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TV Review: Fox’s ‘Wayward Pines’

Matt Dillon stars as a U.S. Secret Service agent whose investigation takes him to the mysterious small Idaho town of Wayward Pines. The 10-episode series, based on the novel Pines by Blake Crouch, was developed by The Playboy Club’s Chad Hodge. Also executive producing is M. Night Shyamalan, who directed the pilot. Wayward Pines, which also features Melissa Leo, Terrence Howard, Carla Gugino and Juliette Lewis, debuts on Fox Thursday at 9 p.m. The following are reviews from TV critics around the web, compiled by B&C.

“Which brings us back to the top: Maybe the best answer to all of this is to not worry about ultimately being fully satisfied and instead just sit back and be entertained or at least distracted as you let the story happen. But watch all of the story or none at all.”
Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter

“Unfortunately, the show failed for me in both key areas where it needed to work. It's not fun enough while waiting for the explanation in the fifth and final episode I saw (there are 10 episodes altogether), and the explanation doesn't do a good enough job of justifying everything that's happened before.”
Alan Sepinwall, HitFix

“Perfectly suited to a 10-part limited run, this Fox show has capitalized on its concentrated approach to cast the project to the hilt, with the disclaimer that viewers shouldn’t become too attached to anyone. All told, it’s a solid TV version of summer popcorn fare.”
Brian Lowry, Variety

Wayward Pines is deliberately playing to the middle; it’s not trying to be the best drama of the summer, it just wants to be a fun one. I can’t recommend it as premium viewing. But if you’re in the mood to follow a yarn that feels like it was thought up by a science-fiction writer in 1961, you’ll have a blast with this show.”
Sonia Saraiya, Salon

Wayward Pines does have more than a hint of Twin Peaks, but it’s not nearly as weird and imaginative. It’s a 10-episode thriller based on a series of novels by Blake Crouch that feels plodding. A small town can be sleepy, but the mystery that binds its residents shouldn’t also be soporific.”
Alessandra Stanley,New York Times

“Fox's summer miniseries is a little familiar and a lot ridiculous, but at least it keeps busy.”
James Poniewozik, Time

“[Melissa Leo], Howard, and Gugino—who has the most alluring mystery—know how to work well in the murk. They pull you through everything that’s tired, tedious, and trippy and nurture hope that Wayward Pines will add up to something novel. Or, at least, just add up.”
Jeff Jensen, Entertainment Weekly

“In fact, the first episode is so unremarkable, and slow moving, you may be tempted to scratch it off your TV to-do list. But don’t leave town. In fact, you’ll soon find that even if you wanted to, you can’t leave Wayward Pines, Idaho.”
David Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle