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  • Series Premiere Date: Apr 9, 2009
  • Season #: 1 , 3
Harper's Island Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics What's this?

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 43 Ratings

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  • Creator: Ari Schlossberg
  • Show Type: Ended
  • Season 1 premiere date: Apr 9, 2009
  • Episode Length: 60
  • Air Time: 10:00 PM
  • More Details and Credits »
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 22
  2. Negative: 2 out of 22
  1. Harper's Island is an elaborate horror movie, a twentysomething slasher flick with a really good wardrobe, a first-rate cast and 13 weeks worth of twists and subplots.
  2. 80
    That single season will be hellacious fun. Stuffed with visual puns and sly homages to horror movies from Jaws to Poltergeist, Harper's Island relentlessly mocks film grammar with set pieces that take off in unexpected directions.
  3. The writing is just clever enough to probably make the killing-a-week conceit work. And if you're into watching a phalanx of almost-recognizable actors you've seen in work you can almost remember, this is the series for you. Beyond that, it's just plain fun.
  4. 63
    As guilty pleasures go, Harper's Island may hit the spot. Though perhaps it would have worked best as a summer series?
  5. Part soap opera, part horror movie, all whodunit, Harper's is diverting, and only infrequently frightening, fantasy soap opera.
  6. Reviewed by: Ken Tucker
    R-rated horror flicks have rendered the scariness of Harper's abrupt murders mild stuff; the series could have used more of Christie's tight plotting.
  7. Reviewed by: Daniel Carlson
    Ultimately, the series commits the greatest sin of the thriller genre: It's boring.

See all 22 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 13
  2. Negative: 1 out of 13
  1. Jul 9, 2012
    This show amazed me when I watched it. I like the idea of people in a show being killed off one by one until it's just the killer and one person left. Unfortunately I can't seem to find many shows that can do it as well as this show did. I found the acting to be fine. The special effects were nothing special but they weren't bad. Also, it didn't go for very long. Now, if you're reading this you may be thinking "Then why did he rate it 10?", well, because the character development was amazing and there was a plot twist that most people wouldn't have seen coming. After finishing the finale I think my mouth was open (okay I'm kind of exaggerating but whatever). I'm not entirely sure why but I am left with extremely fond memories of this show and in the end isn't that what really counts? I know it's not a professional review but I loved it and I can't entirely explain all the reasons. Now you might be thinking "Why did he type this if he couldn't completely explain it?", well, SHUT UP! Expand
  2. JuditL
    Sep 3, 2009
    I'm Spanish, but I like the opinions of this site, so I must put my vote here. In my opinion, Harper's Island is a great TV series. The ending is surprising, because you don't expect that. I really liked it. I want more series like this! Expand
  3. js
    Oct 17, 2009
    A homage to the horror genre, i didn't start watching till a few episodes in but after that i was completely engaged with it, references to many different horror movies, well acted despite some people negative reviews all in all a good show, shame its over. Expand
  4. JonathanS.
    Apr 10, 2009
    All you need to know is that this show is just pure cheesy enjoyment. If you try and take it that seriously, it'll be much worse than it actually is. But if you watch it with a good sense of humor and ability to laugh with the camp (intentional or not), it's just a pleasure to watch. It's not high art, but it's fresh, and I love the fact that a network was willing to take a chance on a conceptual show rather than just rehash another kind of cop drama. The show has a narrow audience, but if you can enjoy old 80s slasher films and the like, than you'll likely enjoy this. The only caveat is that, even though it's essentially a weekly slasher film, the show/network is not willing to take a risk with violence, like Supernatural's sometimes surprisingly grisly kills. But for a fairly brainless yet fresh, campy but addicting show, this is one to watch. It definitely won't kill you to do so. Expand
  5. Feb 22, 2013
    Harper's Island was a Mini-Series on CBS in the summer of 2009. Had it been in a decent time slot or debuted in the fall, this would have been a huge franchise. Instead this unique and exciting show was buried due to bad ratings. Harper's Island is a small island off the coast of Washington state, where rich people come to vacation, a small fishing village exists, and it was the home to a serial killer. 7 years earlier, John Wakefield killed 6 people on Harper's Island including Abby's mother. Now she is returning home for the first in 7 years for the wedding of her best friend. Harper's Island is back to normal, Wakefield is long dead, and all that remains are memories...Until people start dying again. The show is terrific, full of twists and turns and all kinds of things you won't see coming. I love shows that keep you guessing and make you think, however the one drawback of this show is that it was in fact designed as a mini-series. There is so much good stuff here, but they only have 13 hours to tell the story, so a lot of it is rushed and at points it feels like you're watching a soap opera. I wish the network saw the potential and took this gem and made it into a series, but they didn't. Harper's Island is hardly remembered now, 4 years later, but it was a show that was clever, fast-paced, and adored by its fans. The true killer of Harper's Island is Nielsen, as once again the ratings killed a gem in the making. Expand
  6. katel.
    Apr 10, 2009
    I pretty much agree with what the person before me said. my only complaint is that a lot of the times it's not so much cheesy as it is it feels like a soap opera almost, but that might be because it's lower budget. I thought the two deaths in the first episode were actually pretty good. they were creative, but yeah, it wasn't as in your face as supernatural or other shows like that. and the only other problem is that even though it's cool that one character dies off each episode, we're so used to more people dying in an hour as in slasher films, that sometimes it can feel like there's not enough happening. that and i'm not really so curious as to who the killer is, as to guessing which stereotype is going to die next. (And I like to think that the show purposely indulges in all the slasher cliches because it makes it more entertaining, kind of a wink and a nod to the audience. But i don't want people to think this is like watching Friday the 13th or anything (even though that was a terrible movie)--it's still really entertaining though. Expand
  7. AlanH.
    Apr 10, 2009
    Oh Please! The acting is poor and the plot so telegraphs itself that I wanted to turn it off inside the first 10-minute segment. This despite the heavy dose of spooky "whodunnit" presented in the overdose of commercials aired over the past few weeks. If the show is to continue even two more weeks along this track, please cancel it! Expand

See all 13 User Reviews