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Notes From New York Comic Con: Haven Panel

16 Oct

Eric Balfour discussing his character on the "Haven" panel at NYCC.

First of all, the good news for Haven fans is that Syfy announced the series was renewed for Season 3 and there was an order for 13 episodes which will air in the Summer 2012.  This panel was added at the last-minute so it was a pleasant surprise.  There was no formal screening but the audience was treated to an out-takes reel as well as a sneak preview of the special Christmas episode which is a stand-alone episode so it won’t take place after the action of the Season 2 finale.  I was a bit wary of it as I tend to dislike special holiday episodes but this one looked fun since the “trouble” was that everyone thought it was Christmas in July.  It will be airing on Syfy on December 6th at 10pm.

The Haven panel consisted of the shows stars, Emily Rose (Audrey), Lucas Bryant (Nathan) and Eric Balfour (Duke) along with the shows writer/producers Sam Ernst and Jim Dunn.  Ernest and Dunn talked about the beginnings of the show, and how initially it didn’t have any supernatural elements until they sent a draft of the story to Stephen King who felt there needed to be one so they added it to the show.

Eric Balfour talked at length about Duke and has given a great deal of thought to his character.  He wants to ensure that Duke is “as badass as possible” and finds ways to increase his “badassness.”  For example, in the episode when Duke’s boat is hijacked, he insisted he pull a gun on the perpetrators and he should shoot them.  The compromise was that they took the bullets out of the gun.  But Balfour believes the appeal of Duke is that he’s a reluctant hero who is extremely violent.  He’s looking forward to more opportunities for this next season.

Complimentary "Haven Herald" Newspaper handed out to fans at NYCC.

There were questions whether the producers would be bringing Dwight (“Edge”) back to the show this coming season.  They said although there aren’t any concrete plans they would love to have him back.  This topic extended to former cast members who were troubled.  Fans wanted to know if any would be brought back and the answer was yes, sporadically fans will see previous guest stars return.

The producers revealed they have at least eight seasons worth of shows they’d like to do and that’s the goal they’re aiming for but right now; in this climate, they just seemed pleased they get another year of making Haven.  Audience members were given an edition of the Haven Herald upon entering the room which includes “local stories” and a promo for a Stephen King book, Trouble In Mind.  It’s a clever giveaway that represents the two mysterious characters (Vince and Dave) that seem to be at the heart of the mystery with the show.  I hope in Season 3 more about their involvement gets revealed.  Hint.  Hint.

Haven: Season Finale or Series Finale? “Sins of the Fathers”

5 Oct

As Haven wraps up season 2, there are only more questions that need answering.  SPOILER ALERT:  What happened to Audrey (Emily Rose)?  Did Duke (Eric Balfour) take her?  Someone else?  Dave (John Dunsworth) or Vince (Richard Donat) ?  It could have been anybody.  And why?  To kill her?  Reprogram her?  Who is she?  Is she the one who starts The Troubles every time she appears?  And what does that say about women?  Her in particular.  If it is a woman who triggers this, and Audrey can bring trouble and ultimately control trouble, that makes her not only powerful but a threat, especially to the masculine element in town.  Think of Duke’s dead father who tells Duke he has to kill her.  Think of the weapons cache that he and his ancestors procured over the generations.  Duke’s family is the masculine answer to The Troubles while Audrey is the feminine.  Duke’s family kills and saves generations from their curse/trouble.  Audrey practices something else altogether:  understanding and tolerance.  Audrey understands and tries to impart knowledge about how each trouble is triggered and how to control it in the future, almost like living with mental illness or an addiction.  Duke’s family (and the Rev (with his followers) believe annihilation of The Troubled is the smartest way to go.

There seems to be an underlying current of misogyny in Haven.  Not all the men hate Audrey.  The Chief (Nicholas Campbell) respects her importance.  Duke can’t stop caring about her.  And Nathan (Lucas Bryant) is in love with her.  She’s the only person who can make him feel.  Yet one can never really know if either brother, Vince or Dave, un/official keepers of all of Haven’s secrets, are truly supportive of Audrey or not.  But the Rev wasn’t.  Neither was the Duke’s father, alive or as a ghost.  In this particular episode, “Sins of the Fathers,” the dead have come back to either get revenge or deal with unfinished business.  Ironically, Audrey cannot see any of them.  The most important thing, it seems, is that Duke’s father comes back to try and get Duke to see he cannot be on Audrey’s side and The Chief lets Nathan know how important Audrey is to the safety and future of Haven.

If fans were hoping Audrey and Nathan would be consummating their relationship before, during, or after pancake eating, they were disappointed since somebody abducted Audrey in the middle of her preparations for her “pancake” date with Nathan.  Even more disturbing is that when Nathan discovers Audrey is missing, he heads for Duke’s and as he attacks Duke, convinced he has abducted Audrey, the telltale tattoo that Duke is terrified of appears on Nathan’s arm.  Now we have to wait until Christmas to see what happens.  And I’m confused:  are things resolved or is the Christmas Episode a stand-alone one?  But if it is, how is Audrey ok?  Do we get an explanation for her abduction and, I’m guessing, Christmas Trouble?  Does one of Santa’s reindeer go nuts?  A elf that turns into a murderous giant snow monster?  Will Santa forget who he is and what Christmas means?  Who knows.  I’d just like the series to continue.

Syfy channel, I hope you are not waiting until the Christmas Special to make a decision to renew this show.  You have a strong fan base.  You should exploit the show more.  So, get your act together because I would really like to see a Season 3.  As would the show’s other fans.

Haven: “Business As Usual” pays off its fans

25 Sep

SPOILER ALERT:

If you’re a Haven fan and you are hoping for Audrey (Emily Rose) and Crocker (Eric Balfour) hooking up, you might be disappointed with last night’s episode; however, if you are on the Audrey/Nathan (Lucas Bryant) bandwagon, you might be very happy since last night’s episode gave the fans what they were finally waiting for… the kiss.

Writing about the “trouble of the week” doesn’t inspire me, although it’s fascinating how each trouble is usually caused by an emotional trigger and once its out there, there’s no going back.  Kind of like a mental illness you can never get rid of  and must learn to live with using only cognitive therapy as there doesn’t seem to be any medicinal cure for the “troubled”.  Which begs the question, just how does Audrey know how to fix the troubled?  I’m glad the writers/producers are finally beginning to address the mythology of Audrey’s past a bit more heavily into the narrative, although it wouldn’t have hurt to introduce it in slightly sooner.  And that introduction to the real Audrey at the end of season one and the beginning of season two left a great deal to be desired.  If you are going to build a premise up that far then you should go a bit deeper.  It would have been simple enough for Audrey to come across her memory double in another way that was less invasive if all they wanted to do was introduce the idea that Audrey’s memories weren’t her own.  Then after all the leading up to Lucy Ripley, we see her for a few minutes and while yes, we get some key information, I’m hoping we get to see more of her.  This is all contingent on whether or not Syfy actually renews a third season.  Which they should.  I already invested in the Season 1 DVD set and I rarely do that.  It even cost me more because I bought it in Canada so Syfy creative executives, I’d appreciate some good faith as I would be very upset if you failed me now.  Besides, there appears to be a hardcore fan-base for the show if you look at Dave (John Dunsworth) and Vince’s (Richard Donat) twitter following numbers.

If there is a season 3, as I sincerely hope there will be, I am anxious to see how the Audrey/Nathan relationship progresses since his father (in the preview for the season finale as a ghost, no less) tells Nathan that Audrey is too important to be in love with him (considering she does need to focus to save the entire town).  But Nathan’s dad is from the old school of thought.  There’s nothing that says Audrey can’t be in love with Nathan, have to figure out if Duke will end up turning on her on his own or because a trouble might possess him at some point, and fighting whatever ‘force’ it is that is causing all the havoc in the small Maine coastal town.  I will be watching closely, considering Audrey isn’t really Audrey or Lucy so if she finds out who she is, will that cause a problem with her relationship with Nathan?  More interesting, although Nathan is the troubled one who can feel nobody but Audrey, he seems a bit healthier in the ability to attempt a relationship.  At this point, it is almost as if the gender roles were reversed since Nathan never lived up to being a man for his father while Audrey was more than capable of handling many of the troubles.  I wonder if there are any other gender-bending issues that will arise if we are lucky enough to get a third season of Haven.

Follow Dave and Vince on Twitter.

Haven: A town that belongs on the Syfy channel – Season 1 Review

14 Sep

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), DexterCastle, 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.

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