The Whispers: Will You Make Friends With ABC's Imaginative Drama?

the whispers premiere

Under the Dome. Extant. Falling Skies. The Whispers. All of these shows have one thing in common: Steven Spielberg.

The acclaimed director/producer has always had a knack for science-fiction, but when it comes to the supernatural ventures he produces for the small-screen, the results have been, well, underwhelming, to put it nicely.

The Whispers, which premiered Monday, shows the same promise that many of his former pilots have, and if you’ve been a viewer of any of the aforementioned shows, you probably have a pretty good idea of whether the Lily RabeBarry Sloane starrer is any more satisfying than his previous efforts.

The paranormal drama finds innocent children being coerced into committing violent acts against their parents in the name of an imaginary friend named Drill. The problem is he might not be so imaginary, and his involvement with the innocents might only be the beginning of a much larger scheme for world domination — as proven by some uber-eerie illustrations.

RELATED The Whispers Preview: Is ABC’s New Summer Drama Really About Aliens?

Though the seemingly imagined friend speaks to them through light, and is neither seen nor heard, his power over the show’s precocious tots — and an alleged John Doe — has already led to the death of a 10-year-old boy and the near-death of a six-year-old’s mother.

To best break down the events of the fascinating Episode 1, here’s how all of our lead characters fit into this otherworldly tale:

whispers-claireClaire Bennigan (Rabe, American Horror Story) is an FBI agent who specializes in child crimes. After an extended leave following the death of husband Sean and an extramarital affair with a certain Department of Defense employee (more on that later), she returns to work after six-year-old Harper nearly kills her mother as part of Drill’s dangerous “game.” Her investigation leads her to suspect that Drill isn’t so imaginary, seeing as how tween-turned-suicide bomber Jackson Bellings also asserted he was under the spell of the out-of-sight force.

Barry Sloane The WhispersWes Lawrence (Sloane, Revenge) is an operative for the Department of Defense who’s called upon to investigate a peculiar crash site in the Sahara Desert. His one-time tryst with Claire (aha!) doesn’t become clear until late into the pilot, but it’s very clear he won’t be able to move on with his wife Lena (Kristen Connolly, House of Cards) and possessed daughter Minx (Kylie Rogers, Private Practice) now that his findings have taught him that the plane that crashed belonged to none other than Claire’s husband, whose body is missing from the scene.

whispers-seanSean Bennigan (Milo VentimigliaGotham) — as in Claire’s dead husband — is alive. Despite initial reports that his plane crashed in the Arctic on a search for Chinese and Russian military buildup, the jet was somehow rerouted and crashed in Western Africa. He, too, has been relocated — tatted-up and wiped of his memories — back to Baltimore, where he appears to be serving as Drill’s eyes and ears. Speaking of ears, the premiere closes with Henry (Kyle Harrison Breitkopf, Being Human), Sean and Claire’s deaf son, talking to Drill after the omnipresent force has gifted him with the capacity to hear again.

So what will all of this mean moving forward? And is the unexplainable return of Sean and the presence of Drill part of a larger conspiracy involving the Secretary of Defense? Grade The Whispers in our poll below, then discuss your theories in the comments.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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45 Comments
  1. ? says:

    Unless the intent of the show was making viewers want to hurt small children, i think it kind of fails.

  2. Jay says:

    While I found a lot of it to be pretty predictable, I really like the cast and I think they are very compelling and sympathetic characters despite possibly doing some unsympathetic things. The kids are adorable and you immediately want to protect them even though they’re creeping you the heck out at the same time (Like seriously, I’m putting up a petition to adopt little Harper)!

    I didn’t like wayward Pines until the third episode so I intend to give this one at least till then. I just wish the promos wouldn’t give away so much for the rest of the season.

  3. bj says:

    I was actually surprised how much I liked it. I wasn’t expecting to. I love sci fi and this has an intriguing mystery.

    And what great little actors those kids are.

    I’ll definitely be watching the rest.

  4. Big Mike says:

    Lame.

    • PL says:

      I watched it because it wasn’t a repeat. But I am very surprized Spielberg had anything to do with this. Maybe it was just his company. Becaue if Spielberg himself okayed and direceted this show, it certainly didn’t show. Characters are very vanilla. Story is very unimaginative. Filmed and directed very bland. Don’t want another computer filled zombie show, but it really was just like a whisper………………!

  5. Chloe says:

    It has potential. I’m willing to watch a few more episodes to see where it goes. And I’ve always liked Milo, so I’m glad to see him in another series.

  6. laurelnev says:

    Confusing, and perhaps too many subplots for a Summer run. And Barry’s accent is really bugging me! For a series called “The Whispers,” I didn’t hear a whole lot of listening!

    Oh, and unless I missed something, they’re in Bethesda, rather than Baltimore. Bethesda is an upper crust, Beverly Hills type suburb of DC, “inside the Beltway.” At first I thought she said Catholic University Hospital, so I rewound, and she said Capitol University Hospital. The Naval Hospital, the college for military health services, and NIH are all in Bethesda. Walter Reed is close by. I think they’re trying to keep this smack dab in the DC world. They’re actually doing that well. If you wanted to “corrupt” Government bigwigs’ kids, go to Bethesda. Young, rich, government connected young ‘uns abound there.

  7. aw says:

    Boring. I’ll just read the recaps and see the last episode.

  8. Nitemar says:

    The Omen, Poltergeist, and a bit of The Exorcist hodgepodge.

  9. aw says:

    yeah… steven spielberg and tv… I once read that he insisted on Katherine McPhee for Smash but wanted to cut Megan Hilty. Maybe he just hates television.

  10. Donna says:

    I think i need to see more to understand more of where the show is going

  11. greysfan says:

    I actually liked it. I thought i wouldn’t but i did. The cast are great.

  12. french5851 says:

    I like slow moving mystery/drama/sci-fi. It makes the show as a whole worth watching.

  13. Ellinas78 says:

    Is this a mini-series with set amount of episodes?

  14. Gerald says:

    Great summer programming. I will continue to watch. It is a little bit scary and has so much potential. Whatever happens I hope we get some questions answered.

  15. smartysenior says:

    I like Wes Lawrence and his American accent isn’t as bad as many Brit accents. He was a good anchor in Revenge, playing a down to earth guy in a soap isn’t easy. I’ll probably stick with this a bit although this isn’t my usual favorite genre. I also thought both Sean and Claire were doing some good acting and I tend to favor shows with actors who can act.

  16. CountryQueen says:

    I just thought it was OK. I will check in the next couple of weeks, but not sure I’ll stick around. I never watch previews for shows – especially ones that start with “this season on” – because they give too much away – but I watched these to see if I would have more interest, and it didn’t excite me too much. Hopefully, it’ll get better. I want to like it.

  17. I enjoyed it, though I didn’t know the complete premise going in. I was hoping for a more standard Supernatural/Horror element, not Aliens. I’ll give it a few more episodes before I make a final decision.

  18. Frankie says:

    I’m in.

  19. Rich says:

    If you’re interested, this show is actually based on a Ray Bradbury short story called “Zero Hour”. It was made into an episode of the Ray Bradbury Theatre show in the 90s. It was episode 2 of season 5. I know I’ll be searching the torrents for it tonight.

  20. HAP says:

    I’m a Ray Bradbury fan, but I think this show sucked. I’m out.

  21. uk-usa-tvaddict says:

    I watched the pilot on my computer at work and the picture was a bit glitchy so I didn’t realise that Milo Ventimiglia was playing the crazy man until they did a close-up on his face. I almost turned off my machine! I really don’t know if I can continue to watch this show with this actor.

    I hope people don’t take this the wrong but I liked the idea of the son being deaf and a hero. There are so few differently abled characters as heroes.

  22. Moria says:

    I really liked this. Did NOT see the twist coming about how the various characters are connected. I wish I could watch the whole season right now. Oh and while I have not watched the other Spielburg shows mentioned in the article – the miniseries Taken was super good. I think it even won awards. No idea why it isn’t rerun from time to time.

  23. Darlene Callahan says:

    In the Springfield Mass. area we had no voices throughout the show. I think we could hear the music? But when anyone was speaking all we got was lips moving

  24. Christine S. says:

    I think the writers may have stepped over the ( Deaf Community) line by suggesting the little boy who was deaf and can now hear Quote ” thank you… This is the best gift ever. Thank you for fixing me”! Deaf people are not broke and most are offended by the word ” Fix” when it comes to hearing loss.

  25. Jeannette says:

    I’m a big Spielberg fan, but this series?
    It’s slow and these kids should know better, at least right from wrong, Gawd!
    And the grown ups, what the heck are they doing? That doctors had a chance to get away and she didn’t take it, why? And Clara, and West’s wife need to get there act together. This show could be so much better. Rewrite or make it 30 mins instead of an hour because it just drags on!!

  26. Tami says:

    Just saw the latest episode. I have no idea what is going on. Wtf is Drill? An alien? This show is going down fast.

  27. Lisa Starr says:

    The whispers is just starting to get good, im
    Hoping that it will progress and reveal
    The aliens ” food source”
    Extant is actually my favorite sci fi show this summer. Hallie Berry is awesome

  28. Janipa says:

    Wow! Where did you find this? I can’t believe they actually picked up on a story line that had already been done… Same character names, even the same music, etc.! I’m just surprised no mention of this being a “remake” (well, with obvious liberties and omissions) !!! Though possibly in the minority, I’m still going to watch – I liked the show! But, I’ll admit… a little disappointed that the story isn’t original. I suppose I fit the target demographic…mother of two younger boys, will play along with “make believe friends”, often too busy to give my full attention to what’s being said, and easily pulled into a show (thought to be original). ;). Thanks for posting that link!

  29. Isobel says:

    They never tried to hide it was based on the short story, there’s plenty of mention about it

  30. Janipa says:

    Yep, I see that now. I obviously wasn’t paying attention to any pre show press. :)