SyFy’s Haven is my current favorite show, and here are seven reasons why:
7. Based on a Stephen King novel.
I have an on again off again readership with author King. Sometime’s his stories are great, sometimes they’re just too out there or hokey for me to relate to. Haven is based on a short novel by King called The Colorado Kid. I put this reason of watching Haven at number seven mainly because the story it’s based on is awesome. It’s a story with no ending about a reporter being tested. Does she have what it takes to be a journalist? Does she have a curious enough mind to ask the right questions? The mystery itself of The Colorado Kid is baffling, but not in a bang, bang, boom, sort of way, making it unique among King’s more grandiose reality bending stories. The writing is some of his best yet, in my opinion. At heart, The Colorado Kid and Haven are both about people, what motivates them, makes them tick, etc. And the show caters to King fan’s, including numerous odes to his stories, some blink-and-you-miss-them. Haven also pays tribute to similar teen shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
6. The Troubles.
Like most science fiction and/or fantasy shows, Haven revolves around people with special abilities and how they deal with them, using them for evil and/or good. And Haven has some truly unique troubles (spoilers), like a girl who can turn an entire town into a snow globe, or a man obsessed with aliens who makes alien invasions turn real (or are they real?), or a man who becomes a house. Fun and disturbing stuff.
5. It’s like LOST.
And I mean that in the best possible way. Haven starts out simply, FBI agent going to a town to investigate strange circumstances, but it just gets weirder and weirder, much like the island on Lost. If you loved that about Lost, you’ll like it about Haven too. Both shows are similar in that the characters are dealing with events they cannot control, and they are part of a grand scheme where good and evil go head to head. In addition to that, both shows share a love of humanity, it’s various struggles, concerns, and fear of the truth. Like Lost, many Haven episodes are stand alone reflections on human life. Taken away from the larger arc of the Troubles’ origins, these episodes are sweet, little stories in and of themselves. Also, like Lost, Haven doesn’t really make sense, and the ending is likely to be a letdown, but I don’t care. It’s fun to see writers and show producers push their imaginations. It’s great to see channels like SyFy at least give the stranger stories a chance.
4. The theme song.
I don’t know if the song has a title or who it’s by, but the theme song and opening credits are ultimately what got me hooked on Haven. The shots of Nova Scotia and/or New England are breathtaking, and the Celtic-themed melody just lets you know you’re in for a yarn of a story. It’s no mistake that Haven is located on the sea. The Troubles are just another version of all those sailor’s stories, like mermaids, or Davy Jones’ locker, whimsical stories involving both passion and danger.
3. The love story.
Haven is ultimately a love story. There’s some sort of love triangle involved, which becomes a quadrangle, but how that will play out to the end, I don’t know. Many people dismiss love stories as boring, but I think Haven does a decent job with it. They don’t bang us over the head too hard, and generally keep the focus on defeating whatever the Big Bad currently is. But love is the reason the main characters have such a problem weeding out the Troubles. Because people love their family members, they are reluctant to “out” them, so to speak, and/or are in absolute denial that either they or their family members have a Trouble.
2. The actors/characters.
Emily Rose is a great Audrey. She’s spunky and portrays Audrey as the girl you’d want for your best friend. She plays Audrey so well, that seeing her play (spoilers) Audrey’s alternate egos is jarring, and seemingly unnatural. Lucas Bryant as detective Nathan Wuornos is a unique face, and he plays Nathan’s alternating low self-esteem against his absolute belief in true love really well. He’s a bullied kid who still believes in people and in love, and even might be the one to get the girl in the end. The third member of this triangle is Duke Crocker, played by Eric Balfour. Balfour has gone mostly under the radar up to this point, and I think this is because Duke is his first big chance to shine. If Haven were Lost, Crocker would be its Sawyer. He’s funny, charming, and teetering the line between criminal and good guy. He has a good heart and cares about people, but is not necessarily pure of heart. Like Sawyer, Haven would not be Haven without Duke Crocker.
The numerous minor characters on Haven, are great as well, especially the Teague brothers with their old married couple spats, and the unexpected longterm addition to the “Scooby gang,” Dwight Hendrickson played by Adam Copeland. Even those who only stick around for one episode, are memorable, and in their own ways, are each a thread of the fabric that is Haven, including Maurice Dean Wint as Agent Howard, Vinessa Antoine, as Evi, and Emma Lahana who won me over as Jennifer. In addition, I have to give props to the Haven production for picking such great actors to play the town’s coroners. The coroners are all portrayed as quirky, salt-of-the-earth people who tell it like it is. They embody the town of Haven most of all, and are played by Mary-Colin Chisholm, Christopher Shore, and Jayne Eastwood, who steals nearly every scene she’s in.
1. The writing.
The fun of writing a fantastical story is that as a writer, you can tie yourself into absolute knots, the likes of which it is impossible to untangle to anyone’s satisfaction. Some people, like me, like these kind of stories, whereas others can’t stand them. I am constantly intrigued by what the writers come up with for the overall arc of Haven, and also how they bring back minor characters that previously seemed throwaway. In Season 5, we have the continued presence of Vicki Dutton, a girl who’s drawings work something like voodoo dolls. It’s a troubling Trouble, writing wise, because any effect on the paper can cause chaos in the real world. It is one of the more illogical Troubles to use, and yet one of the most interesting.
Season 5 of Haven, hangs in a balance of sorts. Rumors are that both Emma Lahana, who played Duke’s love interest, Jennifer, and Colin Ferguson, who played the Big Bad, William, may not be returning to the show. Both characters are integral to the overall arc, so if they are not recast, or even do not return at all, it will be intriguing to watch how the writers write themselves out of that trouble, and it’s exciting that the renewal for another Season will give Haven an ending, hopefully a good one. I think the most interesting reveal to come will be just how Vince and Dave Teague play into the origins behind the Troubles. They’ve been keeping secrets for a long time, perhaps to hide an awful truth from the world.
The love triangle with Nathan, Audrey, and Duke, I have a feeling may end with a self-sacrifice of some kind. One will take it upon his or herself to fight and die in order that the other two may be happy. Well, I think that would be a great ending, even if cliche. The likeliest to sacrifice himself would be Duke, as his antihero persona is becoming more and more all out hero all the time, even though he still denies it. His potential sacrifice would be satisfying in a way that Nathan and Audrey’s would not, as such a sacrifice would be a given with them, and consequently, somewhat disappointing. Also, Nathan and Audrey are the embodiment of true romantic love on the show, and as such, they should live, and live happily with that love. Is that cheesy? But why do we think this about true love ? Are we too cynical for our own good? The problem most have with happy endings is that there’s often no pay off. The happy ending is tacked on without an emotional catharsis, which is why sometimes a sad ending gets more points. I have hope, though, that if Haven does end happily, the writers, will make the characters earn it.