So last night Harper’s Island finally premiered on CBS after weeks of promotion. The station has been hyping up the 13 episode series pretty heavily during primetime and with the site Harpersglobe.com. It's essentially a slasher in miniseries form, something horror fans have been pretty excited about being on network television. The first episode pretty much did what you would expect it to do: Opened up the story and left you with a lot of questions.
Right off the bat we learn that 7 years ago 6 people were murdered on Harper’s Island by John Wakefield. Who John is and why he committed the murders is left up in the air. The only other information we get is that the 6 murders were the first on the island, but “they will not be the last”. Spooky, huh?
Cut to present day Seattle and we meet Trish and Henry who are boarding Trish’s father’s boat along with their wedding party on their way out to Harper’s Island. They’ll be spending their last week of freedom on the island whooping it up with their friends before venturing off into marital bliss. Before setting sail we meet the majority of the cast which consists of the wedding party and some other family members. One member who will not be making the trip though is Trish’s cousin Ben.
Unfortunately for Ben he’s found himself strapped to the boats propeller with an oxygen tank for breathing. The boat heads out to the island and 9 minutes into the show Ben is the killer’s first victim. Somehow the 20 plus people on the boat completely miss the giant spot of blood in the water behind them, but we’ll ignore that.
Two other people we meet that should be noted are Abby and Henry’s Uncle Marty. The fact that Abby showed up seems to be a surprise to everyone. She’s quickly introduced as Henry’s best friend and obviously has a troubled past. We later learn that her mother was one of the 6 victims on Harper’s Island and that she in fact found her along with the other 5 victims. Uncle Marty is also a bit of a surprise for the party but only for the reason that most people didn’t think he could find his way to the ship. He’s the wacky uncle who for some reason shows up with a Mariachi band and immediately starts flirting with a girl half his age that is there with her boyfriend.
The rest of the show is spent setting up the two story-lines for the series. The first being Abby and how she is still not over her mother’s death or the trauma of finding her dead. The second is Trish’s father’s unhappiness with his upper class daughter marrying middle class Henry. He goes as far as inviting Trish’s ex-boyfriend out to the week long vacation and awkwardness ensues.
By the end of the episode Uncle Marty bites it and we’re left with a bunch of questions. Why doesn’t Abby want to speak with her father who just happens to be the town’s sheriff and the man that we eventually learn killed John Wakefield? What’s the deal with Trish and her ex and will she call off the wedding due to cold feet? What’s with this creepy little kid who seems to be talking to invisible people about the murders on the island? And who does the fat guy think he's fooling by pretending he likes women?
I’m on the fence about this show after watching the first episode. While I understand they need to set up the story they didn’t do enough in the way of suspense. For the most part none of the characters are very likeable and I really don’t care enough yet to want to find out who the killer is. Sure we’ve still got 12 more episodes but if they want to get viewers they better get to the killing and actually give me a reason to watch.
Who do I think the killer is? Right now I’m going with Trish’s ex Hunter, if only for the reason that my wife seemed to think he was dreamy and I now hate him.