Title: The Whispers Season 1
Starring: Lily Rabe, Barry Sloane, Milo Ventimiglia
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Sci-fi
Lately, I've been surprised how ABC has kept me watching its network for quality entertainment. Seeing the commercial for their newest show instantly intrigued me into checking out it. And here we are...
A series of accidents occurs around children, who all communicate with the same invisible and seemingly imaginary friend called Drill. They secretly play his "games" in return for rewards that Drill promises. Claire Bennigan, an FBI child specialist, investigates and finds connections not only between the different children's cases, including her own son, but also to her missing husband. [source: Wikipedia]
Normally, I would type my initial impression of the show, but since I have this new series where I express my first impressions, I can skip out on that part. In short, I was surprised how quickly the first episode escalated within the beginning sequence. It was the perfect way to hook viewers into the show. As the show progressed, it became less and less like some suspenseful thriller and more of a science fiction alien hunt, but it wasn't a cheesy alien hunt. Let's start with the story. The main priority of the show was to figure out who is Drill and what is its goal. This premise kept me watching the show and made for some very entertaining twists and turns, especially since it involved children. As many horror movies I watch, I already find children suspicious and sometimes even creepy. Even though Drill became a little less than (or more than) an imaginary friend, I was still very invested in finding out what its big goal was and impressed with how cleverly manipulative this unknown force became over each episode. Along with our imaginary friend mystery, the viewers also try to piece together the disappearance of Claire's husband. Somehow these two plot points have some relevancy to each other, which causes more intrigue for myself. Is Claire's husband a friend or foe? Did he help Drill with its unknown goal? In the end, I feel that the show's story really drives viewers to keep watching each week.
Lily Rabe, who I'm most familiar with from American Horror Story, plays our protagonist Claire and she offers just enough emotional range for us to care about her husband's disappearance and the well being of her son. Claire offers a nice bridge for the audience between us and the adults in the show as well as a connection between the adults and the children. I must admit that a lot of the time you're not going to care too much about or for the adults in the show, because they might act dumb, selfish, or irrational to a lot of important situations. Claire is the prefect buffer during this crazy situation with Drill, especially when the government and the President are involved and it becomes a national threat. The real stars of the show and what drives the story forward are the child actors, which have a surprising range from character to character. A show (or even a movie) that centers around children could easily go bad as some child actors could seem unprepared, annoying, or lack direction. Fortunately, The Whispers doesn't face that problem from any of the children featured in this show. They have plenty of variety personality wise and make the story all the more entertaining and intriguing. Some stand out performances are Kyle Harrison Breitkopf who plays Claire's hearing impaired son Henry, Kylie Rogers who interacts the most with Drill as Minx, and Abby Ryder Fortson who we witness the first interaction with Drill as Harper. Of course, the other children featured in this show do an outstanding job, such as Kayden Magnuson who plays the President's daughter Cassandra; but these 3 child actors are part of the main cast within the children. They display a great range of emotion and really move the story along. A lot of the time, I felt like the children stole the show away from the adults.
As much as I enjoyed the twists and turns of the show, it did have a few flaws that I can see potential audiences or even current ones complain about. I've already mentioned that the story is one of the main reasons I was hooked into the show, along with the great cast of child actors, but I must admit that there were times that the story kinda dragged along or became a tiny bit confusing. There is a tiny subplot that involves Claire and Minx's father Wes and this surface history of them having some sort of affair. Sometimes I forget that the awkward tension between them whenever Wes's wife is around that that history exists, because really it seems completely unnecessary and doesn't add much to their characters or the story. Also, as much as figuring out what or who Drill is kept me watching, the reveal of what it is was a tiny bit disappointing. Fortunately, it wasn't disappointing enough that I wanted to drop the show completely and it's probably because of the child actors and finding out the motive of Drill.
The Whispers is a show I would cautiously recommend people. I can't see everyone enjoying it because of it's more science fiction approach, instead of a more horror execution to imaginary friends. The pacing of the story and amount of dialogue may also be a turn off to potential viewers because it is a slow building show and it does drag in places. In the end, it is a very enjoyable show that keeps you on your toes and wondering what's going on with the children and Drill and whether the adults, mostly Claire, will figure out some sort of solution. There's some great reveals throughout the show and I'm looking forward to a follow up season in the near future. As of now, there is no release date for season two, but it seems as though that Lily Rabe will have a limited appearance in it and the cast's contracts have expired with ABC. Nonetheless, I hope the show doesn't leave us on this mysterious cliffhanger of a finale.