I’m ashamed to admit when I first heard about Haven, I didn’t pay that much attention. I know I should stop judging shows before I watch them. But I just heard the name “Haven” and thought: syfy and witches and I’m just not in the mood. Ok. I was wrong. Very wrong. It’s not about witches at all. It’s about a small town in Maine where very strange things happen because there is something, shall we say, afflicting, some of the inhabitants.
The premise of the show is loosely based on Stephen King‘s short novel “The Colorado Kid” but it appears that the television adaptation has taken liberties, which is probably not a bad thing unless you are wedded to the King story. The television version follows FBI Agent Audrey Parker (Emily Rose) to Haven, Maine. She investigates the murder of a local ex-con and teams up with the local police officer, Nathan Wuornos (Lucas Bryant). In the course of the investigation, Audrey discovers a photo of a woman who looks exactly like her who she suspects might be her mother (she was an orphan) so she decides to stay at the end of the pilot and take some time and see what she can learn about the mystery woman in the photo and the mystery surrounding the photo. There is an eclectic cast of supporting characters including Duke Crocker (Eric Balfour), part-time smuggler, full-time bad guy and sometimes flirtation interest for Audrey and half the other female population of Haven, as well as Police Chief Wuornos/Nathan’s boss and father (Nicholas Campbell of DaVinci’s Inquest fame). The show is shot in Southern Nova Scotia and is a US/Canadian co-production. And here’s the thing about Canadian shows – they are just a bit more easy-going than American shows. Everything is a bit more… polite. I was wondering how that would work with a show dealing with cops and supernatural occurrences and I’m pleased to say it works quite well.
If you are looking for excessive gore and loads of sex, you are not going to find them here. Yes, there are some fairly strange and horrific deaths but somehow they never make me feel like I am watching the one show that used to scare me when I was little: Night Gallery. This feels more like a tame version of The X-Files. Perhaps its because you will learn early on the people causing all this murder and mayhem don’t usually (there are exceptions especially in the second series) mean to do it. Or realize what they are doing but can’t figure it out. That’s where Audrey comes in. She somehow understands how to fix these people or at least shows them how to live with their afflictions and try to have a somewhat normal life. This is what makes her character so interesting; she starts out as an FBI agent, ends up quitting to work as a local police officer, then quickly finds herself as some sort of monster whisperer. Obviously, or maybe not so obviously, these troubles that start in Haven are linked to her visit and it is inferred, her mother’s visit. I won’t say more because there are twists and turns we learn about Audrey’s character by the end of the first season and the reveal would be more satisfying for you to watch instead of reading it.
As for Audrey and her personal life, it seems she is almost asexual. Which I find a bit unsettling. Because you see, if you look at most female cop shows, they don’t seem to be able to have sex. They are either celebate or incapable of having a healthy sexual relationship. Not to say lots of women are equally just as incapable but I find it particularly fascinating that most cop shows I watch attach the same affliction to these women. If you don’t believe me look at Cold Case, CSI, Rizzoli and Isles, Against the Wall, La Femme Nikita (original series I haven’t tried the new one), Dexter, Castle, for a very long time The Closer and if you want me go back, Hunter and even the original – Police Woman. I was hoping this would be fixed in the second series/season but so far (admittedly at this writing I’m only on the 4th episode), things still haven’t happened for Audrey. And, yes, the writers are setting something up with her and Nathan but it’s slow going, even by Canadian standards! Why am I so obsessed with this? Because usually male counterparts in shows tend to get laid. Duke has. Nathan sort of did. And those other shows I mention, the guys might be screwed up but the men seem to have no problem with their sex lives. So, I pose the question: why do women cops have to be frigid or screwed up to work on a show? This isn’t ancient times. They do not have to be saints to solve crimes but for some reason, in the backs of these writers minds and the networks minds, even unconsciously, I think that’s what they are thinking. You would think they are scared that if Audrey actually had sex, she might not be able to focus on a case!
Audrey, I suppose, does have other things to worry about including her identity and trying to make sure the town of Haven does not implode. She seems to be doing a great job and so far in the second season/series, she does even better even though things are getting a bit more intense, Nathan has become interim chief of police and Audrey has a mysterious visitor at the end of season 1 finale that has the audience questioning her identity even more than she is herself. The only problem I see with this premise is how long things can keep happening in a strange Maine coastal town, but look how long deaths occurred while Jessica Fletcher was on television. It’s amazing that woman had any friends living by the end of Murder She Wrote (and there’s another celebate one).
Haven, Season 1 is available on DVD or on iTunes.