Whims. I love whims. Because of them I discover the coolest stories. How I never had Haven on my radar for four years is beyond me, but thankfully I have whims to correct these viewing injustices. Now I have consumed the three seasons available on Netflix and can tell you about it, unless you already knew about Haven and simply didn’t tell me. If that’s the case, shame on you, really!
Haven is based on the story The Colorado Kid by Stephen King. As he is fond of doing, he based the series in his backyard of Maine. North Haven is a real resort town with a population of 355. Curiously, there is no East, West, or South Haven, but there is Stephen King’s fictitious “Haven”. Every few decades, the town experiences what it likes to call “the troubles”, when residents begin to experience psychic and supernatural abilities, usually out of control, and usually dangerous.
Into this mess arrives FBI agent Audrey Parker, blonde & cute, but tough as beef jerky. Audrey befriends detective Nathan Wournos and Nathan’s nemesis, Duke Crocker, and uses their help to solve the various troubles she encounters. The hook that keeps Audrey in Haven is a newspaper photo from the 70s titled “Who Killed the Colorado Kid?” In the photo is a woman who looks exactly like Audrey. Since Audrey is an orphan, is this woman family?
The first season moves along at a good clip, dealing with troubles such as a woman who controls the weather with her moods, a plague that destroys prepared food, stuffed animal trophies that attack, a murderous shadow, and an artist whose drawings affect reality once they’re finished. In each episode, Audrey resolves the trouble and tries to discover more about herself. Why is she immune to the troubles? Why is she so skilled at resolving them? Who is the lady in the photograph, what is her connection to Audrey, and who was the Colorado Kid?
All the troubles are not devious and brilliant, and the first part of the season isn’t as strong as the latter part of the season, but what is consistent is the dialogue and chemistry between the characters. All the main characters are strong and memorable. You’ll love the roguish Duke, the loyal and wry Nathan, Nathan’s father, the Chief of Police, who is as secretive as he is acerbic, and Vince and Dave Teagues, who run the Haven Herald but know far more than they ever print. (Watch out for those two. Their roots go deep into the town, and their knowledge covers several periods of troubles.) The dialogue is glib and snappy without feeling artificial, and Emily Rose’s performance as Audrey holds the show together. Especially enjoyable is the dynamic between her, Duke, and Nathan.
Although the show begins as a simple police procedural with a supernatural twist, it becomes very clear to Audrey that the troubles are often the root of all crime in Haven. Then the mystery is not how did somebody die, but who accidentally caused it, or as is often the case, who had motive to kill somebody via poltergeist, premature aging, or butterfly?
As season one comes to an end, some answers are revealed, but they only lead to more questions. Fortunately, Audrey is determined to get to the bottom of things despite the efforts of people in town to keep her in the dark. Then the season ender flips everything she thought she knew up in the air.
Haven is a teen-safe police drama that will keep you hooked from episode to episode. Although we’ve seen supernatural investigative shows before, the dynamic of these characters gives the genre a fresh feel. I recommend it.
Original Air Dates: July 9 – October 8, 2010 (USA)
TV Parental Guidelines Rating: Not rated
Alcohol/Drugs: 2 (social drinking, scenes in a bar)
Language: 1 (mild, d & h words)
Sexuality: 1 (implied)
Violence: 3 (gun & knife play, gruesome murders, blood & ichor)