Episode Reviews (20)

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  • 9.0

    A murder mystery turned slasher film in 13 episodes – what a fantastic idea!

    A promising pilot with lots of characters introduced and an intriguing mystery set up!

    By scifigay, Sep 27, 2011

    A murder mystery turned slasher film in 13 episodes – what a fantastic idea!

    First off, I loved the premise for this show! As a big horror fan, the idea of the big group being picked off one by one over a multi-episodic story arc really appeals to me – it should allow time to really get to know some of the characters (though unlikely to be all of them, given that there are 25 suspects to be whittled down). The location wedding of Henry (Christopher Gorham) and Trish (Katie Cassidy is the setting of the mystery, as gruesome murders echo events from the eponymous Islands past.

    CBS have managed to offer up a pretty good pilot with their first episode Whap (with each title referring to the sound of the main death in the episode, in this case Uncle Marty), giving glimpses into the murders that occurred 7 years previously on the island, and to the backstories of a few characters. With so many characters to introduce in the first episode, only a few of them were given much depth – I look forward to that changing. The class difference between the bride and groom (and their respective friends) adds an interesting conflict to the wedding, epitomised in the father of the bride, Thomas Wellington (Richard Burghi), whose plot to derail the wedding by bringing back the bride's past lover Hunter Jennings (Victor Webster) is the one part of this pilot that I didn't like. This storyline came across as cheesy and clichĂ©d, though it was redeemed slightly by Trish stating categorically her love for her fiancĂ©, making her more endearing than your typical confused bride.

    At this stage, I have no idea who the killer could be, or why they would be doing it. The constant references to the islands past and the Wakefield killings make it clear that the two events are connected, and this larger mystery is intriguing. With only small flashes of what went on before, it is clear that discovering more about that will give a clearer picture of what is going on now. It is interesting however that it all seems to centre around Abby Mills (Elaine Cassidy), the grooms best friend, whose mother was killed by John Wakefield in the original massacre.

    With at least one death promised every week, it is clear that this show will include brutal and unexpected murders, and the decision to get the first one out of the way before they'd even reached the island was genius, truly giving a sense of how dangerous this killer is. To then take Uncle Marty, played by one of the shows biggest names, Harry Hamlin, and indisputably one of the pilots most interesting characters, and kill him off at the end, was a very bold message to the audience that no-one is safe. Uncle Marty was carrying a gun and a bag of money, flirting with younger women and threatening the man who's putting his nephew's happiness at risk made him easily the most watchable character – I just hope that we get some answers to his behaviour despite his untimely, and gruesome, demise on the bridge, which set the standard high for the climactic deaths to future episodes.

    Finally, my thoughts on some individual characters:

    Abby: The main protagonist of the show, Abby is both tough and likable. I'm still impressed by Elaine Cassidy's American accent, which slipped a little once, but is otherwise flawless! To have her drink beer with the groomsmen, and break up a bar fight easily endears her to the audience, and I look forward to seeing exactly why all the madness seems to centre around her.

    Sidenote: Also want to see more of her friend Nikki from the bar – that girl rocks!

    Sheriff Mills (Jim Beaver): It's a credit to this actor that he probably had the least screen time, yet already sticks out as one of the most interesting characters. Clearly there is a lot we don't know about his relationship with Abby, but the short conversation in the car already makes him a sympathetic character about whom I look forward to learning more.

    Chloe and Cal: Chloe (Cameron Richardson) could easily be just a typical blonde bombshell character – she's girly, flirty and at one point she strips off and runs off into the sea at night. However, her interest in serial killers adds an interesting aspect that could elevate her beyond her stereotype – we'll just have to wait to see if it will. As for Cal (Adam Campbell), the most foppish British stereotype I've seen in a while, his bumbling nature could easily get irritating. His engagement hopes gain him some sympathy, though the look of rage on his face as he dunked Chloe underwater shows there could well be another side to him...

    Madison (Cassandra Sawtell): CREEPY CHILD ALERT!! This girl is freaky. While it would be a bit far-fetched to have her behind it all, I can't help but be suspicious of this girl, who somehow seems more clued in than most about what's going on.

    The groomsmen seem like an interesting bunch of guys, while the bridesmaids remain fairly undeveloped so far.

    The first episode introduced a lot of characters – bring on episode 2 and hopefully some further development! I can't wait!moreless

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  • 9.0

    Pilot episode

    By vicky24c, May 23, 2010

    In this episode of Harper's Island, the following happens. The main focus of this pilot episode is Abby Mills, who is returning to her childhood home of Harper's Island for the wedding of her best friend, Henry. We quickly learn that Abby's mother was killed on the island by a serial killer, who has since been caught and has been killed. Soon things don't appear as they seem, as we see that someone on the island is still killing, in this one episode alone we see 2 murders. Overall quite an interesting episode, I will keep watching as it was better than I thought it was going to be.moreless

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  • 9.0

    A very fun and gory first episode.

    By whiteraven2005, Sep 15, 2009

    Given the sheer volume of characters, a pretty good job was done of introducing everyone and even focusing on a few, already introducing the sub plots. Right after that is the number of well known names in this. Also noteworthy is that there are two Supernatural actors in here too: Jim Beaver and Katie Cassidy (almost unrecognizable here with dark hair). The murders are suitably shocking and apparently random, but I also really enjoyed the introduction of the previous murders on the island, the few flashbacks have been extremely intriguing and not the usual slasher images, instead the bodies were hung on display in the trees.

    A very impressive beginning, I already know I'm going to watch the rest.moreless

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  • 10

    This is the best show in the whole world!

    By japeepaul, May 13, 2009

    It has great actors! The casts and characters are great! I love it!

    It began with a boat party with the guests and people aboard the boat. They went to Harper's Island to relax, enjoy, celebrate and...to die. Ben and Uncle Marty died on this episode. I thought it will be the dog owner, Lucy. The actors and actresses are, honestly, great in acting especially Harry Hamlin! They are all great in acting! Watch this show! I recommend it!

    I downloaded all the episodes 1-5 on itunes! I am starting to collect the episodes and I will watch it again if I want.moreless

    1 6

  • 1.5

    A group of old friends travel by boat to an island with a past to celebrate a wedding. Two end up dead by the end of the show.

    By lynnedolby, Apr 23, 2009

    Oh no!!! My brain cells were murdered!

    With the backdrop of the Pacific Northwest and a storyline with some potential, this show had the opportunity to be excellent. Speaking as a person with a theatre degree, the acting and the writing were completely disappointing. None of the characters was smarter than a fifth grader. I didn't believe a single character (no, I have to be fair--the pale, stiff blank-staring people hanging by their necks from the tree did look dead).

    I have difficulty believing that anyone could even watch a second episode. Not even the quirky music in the background could add humor to the scenes with the admittedly beautiful flirtatious blonde and the awkward rich guy. The characters were all very attractive people that seemed to memorize their lines and blocking well, but I wouldn't call them actors, aside from one or two older veteran television actors, one of which they killed off in the first episode. It is impossible to have a good quality show without good writing and good actors to bring that writing to life.moreless

    8 8

  • 8.0

    A series of brutal murders occurred on an island a few years ago. A wedding brings family and friends to the same island and the murders begin again.

    By a4lyon, Apr 20, 2009

    Bottom Line: OK

    From the beginning this show feels more like a mini-series than the makings of a full season show, let alone multi-seasons. After watching one episode I must say that I am still curious to see where the writers are taking this but I am disappointed. So far the plot seems very similar to so many movies. A group of friends in the woods chased by an unknown, unseen, psycho murderer, who picks them off one by one... It definitely doesn't "Scream" originality. Sorry, I couldn't help myself! I do think that some of the violence is a little graphic for CBS. Personally I could see it as a better fit on HBO. Overall I would say that if you like horror movies you should probably give this show a chance. I will be tuning in for at least a couple more episodes, but I'm not expecting much.moreless

    4 2

  • 7.0

    Maybe unoriginal, but still good.

    By Aumber, Apr 19, 2009

    Reading the reviews I have noticed that a lot of people are not liking this show. In my opinion its great, its a mindless show to get lost in for an hour. Going back to great films we all loved as kids including "I Know What you Did Last Summer" and "Scream". Hopefully the killer is unpredictable but you never know it could be the brother who the creators are obviously trying to make you believe.

    One thing I do love is that this show has an End in sight, its not a pilot its a short series with a start and end. We wont end up with the fiasco that the "Reunion" was in which we still don't know who the killer was. Over all I give the show a 7.moreless

    1 4

  • 6.5

    In an attempt to mix Agatha Cristie and slasher films, Harper's Island doesn't quite get it right.

    By Yagr_Zero, Apr 18, 2009

    Harper's Island, the location of where a wedding party will head to their inevitable doom. Yep, that's right, there's a murderer among the party. I have to say that I was one of those people who was quite excited for the show to arrive, but after seeing the first episode, Harper's Island is off to a slow start.

    "Whap" opens up with a happy beginning as we're introduced to the wedding group and soon the first victim. The writers do a pretty good job with introducing the cast of characters - even though most of them are cliches - within the time slot and also doing a pretty good job at hiding who're going to be the first victims. But, when it comes to setting the atmosphere and mood, they don't quite achieve the correct setting. To call this part Agatha Christie probably isn't the best term to use. Agatha Christie, while being known for creating fantastic murder mysteries where you wouldn't know who did it, is also the master of the atmosphere, and for Harper's Island, that isn't quite set. You don't really get that sense of impending doom. There are a few attempts, but they fall flat, leaving it somewhere closer to a bad teen horror movie.

    "Whap" doesn't do a whole lot right in terms of atmosphere, but they do a very good job at keeping each death, and this series is pretty much like Survivor, a surprise, to make the series worthy of a try.moreless

    3 5

  • 6.5

    hey i thought it was o.k

    i like the whodunnit sort of programs its good for exercising the mind lol

    By lediude30, Apr 16, 2009

    I think the killer might be abbys ex boyfriend lol

    1 he works at the wharf so easy access to to boats to get to the mainland to put the first victim under the boat. also he was just a little to helpful and seemed eager to get in the water when helping that dude with the propeller he even jumped in the water with all his clothes on aint it aint because its cold because that couple went swimming at night. he also works with knives lol um what else he seems to nice especially for a guy who got dumped also i think the killer has to be male because lifting a guy with scuba gear on seems heavy plus the killer made quick work of the uncles body suggesting a fair amount of strenth any way thats just my thoughts on who the killer is plenty of time for things to change and my opinion to change.moreless

    1 1

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