No past, no family, no limits!
FBI agent Audrey Parker is heading to Haven Maine on a routing investigation into the death of a Federal prisoner who was a Haven native. A series of mishaps result in her being trapped in and eventually assigned to the town. While it looks like an idyllic small town, Haven is harboring a dark secret; many of the people are afflicted by odd abilities and powers called troubles. These can range from being able to talk to animals to being able to manipulate the weather. The whole town is full of these troubled and their families and no one is sure what will happen next.
As the show progresses we start to see that there is a lot more to Audrey Parker than meets the eye. Her ability to restrain and control out of control troubles makes her invaluable to the local PD. A recurring side plot is an old photograph that shows a virtual twin of Audrey standing next to a child who was murdered in 1983. The mystery of this child, dubbed the Colorado Kid, draws her deeper into the history of the town.
The show is based on several of writer Stephen King’s stories and most serious readers know the only thing Stephen King likes as much a good horror/suspense story, is a good mystery. With Haven he’s managed to combine the chocolate and peanut butter. The show is an almost perfect blend of suspense, horror and mystery. Combining weird creatures, illnesses and unexplained events with good old fashioned murder and robberies.
A large part of those mysteries involve Haven’s other native son, Duke Crocker. He’s the guy women warn their daughters about and everyone goes to for that “special something”. The Haven Police Department deals with a full load of non-paranormal crimes including smuggling (usually involving Duke), drugs (again Duke), murder (again you know who). You’ll start to think the guy has more mug photos than family photos.
Actor Eric Balfour is talented enough to pull off the charming rogue routine without being too insufferable and Duke usually manages to pull his weight in town despite his basically larcenous nature. His “trouble” is that he can eliminate troubles from an entire family line, the rub is that he has to kill a member of that family to absorb the curse.
Besides Duke and the mysterious Audrey Parker, there is also Nathan Wuornos. His “trouble” is that he doesn’t feel pain. He’s not invulnerable and can be injured, but since he’s very physically tough and doesn’t feel pain, he’s very hard to stop. Good traits for a police officer. Most episodes involve him and Audrey investigating a local crime, usually Troubles related.
The rest of the town is well stocked with veteran character actors and the occasional WWE superstar cameo.
Since the show has an ongoing plot related to the troubles, you’ll have to pay attention and refresh your memory if you’re away for a while. The mythology can be a little overwhelming since it connects into the larger Stephen King-verse and there are references and connections to his other works.
One recurring shot in the series is a large lighthouse facing the harbor. Almost every episode has a shot of it at some point. The rest of the town is a suitably picturesque small town. The better to hide the strange goings on.
The main issues I have with the show are the occasional continuity issues, the writers have had to resort to some pretty creative methods to escape from literary corners they’ve painted themselves into.
Another issue the frequent tone and sometimes outright personality changes of some of the characters to fit the current direction of the show, this can happen between seasons with little warning.
Finally, some of the special effects in the show are quite well done, but some are painfully obvious CG and tend to break focus. CG aside, the rest of the camera work is quite nice considering this is a cable TV program and not a film.
The previously mentioned issues don’t irreparably damage the show though and it is one of the better Syfy channel offerings out there.
Verdict 3 Gavels out of 5
Entertaining little mashup of X-Files paranormal with a traditional small town detective show. Likable cast and plenty of action.