I didn’t have time to screen ABC’s “The Whispers” and Lifetime’s “UnREAL” in advance of their premieres, so I played catch up and watched them late last week.
I can see why “The Whispers” is getting a bunch of buzz. The series stars Lily Rabe from “American Horror Story” as an FBI agent who’s investigating a series of crimes involving children and their “imaginary” friend, Drill.
It’s creepy, especially when the children talk to the unseen Drill. TV blogs already are suggesting Drill may be extraterrestrial, especially since the series’ other storyline involves the reappearance of a missing fighter jet under unusual circumstances. Supporting players include Barry Sloane from “Revenge” and Milo Ventimiglia from “Gotham.”
Meanwhile, “UnREAL,” too, is a bit out there, but in a different way. It’s a scripted take of the behind-the-scenes happenings of a “Bachelor”-type dating competition show, titled “Everlasting.”
Shiri Appleby (“Girls,” “Chicago Fire”) is the show’s producer who is great at manipulating the relationships on the dating show for effect, but not so good at handling her own life. Constance Zimmer (“House of Cards”) is Appleby’s take-no-prisoners boss. “UnREAL” is way over-the-top and trashy, but in an entertaining way. It may leave you wondering if this fictional tale isn’t so made up after all. Grades: “The Whispers,” B+; “UnREAL,” B.
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Across the remote
* Summer series of note returning this week include: “Major Crimes,” 8 p.m. Monday, TNT; “Beauty and the Best,” 7 p.m. Thursday, The CW; “Orange is the New Black,” 12:01 a.m. Friday, Netflix and “Defiance,” 7 p.m. Friday, Syfy.
* Here’s another sign we’re edging toward an eventual a la carte TV service. Showtime announced it will offer a stand-alone streaming service to viewers without a cable subscription beginning July 12. It’ll cost $10.99 a month for those with Apple devices and provide access to past and current programming.
* Bob Saget became the final piece of the puzzle for Netflix’s “Full House” reunion, “Fuller House.” That means all the major cast members will be back except Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, who declined to take part in the reboot.
* On the casting front, Ally Walker (“The Profiler,” “Sons of Anarchy”) will join “Longmire,” when the series moves to Netflix this fall for its fourth season. “Elementary” (CBS) will introduce veteran character actor John Noble (“Fringe,” “Sleepy Hollow”) as Sherlock’s father in season four.
* At ABC, Penny Johnson Jerald won’t be returning as Capt. Victoria Gates for the eighth season of “Castle.” Eric Close, who plays Rayna’s ex Teddy Conrad, won’t return as a series regular on “Nashville.” He’s expected, though, to guest star. “Marvel’s Agents of “S.H.I.E.L.D.” has promoted Henry Simmons and Luke Mitchell to series regulars.