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TV Series Review

We here at Plugged In are perpetually concerned with what might influence children. That's a good chunk of our mission, after all. We tell parents about what their kids are seeing in movies and television shows, listening to in their music, experiencing while playing video games.

But when a shadowy influence is coming straight through the light fixtures, well, that's obviously out of our purview.

What Is in Our Purview

The kids in ABC's The Whispers call the "force" that speaks to them through hall lights and ceiling fans "Drill." Their parents at first assume that Drill is just your average imaginary friend. The family from The Exorcist could set them straight, of course. Because Drill, whatever he is and whatever nefarious plans he has, is not a make-believe being. He can open locked doors, play with electricity and even make nuclear fallout magically disappear. But mostly he makes up "games" for kids to play. If they play the games exactly right, there's a chance they might have their fondest wish fulfilled. If not … well, there's always a chance that there might soon be one less child for Drill to pencil onto his playdate calendar.

Of all the creepy supernatural serials that have landed on television lately, The Whispers is definitely one of them. It's not particularly innovative or creative, but it's not unwatchable, either. And compared to some of the other frightfests we've been treated to—say, HBO's The Leftovers or FX's American Horror Story—it's practically a soothing bedtime story. It's not, of course, but ABC's apparent intent is to foster a creeping sense of horror in its viewers, not shock them (yet) with outrageous levels of sex and violence. Affairs and the threat of impending doom and/or death, certainly. R-rated bloodbaths and extended sexual shenanigans, not so much.

Despite Our Best Efforts

The Whispers clearly doesn't need all that to do its scary business, predicated, as it is, on the worst fears of many a parent: that their children are being influenced by forces that they don't understand.

As one young disciple of Drill tells her mother, "I don't think grown-ups always know what's going on."

Indeed, despite the best efforts of the best parents, children can sometimes live startlingly secret lives. We know that they're in contact with many influencers outside our home, both good and bad, and that in itself can be frightening. Add to the equation the exponential magnification of social technologies, and it's obvious that we don't need to take a huge leap from Drill whispering through a ceiling fan to the constant "danger" of the real world around us.


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Episode Reviews

Meltdown - June 22, 2015
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