CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.
DVD Review: Guilty Pleasure ‘Harper’s Island’ Could Become Cult Hit
CHICAGO – I’m still a little miffed that the “Harper’s Island” experiment didn’t work out for CBS. The show was far from perfect, but I still like the idea of a limited series with a predetermined beginning, middle, and end. Sadly, no one tuned in to watch “Harper’s Island” on CBS but the guilty pleasure could have a second life on DVD.
DVD Rating: 3.5/5.0
Was “Harper’s Island” any good? It depends on what you mean by “good”. If you’re looking for witty dialogue, detailed character, and clever plotting, look elsewhere. But not every show needs to be intellectually satisfying. For the same reason we go see silly horror movies, sometimes you just want to enjoy a guilty pleasure and “Harper’s Island” was the guiltiest of 2009.
Elaine Cassidy plays Abby Mills, the heroine returning to the titular body of land after seven years. Back then, a twisted soul named John Wakefield went on a horrible killing spree and one of the victims happened to be Abby’s mom. She’s a little fragile as the ghosts of the island return to her and she is forced to deal with her father (Jim Beaver) again. Oh, he just happens to be the sheriff who killed the bad guy the first time around. Can he do it again?
Harper’s Island: The DVD Edition was released on DVD on September 8th, 2009.
Photo credit: Paramount Home Video
Why is Abby back at all? Her close friend Henry (Christopher Gorham) is getting married to Trish (Katie Cassidy) on Harper’s Island. Henry is the poor kid and Trish is the wealthy daughter of the Wellington family (headed by the always-slimy Richard Burgi).
A wedding’s worth of victims await viewers of “Harper’s Island” as “secrets are revealed, relationships are tested and guests are being murdered, one by one.”
“Harper’s Island” should have been a delightfully trashy mix of “Gossip Girl” and “Scream” but both of those properties had clever, witty dialogue and characters who viewers actually care about. The characters and dialogue on “Harper’s Island” are mediocre to awful. It’s too much like a daytime soap than the clever mystery it could have been.
And yet I couldn’t give up on “Harper’s Island” (if just to prove that my hunch about the killer’s identity was true). I can’t believe that I was alone in my addiction to this mystery thriller and Paramount has treated fans of the show well with an excellent 4-disc set full of special features.
“Harper’s Island: The DVD Edition” is presented in 16:9 widescreen with an English 5.1 Surround track.
Special features include CBS Network On-Air Promos, Harper’s Globe Webisodes, Deleted Scenes, “Casting Harper’s Island,” “One By One: The Making of Harper’s Island,” “Guess Who?,” “The Grim Reaper,” and the following commentary tracks:
Episode 1 “Whap” - Jeffrey Bell, Art Schlossberg, & Dan Shotz
Episode 6 “Sploosh” - Karim Zreik, Dean Chekvala, & Matt Barr
Episode 11 “Splash” - Dan Shotz, Cameron Richardson & Matt Barr
Episode 13 “Sigh” - Jeffrey Bell, Dan Shotz, & Christopher Gorham