“Parents just don’t understand.”
It’s not just a Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince hit, but a line that can accurately describe the paranormal drama The Whispers on ABC.
The debut episode “X Marks the Spot” begins with young Harper talking to what is believed to be her imaginary friend Drill (what happened to names like Bob?). The six-year-old calls her mom up to a tree house after following instructions from Drill; the mom falls through the wooden floor.
The strange case introduces us to FBI child specialist Claire Bennigan, who is going through her own issues. Son Henry is deaf and her husband Sean was believed to have died in a plane crash a few months prior. This is what we are led to believe anyway until…defense department operative Wes Lawrence — who we find had an extramarital affair with Bennigan — discovers the crash site in the Sahara and comes to the conclusion Sean may be alive.
Meanwhile Bennigan with partner Jessup Rollins look similar mysterious instances with a child and an instance where Drill appears. Bennigan finds a character drawing of a person of interest done with a description from one of the parents resembles her husband.
Lawrence’s daughter Minx also starts talking to this imaginary persona. Lena, her mom, starts getting suspicious when Minx causes a friend to flee a playground in fear and because the little girl knows personal details including her dad’s affair. Kids know all. Listen and watch your children carefully. Don’t buy creepy toys that light up and night lights like the ones found in Minx’s room and throughout the house. Good parenting tips on this show.
Cut to a tattooed and bearded John Doe, who is in a hospital. He appears to be the only adult who can have some level of understanding to Drill. Towards the end of the episode, viewers find out Doe is really Claire’s hubby! Their son Henry begins talking to Drill after he begins to miraculously hear again.
The pilot really set the tone and groundwork for what’s to come for the rest of the season. I love Lily Rabe, who plays Claire. She is no stranger to out-there projects, having “American Horror Story” on her resume. The same could be said for her co-star and onscreen husband Sean, played by Milo Ventimiglia of “Heroes” fame. This project has executive producer Steven Spielberg all over it (children, sci-fi, mystery, possible aliens).
The stars of this show could easily be the children, who are really at the center of this story. This particular network selection has the right amount of creepiness and mystery to keep viewers hooked. I know after the last scene I needed cartoons before I went to sleep.
The Whispers airs Monday nights at 10/9CT on ABC
Follow Scott Fishman on Twitter @smFISHMAN