Television Review – Harper’s Island: “Ka-Blam”/”Bang”/”Thwack”

There comes a time in every reviewer’s life when he has to get over his stubbornness and admit that he may have been wrong, that he may have jumped to conclusions. That time is now, and though I’m speaking in third-person, I will come right out and say it – I feel I may have misjudged Harper’s Island with my prior viewings.

Initially, I wrote Harper’s Island off as a generic but violent television thriller that was doing no justice to TV horror. Now, after viewing a few more episodes of the series, I’ve found I’ve taken a liking to the characters of the Island and their dilemmas.

Before I felt like too many of the series’ characters were stock, rarely rising above their stereotypical counterparts in other films to garner any sense of emotion from the audience. Further developments in the plot, however, have changed my outlook on the cast – in fact, I felt a pang of distress when a character was killed in an accidental shooting, a feeling that seemed lacking from the other episodes.

The plot has also become more intricate, with each episode weaving in original ideas that help to muddle the mystery of the island’s killer even more. Each plot twist joins and separates the characters, forcing them to regain their footing within their relationships and adding more clues to the suspect list. The plot has actually jumped headlong into a more serious, intricate, and decidedly darker story while maintaining its comedic bent.

With the development of character and the patterns and twists that wind throughout the show, along with cliffhanger episodes that leave the viewer with a sense of bewilderment, Harper’s Island has matured nicely. It seems the show was a late bloomer – for those who thought the plot was going to drop off into a by-the-book slasher and tuned out, I urge you to give a few more episodes a chance. The series has its hooks into me now, and I can forgive the shoddy scriptwriting, slightly corny dialogue, and questionable believability and just enjoy the show for what it really is – a complex web of intrigue, mystery, and grue.

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