Exclusive Preview: The Whispers

There’s never been a better time for scripted horror, mystery, sci-fi, and suspense series on television. It’s wonderful to have so many choices in top-quality programming, and there’s yet another coming down the pike and into our homes on June 1, 2015.

whispers

ABC’s “The Whispers” is brought to us by the likes of Steven Spielberg and “Under the Dome” and “The Killing” executive producer Soo Hugh, and it stars “Revenge’s” Barry Sloane, “American Horror Story’s” Lily Rabe, horror icon Dee Wallace, and Milo Ventimiglia (“Heroes”). The pilot episode, directed by One Hour Photo’s Mark Romanek, is eerie and creepy as can be. While the series is based on a short story by Ray Bradbury (“The Zero Hour,” which was originally published in his Illustrated Man anthology), it feels more like something from Stephen King with just perhaps a touch of Guillermo Del Toro’s “The Strain” miniseries.

The first episode centers on a little girl named Minx (her given name was Mink in the Bradbury tale… why change it?), who’s played to great effect by 11-year-old Kylie Rogers. Minx has an imaginary friend she calls Drill. At first, it’s all innocent fun and games. But then of course, someone dies. Drill is blamed. But Drill isn’t real… is he?

It’s interesting to note that, while the series “The Whispers” is only very loosely based on “The Zero Hour,” how topical – and chilling – it is in relevance to kids and killing today. First published in 1951, “The Zero Hour” recounted how the neighborhood children all started playing this game called “Invasion.” Invasion was invented by an evil alien entity called Drill, who plans on taking over the world by compelling those with the most fragile, suggestible minds to eliminate anyone over the age of 10. Minx’s mother laughs at this and marvels at her daughter’s imagination. However, when Mom gets on the phone with her friend in another state, she’s told that they are playing the same game with someone named Drill too. This is absolutely a foreshadowing and a scary premonition of our modern-day “Slender Man” legend that’s actually driven real, everyday kids to attempt murder.

“The Whispers” features an ensemble cast, ranging from little pixies to hardboiled cops, reporters to government agents, and ill-fated parents and scheming scientists. While it’s more a mystery and a conspiracy thriller than outright horror (at least in the pilot episode, which is all we were allowed to see this early on), “The Whispers” has no shortage of murder and mayhem. As the clock counts down throughout Season One, the race is on to save not only individual families, but the world.

I liked what I saw; if you enjoy shows like “Under the Dome,” “Jericho,” and “The Returned,” then “The Whispers” is definitely worth the space on your DVR. It premieres June 1 at 10-11 pm ET/PT on ABC.

“The Whispers” stars Lily Rabe as Claire Bennigan, Barry Sloane as Wes Lawrence, Milo Ventimiglia as John Doe, Derek Webster as Jessup Rollins, Kristen Connolly as Lena Lawrence, Kylie Rogers as Minx Lawrence, and Kyle Harrison Breitkopf as Henry Bennigan.

The series is executive produced by Steven Spielberg, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank, and Zack Estrin. The pilot was written and co-executive produced by Soo Hugh, who also developed the series. “The Whispers” is produced by ABC Studios with Amblin TV as co-producer.

Synopsis:
We love to play games with our children. But what happens when someone else starts to play with them, too? Someone we don’t know. Can’t see. Can’t hear. In “The Whispers” someone – or something – is manipulating the ones we love most to commit the unthinkable. In the country’s center of political power, Washington D.C., several kids have been talking about their imaginary friend, Drill. What the parents don’t know is that this friend is not as imaginary as they think. And when the mysterious games Drill convinces them to play turn dangerous, FBI child specialist Claire Bennigan is called in to investigate. What is it that Drill wants, and why does he – or it – only communicate with children? As the clock counts down, a suspenseful race will begin to save not only their families, but the world. Before it’s too late.

The Whispers

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Staci Layne Wilson

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