Tag: Harper’s Island review

Here are my problems with the last episode of “Harper’s Island”…

First things first, if you haven’t watched the most recent episode (“Splash”) then you might want to skip to the next post, because there are major spoilers ahead.

I’ll go ahead and insert a jump here so that anyone who proceeds does so willingly.

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


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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