One-Season Wonders, Weirdos, And Wannabes: Before The Walking Dead, Harper’s Island made a show out of killing its cast

Some TV shows never even make it past the first season. Maybe a series lacked the ratings to match its artistic accomplishments, or maybe it floundered its way into the network crosshairs, but it’s time to look at one-season series outside the immediate context of ratings and renewals. One-Season Wonders, Weirdos, And Wannabes considers the merits of these short-lived shows. In this installment: Harper’s Island, which ran for 13 episodes on CBS in the spring and summer of 2009.

Most efforts to create scary television shows over the years have met with mixed results at best. The most successful—like Dark Shadows, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, or Supernaturalblended the horror element with other TV staples, like soapy relationship drama, humor, or procedural storytelling. The X-Files often created horror by crafting mini-movies between commercial breaks, choosing one or two acts for the scares, then delivering breathless payoff and …

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