Whispers Silenced

whispersposterPoor ratings doomed The Whispers, the now-cancelled ABC TV series based on Ray Bradbury’s short story “Zero Hour.” Unfortunately, the fans of the summer series were left with a cliffhanger ending.

Phil Nichols comments on Bradburymedia

As it turns out, only thirteen episodes were made, and in the face of declining ratings ABC decided not to bring it back for a second season.

This, of course, leaves viewers of the series with unanswered questions, principally “what was that all about?”

Cast member Barry Sloane thought viewers deserved a broad hint.

Nichols has a better solution –

Most casual viewers will have no clue that The Whispers was “Zero Hour”. But if any of those are left disappointed by a lack of a solid conclusion, point them to the original short story – which has one of Bradbury’s finest endings.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the story.]

The Whispers Airs 6/1

The Whispers, ABC TV’s new series based on Ray Bradbury’s story “Zero Hour,” launches on June 1.

Phil Nichols says in his analysis of the original tale on Bradbury Media

Bradbury’s story is about an alien invasion with a difference. The alien – Drill – finds a way of communicating with Earth children.The children incorporate Drill’s ideas into their play, and eventually enable Drill to take over the Earth. Like John Wyndham in The Midwich Cuckoos, Bradbury manages to tap into something inherently frightening about children. Perhaps they are too innocent, so that they just have to be up to something.

But what Bradbury’s story is really about is… bad parenting. As with another of his classic short stories, “The Veldt”, the parents just don’t pay enough attention to the kids. They’ve got enough adult things to pre-occupy them, and would rather just send the kids off to play, or to sit in front of the TV. Their lack of interest in what their kids are up to, and specifically their lack of interest in the children’s play, becomes the parents’ downfall.

Watch the first five minutes of the initial episodes on YouTube: