Harper's Island

Season 1 Episode 1


Aired Thursday 10:00 PM Apr 09, 2009 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (20)

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out of 10
462 votes
  • 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.

    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.
  • 'Whap' seems like a good introduction to this television series. However...Cliché, Cheesy,low budget explain this episode. It also fails to build any suspense.

    All of the characters seem to be very well acquainted with each other right off the bat, which eliminates any possibility for the show to grow on people. You either like it from the start or you do not. Actors seem mis-matched, and all the male characters are extremely nerdy yet paired up with gorgeous girls. Furthermore, overall choice of actors seems to be very poor, and show seems to be very low budget. Moments that are meant to be deep and/or significant are not given enough time or proper setting. Choice of music is poor and not properly suited to scenes. Very Cliché. Screams 90's soap opera. Lame
  • So far a real letdown...

    I don't watch too many shows as they air live. There are a few that I am currently following, but I generally wait until the show is cancelled before I watch them. With that said, I have been looking forward to Harper's Island for quite a while now. However, I was quite disappointed with the pilot. The story was boring, unoriginal, and cliched throughout. The acting was terrible as well. It felt more like a soap opera than anything; a bunch of attractive, clueless morons. It was like a mix of the O.C., I still know what you did last summer, and scream, which in my humble opinion, is not a great combination. I will continue to watch this season, but I dont know if Ive seen a worse pilot. Also, ask yourself this, After watching this episode, can you name one character that wasnt annoying and obnoxious? I can't.
  • Oh, no ! They killed the film editor. And the icescream tastes bitter sweet.

    When I read it was a Scream-like TV series I instantly thought it was a great idea. I remember how entertaining films like I Know What You Did Last Summer and Urban Legend were. Sexy babes running around half naked and scared to death with the usual dumb and completely irrational decisions made. So I wasn't expecting Harper's Island to reinvent the wheel and imprint its own identity in the horror genre. And well after watching this episode I can say it almost lived up to my expectations.

    First there're both beautiful actresses and really dumb characters. The redhot blonde, the naive guy who wants to get married as soon as possible, the fishermen butchering meat in bright daylight, rich and average people clashing against each other, emo-teenagers… So It almost felt like hanging in a candy shop and wondering which sweet you will taste next. The other nice thing about it was the actual story. Using an island is not original but at least it allows the writers to better shape things. It's like if the events were taking place in their own time and dimension. There're them and the outside world. It's how it felt when they left the boat, like if they were about to enter the Realm of Scream. One last good thing was the acting. There're many known faces and the performances made the characters more believable even if they weren't all perfect.

    However it was far from being flawless and in fact many things disappointed me. For example even if you don't expect the characters to be original some of them are real clichés. It's a bad thing because it's obvious they're already on the death list. But of course the intriguing part is that you don't know when it's going to happen, that leads us to an other problem. Indeed it felt like some scary scenes were just here to fill the blanks. And the real issue is that they weren't scary at all, even ridiculous at times. It was specially disappointing considering how short some of them were. So instead of focusing on too many characters and events at the same time I think the writers should have properly introduced them one after the other. For example what about a new character arriving on the island per episode ? Also an other problem was the film editing. I don't know who was in charge but that person was probably killed before the job was done or it didn't know what continuity means. Sometimes it almost felt like the scenes were randomly filmed and edited. It's not mixing, it's shaking and the result wasn't just awful.

    So this episode had both pros and cons but in general I think it achieved its goal of emulating Scream. In fact my only major complain is that it should also have grabbed some ideas from cult films like Final Destination or The Descent. I want to get really scared and have no idea of what will happen next. So I really hope the writers will come up with better story elements in the upcoming episodes or else the viewers will leave the island one by one. Moreover I can't help comparing the protagonists with charismatic characters like Sidney so we'll see if Abby grows on us as much as the emo-girl did in the Scream trilogy.
  • In an attempt to mix Agatha Cristie and slasher films, Harper's Island doesn't quite get it right.

    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.
  • hey i thought it was o.k i like the whodunnit sort of programs its good for exercising the mind lol

    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.
  • Maybe unoriginal, but still good.

    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.
  • Boy and girl go to get married. Daddy tries to break it up secretly. Young people having fun. Some sex. Some drinking. Lots of lying, two people get murdered. I am not good a summaries, so it was not meant to be exactly perfect.

    So far I am interested in what happens next. I think maybe there might be too many characters, to get to them before they start getting killed off. I like the main characters and I am interested in seeing if there really is a wedding in all this.
    I think we should give it more of a chance to see if it delivers what it previews. I also am not sure if 13 episodes is enough to explain the past, and show the present. If we do not care about the people who were killed before, we may not care about the ones now or who it is doing it.
  • A decent start to an interesting and innovative show.

    The first thing I could think of whenever I saw the previews for this first episode and then after watching it was a "Twin Peaks" for the new generation. By the way, if anyone out there has never seen "twin peaks," do yourself a favor and check it out - I don't think you'll regret it. Anyway, this first episode was good. Not spectacular by an way, sense or form, but good. Compared to some of the other (most of the other, who am I kidding) new television shows that are premiering these days, this is actually a pleasant diversion. And we know the set-up; 13 episodes, everyone dies, everyone is a suspect. There will be no sequels or "filler" episodes. I think that is pretty damn cool. And this first episode is off to a decent start. Sure, some of the casting is bad, but, not to the point where the episode wasn't entertaining.
  • i started watching this show after it had been on the air for 2 months. had i known Gina Holden was on it i would have watched it from the beginning.

    i've been a fan of her since she was on blood ties, i even tried watching an episode of the train wreck that was flash gordon on syfy because she was on it. anyway, she's not the star of this show, even though she should be.

    this started out as ok 1st episode that introduced everyone & the cliche storyline that's been done before: poor boy marries rich girl, rich dad not happy. But then the show became awesome! i was not expecting that guy to be killed when the boat left for the island they even showed the blood in the water & as if that wasn't enough they killed uncle marty in the very 1st episode in a really gruesome way. two people dead & the show just started! i can't believe this show is on the air! it's amazing. a horror movie on broadcast television. it's crazy. I can't wait for the next episode.
  • Pretty Good.

    Pretty good, I think that the little girl is somehow involved, maybe working for the killer, but i don't think she is the killer. I think maybe the killer is hunter. However, some of the people are kinda weird, like i thought that the Uncle Marty was really weird, but then he was a victim, so idk. But i think the killer should have moved the body, because so far, no one knows the killer is back, and if the blond guy goes after his gf, (who went back on the bridge) then he will find the body. However, very good overall
  • 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.

    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.
  • Harper's Island is the setting for the wedding of Trish Wellington and Henry Dunn. We begin as the wedding party and guests arrive for a week long celebration of their upcoming union.

    Trish Wellington and Henry Dunn are about to be married in a week.. They and their entire wedding party and guests set off on a chartered boat to their former hometown of Harper's Island, off the coast of Seattle. Trish and Henry seem to be mismatched. She comes from a wealthy family and his family worked on the island during tourist season. However, they seem to be deeply in love.

    Trish's father seems to believe that Henry is not good enough for his daughter and has secretly brought over Trish's ex to try to lure her away from Henry. Henry's best friend Abby is also in attendance and she must put aside her fears and battle bad memories of her mother's death. Henry and Abby must also keep an eye on Henry's troubled brother JD. Abby is dealing with her ex-boyfriend, Jimmy, who had a difficult time dealing with their breakup, Abby just up and left, no goodbye.

    Several other focus characters in this episode---Chloe and Cal. They seem to be quite the mismatched pair. She's a flirt and very sexual. He's shy and almost a prude. There's Madison, the flower girl. She's kinda creepy. The first time we see her, she's trying to set a slug on fire with a magnifying glass. Later she's hovering at her parent's bed in the middle of the night, her mother wakes and she says a bunch of people were murdered on the island and smiles creepily. We haen't seen much from the rest of the wedding party and guests. Later I assume.

    The first murder occurs during the ride out to the island, Trish's cousin was tied to the rudder of the boat and chopped to death. NO one has discovered this as of yet, Jimmy was literally inches from the decapitated head. There are several scenes where you think the next murder might occur, nope, just messing with you. Finally, near the end of the episode, Henry's Uncle Marty becomes the second victim. Marty is cut in half after falling on a plank bridge.

    All in all, not a bad start. I will definitely be tuning in next week.
  • 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!


    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 clichéd, though it was redeemed slightly by Trish stating categorically her love for her fiancé, 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!

  • Pilot episode

    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.
  • A very fun and gory first episode.

    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.
  • I think that this show has great potential...

    I'm not entirely convinced that Harper's Island will be around for more than one season, but it's certainly off to a good start for me.

    There are several suspects of who the killer is, in my own opinion: the original killer, who is supposedly dead, that one girls (the best friend of the groom) father or brother, the groom himself (though doubtful at the moment), the grooms bride, the groom's uncle, and a few possible others -as unlikely as they are. I am looking forward to seeing more of the show; if nothing else, I'd like to know who the killer actually is... and who manages to survive the killer's clutches. I just hope that the show's on long enough to find out that particular information...
  • This episode was a pretty good start to what is going to be a very suspenseful series. (Spoilers)

    This was an impressive pilot episode for this suspense series. I really enjoyed it from beginning to end, and I'm interested to see which characters survive, and who the killer is. I'm already starting to become a fan of some of the characters, and I'm looking forward to seeing more character development from them. The way the two victims in this episode were killed was pretty unique, and I'm curious about the ways the next victims will be killed. I'm very excited about the next episode; and I'll be sure to keep on watching this series. Overall, I give this episode, Whap, a 9 out of 10.
  • Whap was the series premiere of Harper's Island.

    After watching the first episode of Harper's Island, I think that I will follow the show to the end of the season, just to see who the killer is. The first episode was a gruesome and intriguing beginning to what could easily be an excellent show. As long as the show doesn't become too cheesy, I would definitely recommend it to anyone with a strong stomach. I really like both the characters of Abby and Chloe, as well as Cal and Henry. I think that those characters were the most interesting, and I am very interested to see how their stories end up. I especially hope that none of them die soon.
  • This is the best show in the whole world!

    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.