Wayward Pines

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Wayward Pines TV Poster Image
Moody mystery has bloody moments and a sinister undertone.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 7 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Major themes include distrust, duplicity, and government conspiracy.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main character is an imperfect role model (with infidelity in his past) but has good intentions to learn the truth and find his family; everyone else's motives are far less certain.


Bloody imagery includes violent injections, throat-slitting, primitive surgery, and decomposing corpses; several "look-away" moments.


Sexually charged kissing; a secondary plot involves adultery.


"Damn," "hell," and the like are audible.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking; some scenes take place in a bar.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Wayward Pines is a gloomy mystery from the master of twists, M. Night Shyamalan. It has dark themes and some startling moments, including a public throat-slitting and a sadistic nurse who chases patients with a syringe. A side plot centers on an affair between a married Secret Service agent and his partner, so you'll see some suggestive kissing but no nudity. You'll also hear words such as "damn" and "hell" and see characters drinking socially at the local watering hole.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byCarol layton June 26, 2016


Watching a show which promotes forcing 12 year old girls to pair with a boy in order to get pregnant is disgusting. It is called rape. For the network to air th... Continue reading
Adult Written byEllieKarena January 14, 2020

So much potential, so badly written

The first few episodes were very promising however after about episode 4 or 5 it proved otherwise. Became very childish and unbelievable.
Teen, 13 years old Written byChezchadbread February 12, 2016

A place to die for.

This show is a fantastic render of the Wayward Pines series written by Blake Crouch. Having read the book, it is quite humorous to look at the amount of profani... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byBOOKworm808 February 10, 2017

What's the story?

When injured Secret Service agent Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon) wakes up in an eerily quiet hospital room, the nurse in charge (Melissa Leo) informs him that he was in a serious car accident and must remain in the small town of WAYWARD PINES until he's feeling better. But it doesn't take long for Ethan to remember why he came to Wayward Pines in the first place: to find his missing partner, Kate Hewson (Carla Gugino), a fellow agent with whom he shared much more than on-the-job risks. Trouble is, no one in town wants to talk -- not even the local sheriff (Terrence Howard) -- and they'll go to any lengths to keep Ethan quiet.

Is it any good?

You get a weird feeling when you get to Wayward Pines that you’ve already been there, and in many ways that’s because you have. For in spite of the show’s attempts to be twisty, the whole outsider-trapped-in-a-strange-town premise is nothing new, and we’ve certainly seen the whole Nurse Ratched thing before.

So why watch? Well, the series boasts some big-name actors (including Academy Award winner Leo and nominee Howard) and marks Oscar nominee M. Night Shyamalan's debut as a small-screen director. It’s also surprisingly tame when it comes to sex and language, making it a decent choice for older teens who don’t mind a little blood and uncertainty. It's no Twin Peaks, but there's some potential in this eerie town. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Wayward Pines' premise and how believable it is. Could something like this actually happen? Is the series more fantasy than reality?

  • How does director M. Night Shyamalan's signature suspense style translate to the small screen? Do you see any visual similarities between Wayward Pines and Shyamalan's best-known films (The Sixth Sense, The Village)?

  • How does Wayward Pines compare to the trilogy of books (by author Blake Crouch) that inspired it? How well would TV and film adaptations of popular books work if they stayed 100 percent faithful to the source material? Why might a book not automatically make for "good TV"?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love spooky stuff

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