When the first trailers for ABC’s The Whispers began to play, I rolled my eyes. How could a show about children with evil imaginary friends be any good? Then I watched the first two episodes and confess – it looks pretty good. On the other hand, I said the same thing about Resurrection which failed to excite during its second season and now we’ll never know what happened! I fear that the fate of The Whispers could be same as I don’t see how they can maintain the story each week and not run out of plot. Then back on the first hand, Lost continued its mysteries for years, so you just never know.
First of all, the show’s executive producer is Steven Spielberg who knows a little something about storytelling. It’s been awhile since he’s done anything scary and this show has the potential to scare, especially one of the opening scenes involving a cute little girl, her mother and a treehouse. The rest of the show however is more omnibus than scary.
The Whispers appears to be a mixture of soap opera, mystery, science fiction and possibly horror. As you’ve seen in the commercials, children are targeted by someone or something named Drill. He speaks through lights and whispers. At first, it seems that the children are picked randomly, but after a short bit, you begin to understand their connection to each other. Drill offers his friendship to these children wants to play “games” with them. If the kids win their “game,” they get something good, but if they fail … let’s just say that they don’t want to disappoint Drill. Why would kids want to hang around such a scary being? Drill has a few more tricks up his metaphorical sleeves.
In one particular disturbing “game,” FBI child specialist Claire Bennigan (Lily Rabe) is called in to interview the child who “won.” What she doesn’t know though is that her own son, Henry (Kyle Harrison Breitkopf), is friends with Drill as well. The two are still grieving the death of Sean, the husband and father of this familly, who lost his life in a military jet crash. Dee Wallace, the actress who played the mom in Spielberg’s E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, plays Henry’s grandmother. A roll that is way to small for this actress.
Meanwhile, over in home of Defense Department operative Wes Lawrence (Barry Sloane), he and his wife are trying to patch up their marriage after an extramarital affair on his part. His wife Lena (Kristen Connolly) wants to trust him but the women in question is a co-worker of his. But his hidden affair is not his only secret. While he was out on a recent business trip to the Sahara Desert, he finds a strange geological phenomenon without out any real explanation. And, as you might suspect, while the couple are busy arguing, their daughter, Minx (Kylie Rogers) has made a new friend, too.
So, all in all, The Whispers starts out with a great premise and cast. If the show can sustain its balance of mystery and family dynamics, it could have a long shelf life. The fact that the show features yet another story of a family torn apart by marital infidelity is annoying, but at least here, the past mistakes make for a better storyline, not just scandal. It has the potential for high drama and earnest forgiveness if done right.
The Whispers airs at 10:00 p.m. on Mondays on ABC.