Television: The W's: Wayward Pines and The Whispers (and also Proof)

We've entered that pseudo season in which our usual television shows have ended and weird new ones take their places. Two of those I've tried are Wayward Pines and The Whispers.

Wayward Pines is based on a book or series of books, and the show definitely makes me curious to read the source material. Matt Dillon plays Ethan Burke, a Secret Service agent sent to find two agents who went missing only to get into an "accident" and end up in a town he can't leave. The show could have dragged things out, but instead answers questions at a fair pace, resolving issues only to create new ones. I much prefer this. For example, Ethan's wife and teenage son were naturally wondering where he was, but rather than drag out their search for him, they landed themselves in Wayward Pines within a handful of episodes thus upping the game. So far it's proved an interesting enough show that I'll stick with it.

I'm less sure about The Whispers. This is the show with the kids who have an imaginary friend that tells them to do bad things. The friend is, of course, an alien, and the show is ham handed and predictable to a groan-inducing degree. The dialogue is clunky in the extreme. And it was clear from the start that so-and-so's missing husband would be the one they would think was the perpetrator, etc. Ugh. I've watched a couple episodes, and it's not a bad idea, just poorly executed. I can't decide if it's worth enduring the terrible writing and see-through plot.

Finally, I tried Proof, which formally bows on the 16th but is available On Demand. A few years back I read Connie Willis' Passage, and all I could think while watching Proof was, "Did Connie Willis get any credit for this?" The book was about a doctor searching for proof of an afterlife through NDEs. The show is about a doctor searching for proof of an afterlife through NDEs. There's even a boat in the show (in the book it was the Titanic) . . . I don't know, but though Jennifer Beals as the lead is incredibly unlikable—it's another in the new fashion line of "brilliant but antisocial" main characters—I did find myself invested in the show and will probably watch the second episode (also On Demand) tonight.

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