Thursday, June 16, 2011

Film Yap: Haven Season One

Haven is a show I’ve been rooting for even before it was picked up. There was a podcast that started years ago called Sam and Jim Go to Hollywood. It was about two men who left their restaurant business to move west and try to become television writers. Their podcast documented their struggle and gave advice. They were very nice and engaging guys. When they finally got a job, it was a great moment of triumph.

One of the things they often talked about was a pilot they had written based off a Stephen King novella. The novella was a book I liked called The Colorado Kid. It’s an odd one, but it gave an enormous amount of attention to a new publishing line called Hard Case Crime, a fantastic throw back to older pulp collections. A TV show will give even more attention to them.

Finally it happened. It looked like it could be with ABC, but it ended up being Syfy who turned The Colorado Kid into Haven. The result has its handful of flaws, but nothing too disastrous.

The show is about FBI Agent Audrey Parker (Emily Rose) who arrives in Haven, Maine to discover a lot of freaky supernatural things are going on. Entertained by the “weird stuff” and determined to figure out how this town connects to her missing mother, she decides to stay.

Every week she and her partner Nathan (Lucas Bryant) figure out how to stop what sort of freaky activity is plaguing the town whether it is all of the food instantly becoming rotten or men rapidly aging to death. The content is light and fun, but the show is missing the opportunity for its creepiness.

Everything is too bright on the show instead of having a few more shadows and mystery. The special effects are very under budgeted and sometimes become campier than they ought to be. (Audrey gets cocooned by a mystical blanket in Episode 2.)

It’s difficult to have a mystery when the world is so expansive with its mythology. The greater story holds more interest than a monster-of-the-week that could be werewolves or witches or another supernatural option they haven’t thought of yet. Buffy had her Hellmouth, Stephen King has Maine. Weird things will happen, but they can never be solved by the audience. Especially when it’s always because people are keeping a secret just to be mysterious.

The end of the season has quite a fun cliffhanger that will hopefully lead the show into a more serialized direction. Until then, this DVD set is a fun show to try out. It’s not great, but it’s working towards being “pretty good.”

The DVD and Blu-Ray has a lot of commentaries for the episodes including a lot by Sam and Jim. There are a few featurettes, blogs, interviews, and a sneak peak towards the next season.

Season: 3.5 Yaps

Extras: 4 Yaps

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