Surely there is better content out there to view than this, but if you are out of options or simply want to try a show that pays off with an actual conclusion, feel free to trek to Wayward Pines.