Friday, June 5, 2015

Pilot Review: The Whispers

The Whispers (ABC)
Premiered June 1 at 9pm

This is not a show I imagined I would like, but I tried to give it the benefit of the doubt and try the first hour as I would any other show. What I noticed first was the tone was unexpectedly jovial, since this is and could very well be an extremely creepy show that’s dark and scary. Instead, it follows the model of “The X-Files,” where it’s clear well before something theoretically shocking happens that it’s coming, and the frightening part is that it’s occurring rather than the moment in which it occurs. Kids talking to an imaginary friend named, of all things, Drill, is weird enough, but apparently, according to the show’s description on the trusty, aliens are actually the ones responsible. It’s alluded to in the discovery of an unexplained phenomenon where Claire’s husband’s plane appeared to have been dropped, but it’s also considerably more of a stretch even than the notion of some sort of supernatural haunting. It was also incredibly obvious from the start that Milo Ventimiglia’s mystery man was none other than Claire’s presumed-dead husband. It’s a far less convincing role than Peter Petrelli, and it’s all emblematic of the enormous mess that is this show’s universe. I do like Lily Rabe as Claire, but I think that’s because she seems like the only remotely intelligent person on this whole show, which is hardly a badge of honor. I think I’ll leave hearing the whispers and figuring out what they mean to someone else.

How will it work as a series? I don’t see this premise as being able to sustain itself since Drill probably can’t talk to too many kids before someone realizes, and already reaching out to Claire’s own family speeds things up in a big way. And why is it that these omniscient aliens can only appear as one imaginary friend to different children? That limitation doesn’t quite track.
How long will it last? I would never have guessed, but apparently this show performed pretty well in its debut airing. ABC managed to keep “Resurrection” on the air for two seasons, so who knows what the network will endorse next. I don’t think this one will make it to a renewal, but its chances are better than they were at the outset.

Pilot grade: F

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