Harper’s Island-A Sick Day Perspective

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For my birthday, the Universe saw fit to introduce me to a rather nasty virus I have been battling for the last six days.

I am not a good patient–I will be the first to admit this. I have so much to do I end up totally pissed off at my body’s betrayal. But you can’t argue with it (I tried!) so the best thing to do is just roll with the punches and wait for a better day.

So, to ease my boredom, I binge watched a show called Harper’s Island which is streaming free for Amazon Prime members. It popped up on my feed, and when I read the description I was intrigued.

“Harper’s Island is an American horror mystery limited series created by Ari Schlossberg for CBS. Schlossberg, Jeffrey Jackson Bell and Jon Turteltaub served as executive producers. The series followed a group of family and friends that travel to the titular locale for a destination wedding, only to learn that there is a killer among them. At the center of the mystery is Abby Mills (played by Elaine Cassidy), whose mother was one of several people murdered by John Wakefield seven years prior. At least one character, and as many as five, were killed off in each episode.”

It sounded a lot like one of my favorite Agatha Christie books, And Then There Were None.

It’s only one season, aired in 2009. I figured, what the hell? I’ll give it a shot.

I’m really glad I did. The ending surprised me, and it was fun to rule out suspect after suspect. The series doesn’t seem to take itself so seriously in spite of the gruesome plot, with a wink and a nod to many horror/slasher/mystery movies that have come before it, such as Scream. But of course, as a writer/editor, I watched with great curiosity why, in spite of some pretty glaring potholes and deus ex machina moments, I was so hooked and could look past the plot.

Part of it was the diverse cast of characters. Some I liked, some I loathed, but during the course of the series they really came across as real people in an unreal situation. Another part was the mystery of it all–who the hell was behind what happened, and WHY? I was dying to find out, and it kind of carried me over the plot bits that as an editor, I would chew the writer’s liver out for attempting.

You know, just when you think you have it figured out…BOOM. Nope.

Also, the writers and directors really did a good job in creating tension, but even better, they paid attention to the flow of tension. This is not an easy task. None of the actors were told when they were going to die until the day before they got the script, so maybe this was a contributing factor.

All-in-all, I really liked it. I would love to see another “mystery event” like this, in a different setting with a different cast. I don’t know if you can catch magic in a bottle more than once, but I’d be willing to watch another show like this.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

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