Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Watch Harper's Island

Watch Harper's Island, CBS's murder mystery show! It's cheesy and campy, but oh so addictive! Please don't let me down, US peeps, I need to know how the story plays out!

Let me let CBS tell you what the show is about:

HARPER'S ISLAND is about a group of family and friends who travel to a secluded island off the coast of Seattle for a destination wedding. This island is famous for a streak of unsolved murders from seven years ago. Although they've come to laugh and to love, what they don't know is they've also come... to die. As the wedding festivities begin, friendships are tested and secrets exposed as a murderer claims victims, one by one, transforming the wedding week of fun and celebration into a terrifying struggle for survival.

In every episode, someone is killed and every person is a suspect, from the wedding party to the island locals. By the end of the 13 episodes, all questions will be answered, the killer will be revealed and only a few will survive.

That last part is what I find really appealing about the show: it has an end date. The story won't be stretched out over 5 seasons. We won't have to worry that we'll never find out who the killer is when ratings drop so low CBS wants to cancel it, because all 13 episodes have already been filmed.

The show has been described as Ten Little Indians meets Scream. I get the Agatha Christie reference, but no way is this show like Scream. Campy like Scream 3? Maybe. Sure, our supposed heroine Abby (Elaine Cassidy) has dead mommy issues. And like in Scream, people die. But the characters in Scream have self-awareness. The characters in Harper's Island are self involved. Which brings me to one of my biggest issues with the show: how come no one notices people are missing?

You have reached SPOILER TERRITORY so beware! I have seen the first 5 episodes and will spoil certain deaths and storylines below. However, I will give another spoiler warning before I really spoil something.

Really it annoyed me to no end that SPOILER a bridesmaid died in the second ep yet her disappearance isn't explained until the 5th episode. And then what really bugged is that I read an interview with Sean Rogerson, who plays Booth, that a scene where they mentioned the bridesmaid's absence was cut from the episode! Yes, vital information gets cut, but about a gazillion other things they kept in. Great job, editor! /SPOILER

While we're on the subject of crew members who should've done a better job.. Dear casting director, why cast so many people that look alike so it takes me 5 episodes and a visit to the CBS website to figure out who all these people are? There are a lot of characters on this show, yet with the exception of one of the groomsmen who is African American, there is no cultural diversity at all! All the women are white and either blonde or brunette, which makes it difficult to keep track of who's who. I'm pretty familiar with Katie Cassidy and Gina Holden, but throw them in with the 4 other brunettes and even I'm confused. At least the groomsmen don't look alike, but Adam Campbell (the Brit) and the guy who plays JD (the groom's brother) do have similar faces.

I have another problem with the casting. The original pilot presentation had different cast members, including Ryan Merriman as the groom and Bill Pullman as Uncle Marty. While I'm totally on board with replacing Merriman with Christopher Gorham as the groom as Merriman is so young looking, getting rid of Pullman confuses me slightly. Look, Harry Hamlin is great and I enjoyed him as Uncle Marty, but he did add to the camp factor. Just like Adam Campbell was part of the original cast AND THEY KEPT HIM! Watching him in the pilot is like I'm watching him in Date Movie again. That's not a compliment. And also, Topher Grace wants his DNA back. I'm really wondering here if it was their intention to make the show campy. If so, they succeeded. If not, then I have no words. Honestly, I like show. But I'd rather like the show because it's good, not because it's so bad it's good.

Finally, our lead Abby is played by Elaine Cassidy. I have never seen this girl before, but I can say I don't like her in this role. The character of Abby (the groom's best friend) doesn't work for me. The Powers that Be are trying too hard to make us like her. Everyone on the island seems to like her. The groomsmen like her. Even the friggin' bride likes her. Okay, I get it, she's supposed to be awesome. Yet what I'm seeing is a plain Jane who pushes people away. The cast is huge and most of the screentime is focused on her and her background. I get bored everytime she's on screen being all angsty. Normally I'm not a fan of KATIE Cassidy, but she's Meryl Streep compared to ELAINE Cassidy here. At least I'm not hoping Katie dies everytime she's on screen. Really, I would've cut the character of Abby and put the focus on the bride and groom.

Okay, I've been complaining a lot but I do really like the show. It's fun! I can't wait for the next ep to see who dies next. Hah I originally typed 'how dies next'. The kills are interesting so yeah, I also want to know HOW the next person dies! Plus, Richard Burgi as the bride's dad is very awesome. Chris Gorham is a cutie! And Jim Beaver as the Sheriff is cool!

As for the killer. Really, I have no clue. It could be anyone at this point. I have a lame theory though. The show reminds me of the movie Mindhunters, where a bunch of people are trapped on an island and they are killed via traps. The killer has no parents, because he killed them when he was a kid. The groom also has no parents so if I had to make a guess, it's him. But I don't really (want to) believe it's Henry. Gorham is too adorable!

I'm surprised I could write so much about the show without spoiling much. Watch Harper's Island and get hooked!

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