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Home > Shows Like > 5 Shows like Wayward Pines: Mysterious Towns & Their People
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5 Shows like Wayward Pines: Mysterious Towns & Their People

Roxanne_Sancto_itcher_contributorAre you into shows like ‘Wayward Pines’ that throw you in at the deep end, getting you hooked on episodes full of unanswered questions? Then you’re going to love the mysteries behind shows like ‘The Leftovers’ and ‘The Prisoner’. ~ Roxanne Sancto

I warned you that revealing the truth would be the death of Wayward Pines, but you wouldn’t listen…

So what exactly is the truth? Ah well, seeing as ‘Wayward Pines’ runs for only one season, I am not going to reveal it. And even if I did – there are so many peculiarities making this town thrive, revealing a partial truth wouldn’t get you anywhere closer to understanding the full truth.

All you need to know is this: Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon) is a Secret Service agent who is sent to the small town of Wayward Pines in Idaho to locate two missing agents. But on the way there he is involved in a car accident. Upon awakening he finds himself in Wayward Pines where any communication with the outside world is impossible and on top of that, he can’t seem to leave. He soon comes to understand that the inhabitants have been brainwashed to follow a strict set of rules made out by Sheriff Arnold Pope (Terrence Howard)…

‘Wayward Pines’ is based on ‘The Wayward Pines Trilogy’ by Blake Crouch and is extremely surprising in that, the first part of the show is entirely different from the second part of the show. If you like TV shows like ‘Wayward Pines’ that allow you to put your Detective’s hat on and solve strange puzzles and cases, you’re going to love the shows listed below!

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Shows Similar to ‘Wayward Pines’…

‘The Prisoner’ (AMC, 2009)

Based on the cult series from the late sixties, the world of ‘The Prisoner’ is just as confusing and strange as that of ‘Wayward Pines’. It follows Michael (Jim Caviezel) as he awakens in the desert to find masked guards chasing an elderly man. Before the guards can catch him, the man passes on a message to Michael: “Tell them I got out”.

“Out of what?”, you may wonder. Turns out, the old man managed to escape The Village, the place Michael is taken to following his experience in the desert. The inhabitants of The Village go by numbers, not names and most of them don’t remember anything about their identity prior to their arrival at The Village. Except for The Dreamers…

Similarity Match: 85%
Both Michael and Ethan are trapped in villages that may look perfect to the outside world but are scary to those inhabiting them. The plotline of ‘Wayward Pines’ is slightly more twisted than that of ‘The Prisoner’.

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‘Under the Dome’ (CBS, 2013)

Based on the 2009 novel by Stephen King, ‘Under the Dome’ tells the story of the residents of Chester’s Mill, a town which has been cut off from the rest of the world with a giant transparent dome. The residents have tried to destroy it but to no avail – the dome seems to be indestructible. While the frenzied media and military forces try to find a solution from the outside, residents try their best to survive on the inside.

While Barbie (Mike Vogel), a visitor to Chester’s Mill, and Julia (Rachelle Lefevre), an investigative reporter, try to figure out who put the dome in place and for what purpose, the town’s councilman James “Big Jim” Rennie (Dean Norris) has other ideas…

Similarity Match: 80%
Unlike the people of ‘Wayward Pines’, residents of Chester’s Mill are trapped in their town by an outside force, whereas Ethan and the rest are trapped by inside forces. But both towns are riddled with mysteries.

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‘Twin Peaks’ (ABC, 1990)

It’s no wonder we get so obsessed with TV series like ‘Wayward Pines’: with the main characters being “outsiders” themselves, we really get to experience their new surroundings and the people they meet along the way through their eyes. The same is true for Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) who is sent to the seemingly idyllic town of ‘Twin Peaks’ to investigate the murder of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee).

‘Twin Peaks’ was one of the most popular mystery shows of the nineties and has reached absolute cult status. Thanks to the relentless campaigning from “Tweaksies” the world over, David Lynch, Mark Frost and Showtime reunited this year to film the continuation of the series which has been scheduled to release in 2017.

Similarity Match: 75%
The people of ‘Twin Peaks’ are free to leave whenever they want, but the secrets buried between the Sycamore Trees seems to hold a certain power over them. Where ‘Wayward Pines’ gets lost in its own puzzles, ‘Twin Peaks’ is pure Lynchian.

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If You Like ‘Wayward Pines’, You Will Like…

If you’re a huge fan of series similar to ‘Wayward Pines’, it’s probably because you enjoy shows that are a little more daring: storylines that make you think, characters that aren’t easy to define and above all, shows that are all about the element of surprise.
If you’re looking for more shows that will make you think outside the box, be sure to check out ‘The Leftovers’ and ‘True Detective’.

‘The Leftovers’ (HBO, 2014)

One minute you’re sat around the table having breakfast with your family, the next – your children’s seats are empty and they are nowhere to be found. They’re not dead – there are no corpses to be seen- they’re just gone, departed.

Three years after the so-called “Sudden Departure” of 140 million people, the remaining population tries to go back to life as they once knew it. But with the increase of strange cults like the Guilty Remnant, finding a sense of normalcy seems almost impossible.

The people of ‘Wayward Pines’ and ‘The Leftovers’ are looking for answers. But whereas the peculiarities in ‘Wayward Pines’ operate on brainwashing, ‘The Leftovers’ are driven by grief and fear.

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‘True Detective’ (HBO, 2014)

We were completely blown away by the first season of ‘True Detective’ which starred Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. We were bummed to hear that the second season would be unrelated to the storyline of the first and would introduce entirely new characters, but seeing as ‘Fargo’ managed quite well with this approach we weren’t all too worried. But I think it’s safe to say that the majority of us weren’t all too impressed with the second season of ‘True Detective’.

The first season follows Detective Rustin Cohle and Martin Hart as they aim to find a serial killer over a 17-year period. With McConaughey and Harrelson portraying both the past and present versions of their characters, one really comes to understand the magnificence of their respective acting skills and diversity.
I can almost guarantee that there was not one single ‘True Detective’ fan who was unaffected by McConaughey’s portrayal of Rustin Cohle – a stellar performance!

The atmosphere and backdrop of ‘True Detective’ is incomparable, but ‘Wayward Pines’ harbours an eerie feeling similar to that of the Louisiana swamps.

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Spooky Towns and Unusual Characters

If you have a thing for spooky towns and characters that haven’t been created to satisfy the mainstream, I’m sure you’ll find plenty on this list to still your need for all things obscure and unexplainable.

Which town would you want to find yourself lost in one night?

My name is Roxanne Sancto and I’ll be writing all things music, book and movie related for itcher mag. I also write for New Heroes & Pioneers’ upcoming Festival and Culture magazines, to be launched in the spring of 2014. I am the co-author of The Pink Boots and am currently working on two new novels. I love music, literature, cinema, crafting, yoga and animals.
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