Harper's Island : Season 1

  • Network: CBS
  • Series Premiere Date: Apr 9, 2009
Season #: 1, 3
User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 52 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 36 out of 52
  2. Negative: 6 out of 52

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User Reviews

  1. Feb 22, 2013
    7
    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 aHarper'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
  2. Jul 9, 2012
    10
    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 readingThis 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
  3. May 23, 2012
    4
    This show really needs to just ****ING GET ON WITH IT!! Every episode is just full of the characters doing boring mundane stuff, then someone dies at the end. So your thinking in the next episode they find the body and it will all kick of - Wrong! The bodies somehow go unnoticed and everyone just carries on doing boring crap. It may well get better later but you have to sit through atThis show really needs to just ****ING GET ON WITH IT!! Every episode is just full of the characters doing boring mundane stuff, then someone dies at the end. So your thinking in the next episode they find the body and it will all kick of - Wrong! The bodies somehow go unnoticed and everyone just carries on doing boring crap. It may well get better later but you have to sit through at least 4 episodes in which absolutely nothing happens to get to it. Collapse
  4. js
    Oct 17, 2009
    10
    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.
  5. markw
    Oct 10, 2009
    8
    This was the TV show that got me watching television every week after such a long time of nothing good being on. I waited tensely every week for the next episode, and it was an absolutely fantastic show.
  6. JuditL
    Sep 3, 2009
    10
    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!
  7. GwennethS
    Jun 6, 2009
    6
    For a show that is, in the most part, poorly written, badly acted and loosely directed...Harper's Island is fun, iif you are able to accept mounting bodies, as fun...But the end is thankfully near...running out of possible victims... It's like a "how-to" handbook on how to knock off a person per week, in as griisly a fashion as possible. Not to be taken seriously folks....Total For a show that is, in the most part, poorly written, badly acted and loosely directed...Harper's Island is fun, iif you are able to accept mounting bodies, as fun...But the end is thankfully near...running out of possible victims... It's like a "how-to" handbook on how to knock off a person per week, in as griisly a fashion as possible. Not to be taken seriously folks....Total camp !! A total hoot !! Expand
  8. nancys
    May 12, 2009
    10
    I think I love this show just because it is different from anything else on t.v. right now. I'm disappointed that CBS moved it to Saturday night as that is the night to have guests in or to be out with our kids. So I have to be content to DVR it and watch as soon as I can afterward. I think it's a better show than it is being given credit for. I know a lot of people who I think I love this show just because it is different from anything else on t.v. right now. I'm disappointed that CBS moved it to Saturday night as that is the night to have guests in or to be out with our kids. So I have to be content to DVR it and watch as soon as I can afterward. I think it's a better show than it is being given credit for. I know a lot of people who watch/DVR it and we talk about it all through the next week. I wish there was a way to just continue it, just keep bringing in new characters and let it keep on going. But I guess once everyone is dead, they are dead. It appears Harper's Island is almost as deadly as Cabot Cove in "Murder She Wrote". I guess it was the fact that in Cabot Cove the deaths seemed so friendly and that's the reason it stayed on for so many years. For "Harper's Island", I'll take all the episodes CBS will give me. Expand
  9. RyanM.
    Apr 23, 2009
    5
    Could be a really great show with tense moments and suspense. But poor writing and poor development make this show just mediocre. Yes, the show is appealing to the eye because of attractive cast. But fails because obvious reactions and normal human behavior aren't shown here. For example, no one notices that people are missing? Everyone is taken down to be so naive. Most of the show Could be a really great show with tense moments and suspense. But poor writing and poor development make this show just mediocre. Yes, the show is appealing to the eye because of attractive cast. But fails because obvious reactions and normal human behavior aren't shown here. For example, no one notices that people are missing? Everyone is taken down to be so naive. Most of the show is ridiculous, but the eye candy makes it barely tolerable. Potential here but needs better direction. Expand
  10. katel.
    Apr 10, 2009
    7
    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 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
  11. JonathanS.
    Apr 10, 2009
    7
    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 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
  12. AlanH.
    Apr 10, 2009
    2
    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!
  13. R.L.
    Apr 9, 2009
    10
    Harper's Island is a sinister blend of And then there were none and Identity, the story moves swiftly across the screen and the haunting pace will keep you guessing until the horrific final minutes. Harper's Island is nothing T.V.'s had in along time,an engrossing and mind blowing mystery than like no other. 22 people come to Harper's Island to attend a wedding, but Harper's Island is a sinister blend of And then there were none and Identity, the story moves swiftly across the screen and the haunting pace will keep you guessing until the horrific final minutes. Harper's Island is nothing T.V.'s had in along time,an engrossing and mind blowing mystery than like no other. 22 people come to Harper's Island to attend a wedding, but little do they know that there's a killer among the ready to strike. This miniseries is going to blow anything CSI or Law& Order can come up with and will continue to blow you away till the shocking end. Now there's only one question left. who dun it? Expand
Metascore
63

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 22
  2. Negative: 2 out of 22
  1. 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.
  2. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    50
    Harper's Island too often indulges in slasher-movie absurdities, with a murderer who seems to be everywhere at once and genuine clues in too-short supply.
  3. 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.