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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

PILOT REVIEW: The Whispers

Note: I am going to go back to more narrative-style reviews for the rest of the summer scripted shows so I can see if I prefer it before the fall.


Starring: Lily Rabe, Barry Sloane, Milo Ventimiglia, Kristen Connolly, Derek Webster, Catalina Denis, Kylie Rogers, Kyle Harrison Breitkopf

Based on "Zero Hour" by Ray Bradbury, Developed by Soo Hugh
Teleplay by Soo Hugh, Directed by Mark Romanek and Brad Turner

The Whispers is an eerie new drama that centers on a paranormal force possessing impressionable children. This mysterious force, known as "Drill," inspires/convinces children to commit horrible acts. We see it in the beginning when young Harper (Kylie Rogers) seemingly tries to kill her mother, Lena (Kristen Connolly). An FBI child specialist and recent widow (or is she?), Claire Bennigan (Lily Rabe) is brought on board to try to talk to Harper and she realizes she's more involved than she thought especially when it comes to her son, Henry (Kyle Harrison Breitkopf) and mysterious John Doe at the hospital (Milo Ventimiglia). Meanwhile, halfway across the world, Lena's husband, Wes (Barry Sloane) is a Defense Department operative stumbling onto something quite unusual.

The Whispers was a pleasant surprise for me and I'm not much of a sci-fi person. That's why the very odd moment in the middle of the pilot nearly turned me off from the show. But before and after, there was enough intriguing moments to make me want to come back for week two. It starts with the kids. As we've seen on sitcoms, kids can make or break a show and they are absolutely crucial here. Luckily, Kylie Rogers is delightfully eerie and creepy, delivering every line with earnest and that makes it all the more difficult to believe a little girl could be capable of terrible acts (or saying the word "amenable"). The other children in the pilot were good too but Rogers is clearly the standout.

The show threw a lot at the wall in the pilot and for awhile, it seemed terribly disjointed. But the last couple minutes of the pilot connected things a lot better than I thought it would and that's important because now I feel more invested. I saw the one twist with Claire's son coming but not the one involving John Doe. Some plot points that seemed cliche such as the deaf son or the tortured back-story to a tough FBI agent actually were more relevant to the plot than I thought they would be. That's not to say there weren't typically TV drama cliches. Claire's uncanny ability to connect with both the little girl and the traumatized mom is seen in almost every crime drama.

For me personally, it probably depends on how sci-fi this show gets that will determine whether or not I stick with it. I liked the pieces they were putting together and they've promised answers in season one so let's see where this goes... and stay away from Drill!

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