tek's rating: ¼

The Whispers, on ABC
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This 2015 series is loosely inspired by a 1951 short story called "Zero Hour," by Ray Bradbury. I've never read the story, but I have read complaints about the show from people who have read it. I have no opinion in the matter, all I can do is judge the show on its own merits. Anyway... there's some kind of supernatural or alien entity called "Drill," which speaks to various children, but not to adults. And it can't be seen, even by the children, so at first when parents hear of it (if they do at all), they assume it's an imaginary friend. The series begins with a woman named Amanda Weil (Autumn Reeser) falling out of her young daughter Harper's tree house, sustaining a head injury that puts her in a coma. This is a result of a game Harper was playing with Drill. The case is investigated by an FBI agent named Claire Bennigan (Lily Rabe), along with her new partner, Jessup Rollins. Claire ties the case to other, seemingly unrelated events, based on the children involved in those events also having an "imaginary friend" named Drill.

The situation is complicated by various personal things that happened prior to this investigation. Claire is married to an Air Force pilot named Sean (Milo Ventimiglia), whose plane had been lost somewhere near the Arctic three months ago, and who was presumed dead. But before that, there had been marital troubles between Claire and Sean, in large part because Claire had had an affair with Wes Lawrence, an operative in the Department of Defense. Also, an accident a few years earlier had caused Claire and Sean's son, Henry, to lose his hearing. Meanwhile, Wes's affair led to problems in his own marriage to Lena, who still loves him but is having trouble forgiving him. And the tension between them has been hard on their daughter, Minx. Anyway, Wes went to Mali to investigate a plane crash... which turns out to be Sean's plane. The plane was caught in a huge treelike fulgurite formation. And it looks like someone walked away from the crash, which leads Wes to believe Sean is still alive, a fact he shares with Claire (even though the two of them have been trying to avoid each other since their affair ended). The fact that the plane is in Mali instead of the Arctic seems impossible, but it's a fact that can't be denied, even if it can't be explained. Also, there's a John Doe who's been seen around some of the events caused by Drill, which leads Claire to believe he is Drill. Wes returns to the U.S., and he works with Claire on tracking down the John Doe, who turns out to be Sean. However, Sean has no memory of who he is, or anything prior to his plane crash three months ago. But ever since then, he's been receiving strange visions, apparently from Drill, which lead him to the events before they happen, but he's always unable to stop them. And he has no idea why any of this is happening. Also, Minx is friends with Drill, and she seems to be the child he's using most often to enact his plans. Another of his pawns is Henry, whose hearing Drill restores, and whom Drill promises to reunite with his missing father (Sean). And it's unknown as yet exactly how many children Drill is using, or what his ultimate goals are.

Well, after awhile Sean is captured, and tries to help Claire, Jessup, and Wes with their investigations. And eventually he regains his memory. And lots of other stuff happens, which I don't want to try to explain. (I'm also leaving out a number of semi-important characters.) I will say that Drill turns out to be alien (not supernatural), but beyond that, I won't spoil it. (I considered putting the review under "science fiction," but I still feel like "mysterious" is a better fit for the tone of the show.) Also, I wasn't sure whether this was going to be a limited series or not. But the first season ends on a cliffhanger, so I can't think of it as "limited," even though it didn't get a second season. The show was okay, but not as good as I would have liked.

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