Haven: Season 2
There is little argument that Stephen King is one of the all time great authors representing the horror genre. He has had many of his works turned into feature films and several have been done up as television miniseries. In general the later form is the best method to accurately translate his meaty novels onto the screen. King’s works generally are too detailed to fit within the restricted length available to a feature length film. This is why the miniseries has proven to be ideal for bringing King’s works to life; six or eight hours provide sufficient time to capture the nuances of horror that define his literary skills. Last year Mr. King in conjunction with the SyFy channel embarked on a new frontier in translating his written work to a visual media; the weekly series. ‘Haven’ is very loosely based on his novel, ‘The Colorado Kid ‘. There is a downside to this larger palette for telling a story. The usual format King adheres to in his novels and short stories is the traditional well defined start, middle and end to the tale of terror. While films and miniseries are intrinsically conducive to this layout the weekly series is the premise has to be open ended, capable of going on one season after another. This is one reason why ‘Haven’ is so loosely based on one of his novels, there were necessary changes to present the characters and situations in a serialized fashion. This doe require the insertion of the familiar elements of the classic soap opera but after all that is a time tested means of keeping a story moving forward for an extended time. When combined with the current popular infatuation with the supernatural ‘Haven’ is out of the gate with a considerable amount of potential. It was a brilliant idea to broadcast this series on the niche oriented SyFy network. Its target demographic is far more likely to embrace the blend of horror and the supernatural providing the necessary time to gather its fan base and establish the mythos required to drive this type of show. It does require several episodes to become acclimated to the series but once that occurs you are certain to be hooked.
Audrey Parker (Emily Rose) is a bright, ambitious agent of the FBI. One aspect of her personality is great for the workaholic but not consistent with a well rounded personality; she has difficulties forming personal attachments with others. Psychologist might point to being orphaned at an early age but that is just the tip of the iceberg. She is sent out on what should have been a routine fugitive retrieval to the small coastal community of Haven, Maine but what she discovered there would literally reshape her perception of reality changing the course of her life and career. The town is the center of a supernatural confluence that imbues the town with darkness as the supernatural occurrences manifest as what the town townsfolk have come to refer to as ‘The Troubles’. At first she gets her superiors to lend her out to the Haven police department but soon that arrangement becomes formalized. One discovery she makes that heightens her desire to remain is a photo graph taken at a particularly unusual occurrence in the town’s history. It depicted a young woman with a striking resemblance to her captioned ‘Lucy Ripley. Audrey continues to dig into the photo under the suspicion that Rose is her long missing mother. Things get exceptionally strange, a relative term at best in this seafaring town, when Audrey begins to suspect the photo in that old newspaper article might be of her. Normally such an idea would not be entertained for long but this is King’s alternate Maine full of unnatural occupancies. Diehard fans of the author will enjoy spotting the numerous references to other people and places from the collective body of his work.
The second season opens with disaster of Biblical proportions for the belabored town and the ultimate identity crisis for Audrey. Good Sheppard, the local church, becomes ground zero for the reenactment of the ten plagues of Exodus when the pastor, Rev Ed Driscoll (Stephen McHattie) is being questioned. He is frequently involved when ‘The Troubles’ manifest but now he is at ground zero. Lawns are watered with blood followed by a rain of frogs. A citizen of the town believes he is responsible since what he reads seems to come true and he was reading his Bible. As Audrey has discovered this is not out of place here in Haven. What really twists her sanity is meeting a young woman who claims to be Special Agent Audrey Parker (Vanessa Matsui). Audrey as fragmented memories of her past but this new Audrey appears to have lived the same life. The men in Audrey’s life are also rather out of the ordinary. Her partner in the Haven police department is Nathan Wuornos (Lucas Bryant) who basically inherent his position in the department from his father, the late former Chief. Nat is unable to feel anything, no pain, no pleasure although the one exception is Audrey’s touch. The other potential romantic connection is usually on the polar opposite side of the law, town bad boy Duke Crocker (Eric Balfour). Not to be left out from Haven’s perchance for the weird. He is searching for a tattoo that is to be found on the person who will kill him. Duke is able to disrupt the familiar nature of the troubles by only by killing a person involved. He is also destined to kill someone named Audrey Parker.
A series like this could very easily have degraded into the freak of the week. In some respects it does follow this general format although with a critical difference. Each townsfolk afflicted provides a crucial piece to the larger puzzle underlying the darkness infused into the fabric of Haven. At times it clues are frustratingly meager offering only a teasing glimpse but that is completely in keeping with King’ literary style, especially in lengthier novels. There are the relationships between Audrey and the two men that represent order and chaos. In their own way each man offers Audrey an iota of the foundation to the mysteries. There is a depth to the story telling that is more intense than usually found in a TV series. It also appears to pull together the general mythos crafted by King. The show remains intriguing but leaves the audience with the unshakable sense that the best is yet to come.
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