meganbmoore: (maleficent: aurora)
[personal profile] meganbmoore
Harper's Island is a horror/mystery series from 2008 that ran for 13 episodes. (A format I really wish US TV would do more of, rather than milking premises for years or limiting them to just a couple hours)

The protagonist, Abby Mills, was sent away from her home by her father after her mother was killed in a killing spree (Abby found her mother and several other people hanging from a tree) by John Wakefield, a man who had been arrested on the island for assaulting a police officer twenty years earlier. Abby hasn't returned to the island since, but does as part of her best friend, Henry's, wedding party. Once the wedding party reaches the island, though, people start dying in ways reminiscent of Wakefield's rampage, though no one is initially aware of the murders.

The general setup is fairly standard for the horror genre, but well done. I'd classify it more on the gothic side of horror than the slasher side, though there's some moderate slasher gore. The actors, apparently, didn't know who the killer was until getting the script that revealed it, nor, with two exceptions (one who dies in the first episode, and the other death was a turning point for the plot), did they know when or if their character was going to die. Well, presumably Elaine Cassidy, who plays Abby, knew she probably wasn't the killer, as that was something only Dexter did when this came out.

The cast is annoyingly white, with only one POC as a major character, but it had a pretty good cast of characters. Granted, most fell fairly squarely into genre types, but they had refreshing takes on some, particularly in regards to female characters who would normally be portrayed negatively, and avoided annoying romantic shenanigans that I'd been expecting. I was actually considerably more impressed with the handling of the female characters than I'd expected to be, and more generous towards some of the male characters than I initially thought I'd be. Granted, most of the women died, but then, so did most of the men. Percentagewise, the women fared considerably better at surviving, and the deaths aren't sexualized.

I'd heard bits about the series over the years but not really paid attention. It actually came on to my radar when I saw fans bewailing that Sleepy Hollow named it's female lead Abbie Mills, because apparently no two fictional characters have ever shared a name before. (Just like one character having an SO is only a justifiable impediment to shipping when the third party is a black woman, two characters in two unrelated shows that aired years apart and on different stations having the same name is only a problem when one is a black woman, AND THEN THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE. This only went on for a couple days until tumblr tag sorted out name spelling, but still.) *hem* Anyway, the complaints tended to come with gifs of Elaine Cassidy either brandishing a shard of glass at someone or carrying a shotgun, so I figured, that, despite how it came onto my radar, it was worth checking out.

The show also amused me because it's like half the cast did this and then hopped over to shows I watch/watched for a while: Elaine Cassidy, of course, but then also Victor Webster, Ali Liebert, Katie Cassidy, Christopher Gorham, and Beverley Elliott, mostly, but also other. Also Christopher Gauthier, though Eureka was already airing when this came out. (I remember him not being around much for one season, and I guess this is why.) I'm just not used to being familiar with so much of a show's main cast. (I think Bobby from Supernatural was there as Abby's father, but it's been a long time since I watched that show, and I'm too lazy to check.)

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