Tuesday, April 07, 2009

New Harper’s Island Trailer

Normally I don't post trailers for new shows that are coming up in the next few days, but I'm making an exception for Harper's Island. There are a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that the show features one of my favourite character actors, Jim Beaver (Jim is a favourite of mine not only because he's a first rate actor but because he's an extremely knowledgeable guy who used to post a lot in newsgroups like rec.arts.movies.past-films; it doesn't hurt that he was Don Adams's son-in-law either). The show looks to be a great combination of gothic horror and mystery with a ton of atmosphere.

It's possible that the show could represent a fundamental change in the way that American network TV is done, if it's successful. It will tell a close-ended story in a thirteen week run which is similar to the way that British TV is done. It seems very close to the original concept of a mini-series. However, unlike a miniseries there is the possibility that the show could be renewed for another thirteen week run. If so, most if not all, of the cast would be replaced and the setting would be different. Even the name would change.

I have a couple of worries about Harper's Island. One is the way that the network has chosen to handle it. Starting the show in April and having the finale run on July 2 seems to me to be something of a vote of non-confidence in the series. If CBS felt sure about the show wouldn't they have started during the "February" sweeps (which happened in March this year) and ended it during May sweeps? Or were they worried, once they decided to put it in the prime Thursday night slot following CSI that the show would suffer against the final episodes of ER and wanted to put it against the (supposedly) weaker competition of NBC's new series Southland? My other worry about the show has to do with whether or not the serialized nature is going to have a negative effect on its performance. Will an audience that seems with only a few exceptions to be dialled in to procedurals (here defined as "a genre of programs in which a problem is introduced, investigated and solved all within the same episode") be willing to invest the time and thought needed for this type of drama which requires an extended attention span. A plus for the show in this area is that it will be running for thirteen weeks without a hiatus. Still, it does seem to be a risky move.

Anyway, here's the new Harper's Island trailer. (I hope to have the 1972-73 TV Guide Fall Preview material posted later this afternoon.)

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