Having just sat down with the first episode I can honestly say I enjoyed that considerably more than I dared hope to.
Imagine being in Las Vegas, a guy who might not always be perfect, but somewhere along the line he met a girl who stole his heart, a woman who believed “if you do good, you are good,” and this guy, at his core, he wants to be a good guy. He is approached by people who have access to profound resources, and information, and they are doing what so many in Vegas do, running in a betting parlor. Wagering on crimes. They offer you a chance to be their player in the game, a person money is being laid down on, and you can, via them, tap into their resources of information as they adjust the odds on you for their gamblers based on your actions. Conceivably you could save lives. Prevent crimes. Possibly. Hopefully. Well, maybe.
After all, the house does always win, and in the modern age it can be easy to be cynical and hard to know exactly what motivates people — but for the guy who wants to be good, wouldn’t it be tempting to accept the offer to be their player?
Unfortunately viewers either are not find The Player, or are not sharing my curiosity as to how the show will unfold, so if this is one you were thinking about checking out you might want to head the direction of video on demand or possibly the NBC site and stream the episodes now, and check it out. (Or on Hulu.com)
From the executive producers of “The Blacklist” comes the action-packed Las Vegas-set thriller “The Player.” The series co-stars Wesley Snipes as a pit boss and Charity Wakefield as the dealer for a high-stakes game where an organization of wealthy individuals gamble on the ability of former military operative turned security expert Philip Winchester (“Strike Back,” “Fringe”) to stop some of the biggest crimes imaginable from playing out. Can he take them down from the inside and get revenge for the death of his wife, or is it true what they say: The house always wins.
John Rogers serves as writer and executive producer. John Davis, John Fox and director Bharat Nalluri also executive produce. “The Player” is produced by Sony Pictures Television, Davis Entertainment and Kung Fu Monkey.
The tenth episode of the first season of Wayward Pines aired not only as a season finale, but as a series finale, at that may be just as well when you consider the 10 episodes manage to (as best someone who has not yet had a chance to read the books can tell) cover the plot of not 1 but 3 of Blake Crouch‘s novels, Pines, Wayward and The Last Town. (If you are a Kindle Unlimited reader, or an Amazon Prime Member, all three books are currently enrolled in those programs, and can be “Read for Free” as part of your monthly subscription to the service.)
When Wayward Pines was first pitched and promoted to audiences I was beyond unsure about the show, in part because the commercials I was seeing were emphasizing the thriller aspect, the intensity, the almost twilight zone nature and feel of the plot, but I simply did not feel like I was being given enough information to make a solid informed decision about whether or not I, as a viewer, would enjoy this show. (Let me note, Thrillers are not my first choice genre, I do not enjoy horror or shows with a high gore factor at all, and twilight zone is a show I rarely tuned in to no matter how enticing the guest star might be.)
So why did I sit down and invest roughly ten hours of my time watching this show? The cast. As I pointed out to someone recently, when one actor I have enjoyed in a multitude of works is on a project, that catches my eye. When there are two? I begin to wonder just how they will play together. At what point however have so many actors you know you like the work of signed on to something that you begin to wonder “what was in the script or pitch for this project that it gather 6 or 10 people I know from other works to it?” People who rarely pick projects I regret having sat down to watch? (Yes, this last part is something I also consider.)
Terrence Howard, Carla Gugino, Shannyn Sossamon, Teryl Rothery, Reed Diamond, Juliette Lewis and Melissa Leo all found their way to this project, and seeing them in the commercials, seeing hints of… something, made me curious enough to tune in and find out what drew all of them to Wayward Pines.
There was a definite strange factor to the Wayward Pines episodes. An awareness by almost all the characters that their every movement was being monitored by unknown people for unknown reasons, and that the best way to survive life in this strange community was to play along. A seemingly impossible task for those with children they knew were out there, somewhere, waiting for their return, but a task that it seemed might have become easier for our lead character when his wife and son are mysteriously allowed to join him within Wayward Pines, making him one of the very few lucky ones.
Some appeared to be making the best of the situation they found themselves in, while others were carefully part of an underground movement to escape. To destroy an electrified fence that held them within the confines of Wayward Pines with no idea why they were trapped within these walls.
Very early on their was a strange sense of time within the show… Carla Gugino’s Kate Hewson said she had lived there for 12 years, but Matt Dillon’s Ethan Burke knew her to have been missing a much shorter time (a few months?) The questions about this strange place that did not seem to truly exist began to add up, and while there were a LOT of questions for me that went unanswered, right up to the very end, and I do hope are addressed in some manner in the books, there was also a lot of fascinating twists and developments within the show that unfolded.
I do not want to spoil the show, but I will say it turned out to be worth watching, and far more interesting and entertaining than I ever dared imagine. In episode 5, with the introduction of “the abbies” a gore factor also comes into the show, which I could have done without, but that is where the audience also starts getting a much better handle on what is really going on. Finding out that Wayward Pines is not as isolated as we might think, beginning to understand who is watching the residents, and what those phone calls are about.
As the pieces start to fall into place I could not help but wonder how different a place Wayward Pines might have been… if only a different person had been there at a different time. And perhaps that was a part of the point of the show.
I will note that I wish the final two scenes had been held back for a potential second season. I understand where they were going, and what they had in mind… but I liked where it was just before that, with so many doors open, so many possibilities at hand, and honestly, that was, in some ways, still implied if you paid attention to where characters were during the final episode at the climactic moments. Leaving us to wonder which way the wind blew would have been far more interesting to me, but I can understand the writers wanting to give a definitive glimpse of what they had in mind, and one last reminder that their premise and guiding principle was always, “All Roads Lead To Wayward Pines.”
Wayward Pines aired in the US on Fox Network, and is available on Video On Demand. Hulu currently has 5 episodes available for free, and all 10 available as part of Hulu plus.
A quick edit to add the Wayward Pines trailer for those who have not yet seen it:
John Mayo, of ComicBookPage, and Kay Kellam, of PopArtsPlace, discuss the 2015 spring fall television season.
The short version — the primary focus of this podcast is on the new shows starting up in the spring on “major” networks and cable channels. The shows are in order they are expected to premiere.
With a strong 2014 fall season having resulted in few cancelled shows, the mid-season offerings feel like fewer than expected, for instance iZombie does not yet have a premiere date that we could find.
During the discussion of upcoming mid-season replacements, returning shows, and event series, we also discussed the available trailers, and commercials and how effectively some sold their shows, while others left us needing to find more information.
After recording the episode Kay Kellam discovered PIVOT is moving into scripted programming with Fortitude, just one of many examples of the shows that unfortunately did not make it onto our radar, and the list in time to be included.