The Final “Harper’s Island” Chat: A Killer And A Survivor

Well, kids, it’s over: “Harper’s Island” has reached its conclusion, and we finally know who the killer is. I get the impression, however, that many people had it figured out long ago. As for me, I’ve said it elsewhere, but just for the record, I’ll say it here as well: I never really had a theory, because I was too busy enjoying the ride. As a result, I didn’t have nearly as many problems with the final episode as, say, Michael Slezak over at EW’s PopWatch Blog. Now, that’s not to say that I didn’t spend a fair amount of time saying to my wife, “It couldn’t be that person, could it? That’d be too easy, wouldn’t it?” But never once could I be heard to suggest that I had any real idea as to who was knocking off folks on a weekly basis.

I did, however, find myself growing increasingly enthusiastic about seeing who the Victim of the Week was. It’s hard to tell how many people were reading these interviews, since – with the notable exception of Jim Beaver – the majority of the comments tended to be criticisms of my victim numbering (in retrospect, I never should’ve started counting them in the first place, but it’s far too late to worry about it now), but I’ve certainly enjoyed talking to the various folks over the course of these 13 episodes. If nothing, I feel that, by doing these weekly interviews, I managed to bring “Harper’s Island” to the attention of some of my friends who might not otherwise have been aware of it, so I’ll take my sense of accomplishment where I can find it.

One last observation: if you dug the show, or if you missed the first episode or two and figured you’d never be able to catch up, then you’ll be pleased to hear that the series will be released on DVD on September 8, 2009. Better yet, it will be filled with loads of bonus material, including some of the scenes you may have read about in these interviews which didn’t make the cut. If you want to get your pre-order in right now, all you have to do is click right here.

And with that bit of shilling for CBS/Paramount out of the way, let us move onward and offer up the final installment in our “Harper’s Island” interview series…!

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A Chat With “Harper’s Island” Victim #12

It was a gut-wrenching death on this week’s “Harper’s Island,” partly because it was gruesome, partly because you were forced to sit there knowing full well that it was impending and couldn’t be stopped, but mostly because it was a character we knew more about than just about anyone else on the show.

This is another one of those cases where, although I wasn’t rooting for this person to get the call from Karim, I was still very much looking forward to talking to the actor in question…and, in fact, I enjoyed the interview so much that, although I’m not going to mention the person until after the jump, I will at least say this much to random web surfers who happen upon this entry: you don’t have to be a dedicated viewer of “Harper’s Island” to click onward. You could just be a fan of the work of David Milch (“Deadwood,” “John from Cincinnati”), or of “Supernatural,” and you’d still enjoy reading what lies after the jump.

So what are you waiting for?

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A Chat with “Harper’s Island” Victim #8

See, I told you this week’s victim interview would be posted in a timely fashion.

If you’ve been watching “Harper’s Island” all along, then this was probably the least surprising death of the series to date. It’s not that you necessarily saw it coming this week, per se; it’s simply that, due to an event in an earlier episode, you sensed that the character had been living on borrowed time, anyway. And while I don’t want to say that I’d actually been rooting for that time to run out, I have to admit that this was an interview I’d been looking forward to, due to the other credits found within this person’s IMDb listing…one of which will be returning to the airwaves next month.

Oh, but I’ve said too much. Let’s move onward before I give away anything else…

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“Harper’s Island” — good idea, spotty execution

** WARNING: FIRST EPISODE “HARPER’S ISLAND” SPOILERS AHEAD **

There are/were a few reasons to be optimistic about CBS’s 13-part miniseries: 1) the premise — 13 episodes with one character dying each week until the murderer is revealed, 2) it has a good look and feel to it, and 3) it has an end date.

As I was watching the premiere, I was amazed by the utter lack of familiar faces. Anytime Harry Hamlin is the most famous actor on a series, it can’t be a good sign. (No offense, Harry. I do like your work, but you’re just not the carry-a-series type anymore. By the way, see Will Harris’ interview with Hamlin here.) I watch a lot of TV, and other than Hamlin, I only recognized three faces — Chris Gauthier (Vincent from “Eureka”), Richard Burgi (Karl from “Desperate Housewives”) and Jim Beaver (Uncle Bobby from “Supernatural”) — and I think it’s safe to say that each of these actors play supporting characters on those other series. This lack of “name” talent tells me one of two things: 1) they couldn’t cast the actors they wanted, or 2) they purposefully went with relatively unknown talent to keep everyone guessing. (One of the best ways to solve a television mystery is to see if there are any recognizable guest stars in the cast. If so, there’s a good chance that you’ve found your killer. For that reason, Hamlin’s casting and subsequent murder did surprise.)

One of the other problems with the premiere is that it really didn’t grab me. CBS put together a solid promo campaign for the series, but the first episode just didn’t live up to the hype. For one, the characters really didn’t make much of an impact. Even after watching each actress in a few scenes, I’m still not sure if I could pick the bride or the bride’s sister out of a lineup. Secondly, save for maybe Abby Mills (the groom’s best friend whose mother died in murders years ago), there really isn’t anyone to root for. I realize that they need to keep things close to the vest, but would it hurt to have two or three protagonists to cheer for?

I’m pretty sure that I’m going to save myself 12 hours and just check the “Harper’s Island” wiki page in a few months and see what happened. There is just too much good television on right now (and my Netflix queue is getting pretty backed up). Besides, other than the occasional comedy and “The Unit,” it seems anytime I start watching a CBS series, it just doesn’t end well.

  

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