Screen Savors: This week on the small screen

A creepy small town and some Jersey guys.

‘Wayward Pines’ TV series (photo credit: PR)
‘Wayward Pines’ TV series
(photo credit: PR)
If you liked Twin Peaks, the 1990s cult TV series created by David Lynch about a mystery in a creepy small town, then you are going to love Wayward Pines, a new series starring Matt Dillon. It is running on YES VOD starting on May 15, and on Sundays on YES Action at 11:45 p.m., starting on May 24.
This time, the director is M. Night Shyamalan, another filmmaker who is moving from the big screen to television. Shyamalan made a huge splash in 1999 with his breakout feature, the gimmicky but mesmerizing The Sixth Sense.
But the subsequent movies he made were progressively more absurd and lackluster. The Happening (2008), for example, was about how plants start making humans commit suicide.
Now he is directing the always appealing Matt Dillon, who plays a special agent who has been involved in a complicated investigation and suddenly wakes up in a forest in Idaho. He stumbles to the nearest town, Wayward Pines, and collapses. He’s had a concussion, but it turns out that he also has a history of mental illness. Still, he seems saner than most of the residents of this strange town, who all speak in an odd monotone. He has no phone or wallet, and his head hurts, but a sassy barmaid (Juliette Lewis, who played opposite Robert De Niro in Cape Fear) gives him a tip that leads him to a decaying body in a house. Then he sees a woman who looks like his partner, Kate (Carla Gugino, who played the tough movie executive on Entourage), who had gone missing. He had an affair with her, and although that’s over, he still wants to find her. It turns out that they are in one of those weird isolated towns that are some kind of supernatural dictatorship, that look idyllic but are in fact prisons for their residents.
After that, it gets complicated.
In addition to Dillon and Lewis, the cast is full of topnotch actors, among them Terrence Howard (who is also starring on the TV series Empire) as an odd sheriff who gives equal weight to praising raisin rum ice cream and getting the details of a murder; Melissa Leo (who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for The Fighter) as the scariest nurse since Kathy Bates in Misery; and Toby Jones, the gifted character actor who played Truman Capote in Infamous, as a doctor who doesn’t seem to mind doing harm.
If you enjoy plots where you have to constantly weigh whether the hero is crazy or is the victim of an elaborate con, then you will enjoy this. In addition to Twin Peaks, it reminded me of Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island, where Leonardo DiCaprio is a law enforcement agent trapped on an island that houses a shelter for the criminally insane.
Coming up next week, fans of The Good Wife can enjoy the Season Six finale on YES Drama.
There has been a lot of great plotting and strong performances, so it will be fun to see how it all ends.
There are just two episodes left of Mad Men, and the rumors and guesses are flying around the Internet, but no one will know for sure until the final episode airs on May 17 in the US and on May 18 here on HOT.
Clint Eastwood is arguably the most versatile director in Hollywood, with westerns, mysteries, sports dramas and just about every other kind of movie imaginable on his resumé. He is also a musician and composer, who has written the music for several of his films and made an interesting movie about Charlie Parker, the 1988 Bird. He turned to music again in his recent movie Jersey Boys, based on the Broadway musical. It will have its premiere on HOT Gold on May 16 at 12:35 p.m. This musical about the Four Seasons, the legendary pop group started by four working-class guys, is an entertaining biopic. The group grew up surrounded by a lot of wise guys, the most memorable of whom is played by Christopher Walken, who ought to have appeared on The Sopranos.