So we’re a few weeks back days and I’m on spoilertv. As usual I scan down the page looking for shows I’m interested in and as I click next page I glance up to see the name ‘Haven’. I’ve seen it before and I’m bored so I type it in the old google search bar... a picture of Milo from ‘24’ (Eric Balfour) pops up and the flames of my interest are starting to be fanned; he was one of my favourite characters in the series and always fun to watch. So I click on the wikipedia entry and immediately see that it’s influenced by Stephen King; now we have enough to light a match. Ok, I think, let’s check this out. And I do, and now I’m hooked. Now the show’s been renewed for a fourth season so here are four reasons I love it, and four reasons you should give it a watch.
The show is very loosely inspired by Stephen King’s The Colorado Kid and while this only really seems to manifest itself in the two characters Vince and Dave and the presence of ‘The Colorado Kid’ himself the mythology of the show is quite ‘King-ian’. The titular town, Haven, has a dark secret; many of its inhabitants are plagued by special abilities called Troubles. Their name is significant as rather than having a town filled with zingy superheroes, the Troubles are presented very much as afflictions which seriously impact the lives of their possessors. For example, main character Nathan (Lucas Bryant) cannot feel, which, while handy for a policeman, is unsurprisingly a bit of a downer on his love-life. It’s this personal twist on special abilities which brings to mind King’s other work such as Carrie as well as HBO’s sadly short-lived Carnivale and makes the series such an emotive show with surprising depth.
2. The Mysteries
3. The ‘Trouble-of-the-Week’
Like the CW’s Supernatural, although there are ongoing threads, Haven has an episodic format. While in Supernatural we have a monster-of-the-week, in Haven the ‘monster’ part is optional, instead the show features a trouble-of-the-week, exploring the abilities of the townspeople. This is really the source of the show’s atmosphere as, while they are occasionally amusingly far-fetched (all credit to the apparently hyperactive imaginations of its writers), the troubles often have gory consequences which pack real emotional punch. This is also where the show touches upon the crime procedural genre, blending this with fantasy like NBC’s Grimm; main characters Nathan and Audrey are police officers and each week are met with the challenge of a new supernatural disturbance to investigate. I’ve always loved shows where you can try to solve the case and the vibrancy of a new story every week really works to complement the more drawn-out case of Audrey herself.
I’ve heard some people say they’re put off Haven by their experience of other SyFy shows but this is not your silly, frothy bit of Eureka or Warehouse 13 fun (not that those shows aren’t good in their own way). Sure some of the troubles are pretty ridiculous but Haven balances this with genuinely dark overtones and engrossing mysteries as well as entertaining ensemble performances. If any of this has sparked your interest I’d advise you to give it a go, you never know, in a few days time you might be hooked too!