Do not try to leave.
Do not discuss the past.
Do not discuss your life before.
Always answer the phone if it rings.
Work hard, be happy, and enjoy your life in Wayward Pines.

Wayward Pines looks like a delightful slice of Idaho. A cheery little town with few cars where everyone smiles a lot and knows you by name.

Everyone. Knows. You.

This sinister new thriller based on the novel by Blake Crouch draws you in deep and then twists your mind episode to episode, thanks in no small part to executive producer and director M Night Shyamalan.

Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon) sets out to find two fellow Secret Service Agents who went missing in Wayward Pines he expects it to be a fairly run of the mill case. It’s made trickier by the fact that one of the missing Agents is Kate (Carla Gugino) with whom Burke had an affair that nearly killed his marriage. On the way he has a car accident and wakes in the Wayward Pines Hospital, staffed by the delightfully creepy Nurse Pam (Melissa Leo), with little memory of how he got there and without ID, money or wallet. The more he investigates the less he likes about this sleepy little town with the painted-on smile.

With Ethan missing for so long and uncontactable his wife Theresa (Shannyn Sossamon) and his son Ben (Charlie Tahan) decide to go looking for him and you know that isn’t gonna end well. Especially when they meet Sheriff Arnold Pope (Terence Howard), who seems to have a habit of popping up every time something goes wrong around town.

Juliette Lewis is well-cast opposite Dillon as Bethany the local barkeep who knows everyone’s secrets and Burke’s first ally in decoding what it is that has the people of Wayward Pines so scared.

It’s an incredibly eerie and joyously dark drama that proffers many more questions that it answers. Why does Wayward Pines exist? Who is controlling these people? Why are they still there? Whose idea of Utopia is this? You’ll fanatically squirrel away tidbits of information from one episode to help you piece together the clues from the next as the story twists and turns you (and the cast) on your head. Just as you think you’ve got it worked out – you don’t. You really, really don’t.

The week to week suspense of this well-measured series will keep drawing you back in as you learn more about the characters and root for their success, or failure… or both. It’s perfectly captivating Thursday night viewing that will have you hooked from the start.

Always answer the phone if it rings.

Wayward Pines (10 eps) – Thu 8:30pm AEST, FX.