A year ago, at the MIPCOM in Cannes, France, I attended a very interesting lecture about series, prequels and sequels. Lots of important people were there talking about the new Doctor Who season, the new Sherlock Holmes and lots of reboots planned for 2015. But the most interesting thing was listening to M. Night Shyamalan talking about his new series: Wayward Pines, based on Blake Crouch’s novels.
Starring Matt Dillon, Carla Gugino, Toby Jones and Shannyn Sossamon, this new Fox series is the story of a Secret Service agent, Ethan Burke, searching for his colleague and former lover who’s been missing for five weeks. While on duty with a colleague, Burke has a terrible car accident and wakes up in a hospital, in a town where people act very strangely. He has no phone, and no way to reach his family. No one seems to let him go back to his life. About to escape, he bumps into Kate Hewson, his former lover, who apparently, got married and doesn’t seem to remember him. As he is not able to leave this hell, he tries to investigate on the people living here, while his family tries to find him.
It is without saying that Wayward Pines has one major influence: David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. From the sign at the entrance of the town to the inhabitants and there behaviour. But most of all, the grey atmosphere, the colors and the music are a way for M. Night Shyamalan to emphasise on the the weirdness of this place and get closer to the Twin Peaks experience, in the 21st Century.
On the one hand, Wayward Pines is a grey town. Everything is sad. On the other hand, David Lynch worked on colours in Twin Peaks in order to create different emotions. Red, blue, yellow are colours used when reality is at stake and is about to disappear to let the imagination and the fake take its place. David Lynch doesn’t want Twin Peaks to be a horror series (or movie) but just a place where reality is optional, where weak people can find a way to escape from it and let all there desire happen and feel free to express themselves. In Wayward Pines, M. Night Shyamalan opted for a more realistic aspect of a “ghost town”, letting people know what the sheriff is able to do: kill people without any shame, create accidents, make people disappear only to keep a good atmosphere in his city. In Wayward Pines, people think there lives are real because people told them they were.
M. Night Shyamalan used the same aestetics from his previous movies such as The Sixth Sense (1999), Unbreakable (2000), Signs (2002) or The Village (2004). His new movie, The Visit, was released last week in the USA, on September 11th, 2015.
In order to know if a series will work, the best is to create characters in which the audience could refer to. Youngsters, old people, parents, babies, drunks, drug addicts… In Twin Peaks, David Lynch created characters whose bodies incarnate there own fears. They want to escape from them. Laura Palmer, Dale Cooper and all the others fear reality. Twin Peaks is a mirror, allowing them to escape from reality for a while. But escaping from your own life has a price.
I don’t think that people accept the fact that life doesn’t make sense. I think it makes people terribly uncomfortable. It seems like religion and myth were invented against that, trying to make sense out of it.
– David Lynch
In Wayward Pines, on the contrary, the characters have to face their own fears and cannot escape because of the electrical fence surrounding the city. They have to fight in order to gain control of their own lives.
Indeed, horror is not only about monsters and people dying, it is about representing our own fears on screen and overcoming them. David Lynch hides from reality which implies monsters and weird people, strange creatures but not dangerous at first sight. Whereas M. Night Shyamalan is more into horror, death and about confronting your life and reality through horror films.
Love how dark this episode gets—literally #WaywardPines
— M. Night Shyamalan (@MNightShyamalan) July 17, 2015
AN UNKNOWN FUTURE
For the moment, M. Night Shyamalan is talking about a second season for his first series but he seems to have a lot of work with his films. He is working on it with the series’ authors but its future still seems a little blur. However, we can be relieved, because the Twin Peaks short series will return on Showtime in 2016.