By Kari Croop,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Kids do very bad things in creepy, adult-oriented mystery.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The overall tone is ominous and foreboding, with a sense that something evil is at play. Characters grapple with death, serious injury, infidelity, and divorce. That's balanced slightly with themes of love and family (but only slightly).
Positive Role Models
Gender and racial diversity are strong, but role models are a little murky. The kids who befriend Drill are coerced into doing very bad things, and they often do them knowing they're doing something wrong. The main character has the kids' best interests at heart, and her love for her own son is deep and genuine. But she's made some serious mistakes in her personal life.
Violence & Scariness
Characters experience death and serious injury; some blood, but most violent acts are described or implied rather than shown.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sexual tension stemming from an affair between two major characters.
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Audible words such as "damn" and "hell."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Whispers centers on a string of dangerous "accidents" involving young children -- but the twist is, it's the kids who are pulling off the crimes. Most violent acts (including explosions and falls) aren't shown on-screen, but they're strongly suggested with some blood and visible injuries. You'll also hear words such as "damn" and "hell," though not very often. There's some sexual tension, too, thanks to a subplot involving married characters who had an affair. Characters drink socially.
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What's the Story?
When a series of accidents in the nation's capital linked to children and their imaginary friend "Drill" turn deadly, it's up to FBI specialist Claire Bennigan (Lily Rabe) to figure out who -- or what -- is behind THE WHISPERS putting ideas into little ones' heads. Meanwhile, miles away in the Sahara Desert, Defense Department operative Wes Lawrence (Barry Sloane) discovers a mysterious geological phenomenon that could offer much-needed answers.
Is It Any Good?
The first five minutes of The Whispers are by far the most compelling, blending elements of creepy and quirky and ending with a sickening thud. But after that, the series skates the line between predictable and preposterous, thanks to dialogue that jumps to obvious conclusions and plot elements far too ridiculous to be real. Acclaimed director Steven Spielberg might be attached to the project, but when it comes to creepy kids, The Whispers is no Poltergeist. It's certainly not the worst thing on, but it isn't as great as it could be.
The fact that kids play such a prominent role in The Whispers hardly means it's meant for young eyes either. It's not so much that violence, language, or sexual content are big issues (they're actually pretty tame compared to other TV offerings); rather, it's because the central characters' problems -- from infidelity to divorce to political treachery -- will probably only appeal to adults. And, in the end, even they might decide that The Whispers really isn't worth talking about.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about The Whispers and how the show blends elements of fantasy and reality. What's the overall tone, and how does that affect your sense that what you're seeing could actually happen?
Why would children be targeted to do a kid's bidding over an adult's?
The Whispers has lots of kids in its cast, but does that mean it's a good show for kids to watch? Why, or why not? Who's the target audience, and how can you tell?
- Premiere date: June 1, 2015
- Cast: Milo Ventimiglia, Kristen Connolly, Lily Rabe
- Network: ABC
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Space and Aliens
- TV rating: TV-14
- Last updated: October 14, 2022
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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