A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
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.
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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"?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love spooky stuff
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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