28. Harper's Island
Air Dates: April 9, 2009 - July 11, 2009
Best Episode: "Gasp" (July 11, 2009)
Those who slept really fucked up during the summer of 2009. Whether it's the fault of the CBS network's lazy marketing strategy or just plain old, unfortunate viewer indifference, Harper's Island ran its one-season course to abysmal ratings, which is a real shame. Strongly acted and cleverly written, the Ari Schlossberg-created series channeled both old Agatha Christie murder mysteries and slasher movie tropes to present a “10 little Indians” set-up that got better as the season progressed.
The wedding of Trish Wellington (Katie Cassidy) and Henry Dunn (Christopher Gorham) brings several family members and friends to the groom's native island, where, seven years prior, a homicidal maniac slaughtered tons of folks before getting shot down by the sheriff. Or so the residents thought; Harper's Island quickly turns into whodunit riddled with corpses, killing off its good-looking cast in surprisingly gory ways and culminating in a string of twists and reveals.
Unlike most slice-and-dice horror movies, Harper's Island featured likeable characters and genuine surprises; so, naturally, it was doomed to cancellation after one season. Maybe the show would've lasted if CBS framed it as a CSI-like investigation into the island's murder—thank heavens they didn't.