TV audiences crave answers and there's nothing dedicated viewers fear more than mythology-driven series that threaten to stretch out mysteries indefinitely or, alternatively, run the risk of getting cancelled without ever revealing the truth.
FOX's new drama "Wayward Pines" is definitely heavy on mystery. Secret Service Agent Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon) checks into a small Idaho town on an investigation and soon begins to realize that very little in Wayward Pines is what it seems to be. So what makes Wayward Pines unusual? What secrets are the residents harboring? And who knows these answers?
Well, one person who knows the answers is "Wayward Pines" showrunner Chad Hodge, who created The CW's "Runaway" and NBC's "Playboy Club" before discovering Blake Crouch's book and adapting it on spec as a potential 10-episode story back in 2013, before "Fargo" and "True Detective" made everybody in TV giddy on the event series model.
So Hodge knows where "Wayward Pines" is going and when I talked to Hodge about "Wayward Pines," I knew most of where the show was going, having read all but the last third of Crouch's third and final book in the trilogy. [I finished the third book a day later.] And while we couldn't talk about specifics, one thing we did talk about is the need to give viewers specifics and the fact that the season's fifth episode is very fittingly titled "The Truth." See, what's actually happening in "Wayward Pines" is a twist, but Hodge makes it clear it's not the totality of what the series is about. Getting answers is one thing, but how the characters respond to those answers becomes the second half of "Wayward Pines."
Although there's been a knee-jerk desire to compare "Wayward Pines" to "Twin Peaks," Hodge talks about his own inspirations, particularly Crouch's books and the challenges offered by this adaptation. He talks about using the limited model to get ahead on writing and how that helped with casting, plus the advantages of finishing shooting a year ago, including the serendipity of having shot with Terrence Howard before "Empire" and premiering after.
I'm looking forward to talking to Hodge in detail about some of the twists and turns and "The Truth" after it unfolds, but this is a largely spoiler free interview about the process of building paranoia and offering answers...
Give it a read before "Wayward Pines" premieres on FOX on Thursday, May 14...