I think it’s time to move to another town.
Stephen King is one of my favorite writers, so when Haven debuted back in 2010 I wanted to see what a TV series based on one of his short stories would look like. The Colorado Kid is the tale of an unsolved murder in small town Maine, and the only similarity between King’s story and Haven is this cold case murder. Still, the show’s writers have managed to create characters as engaging as any found in a King novel, and stories that keep you coming back each week to see what other chicanery is going on in this mysterious world.
Troubles continue to plague the hamlet of Haven, as Agent Audrey Parker (Emily Rose, Brothers and Sisters), partner Nathan Wournos (Lucas Bryant, The Vow), and sometime boat smuggler / sometime good guy Duke Crocker (Eric Balfour, Skyline) undertake the monumental task of assisting the “troubled” people who inhabit the town. Season Two finds Audrey getting closer to the mystery that surrounds her past; Nathan comes to terms with his own “troubles” and the man his father truly was; and Duke realizes he might have a much more personal role in events that taking place in Haven.
Haven: The Complete Second Season features 13 episodes and extras on a 4-disc set.
* “A Tale of Two Audreys”
* “Fear & Loathing”
* “Love Machine”
* “Sparks and Recreation”
* “Audrey Parker’s Day Off”
* “The Tides that Bind”
* “Friend or Faux”
* “Who, What, Where, Wendigo”
* “Business as Usual”
* “Sins of the Fathers”
* Christmas Episode: “Silent Night”
* Making of Featurettes
* Behind the Scenes Footage
* Interview with Adam “The Edge” Copeland
* Haven Panel from New York Comic Con
Season Two begins right where the previous season left off: Audrey and Nathan in a showdown with an FBI agent who claims to be the real Audrey Parker — Whoa! Haven is a police procedural, wrapped in a supernatural drama, inside a dark comedy, and makes for a varied experience from week to week.
Instead of the garden variety crimes normally found in police procedurals, Haven’s law enforcement officers are busy with crimes of a different sort. Such as a man who brings the 10 plagues of Exodus down on the heads of Havenites, simply by reading the biblical passage while grieving for his dead wife. Strange you say? Well how about this, the forest comes to life and drags its victims to their death? We also get flesh eating beings called Wendigos who inhabit this same forest (I would just stay out of the woods), and (my personal favorite) the “troubled” soul who has the town believing that Christmas comes in the summer and proceeds to turn Haven into a life size snow globe. To further complicate matters, the inhabitants of Haven begin vanishing, and after they’re gone, only Audrey remembers that they ever existed. Haven can’t even do Christmas right.
Audrey Parker has long since given up her FBI badge to remain in a town that might hold answers to her mysterious past. In fact, her connection to Haven is even more pronounced in Season Two. We know she’s been here before using the name Lucy Ripley, but has no memory of it, or of anyone named Lucy for that matter. Like her alter ego, however, she has a bond with the “troubled” of Haven, and is at opposition with forces who want to rid the town of these unusual folks, hoping their absence will free Haven from what they consider to be a curse.
Season Two continues down the quirky road which has garnered the show such a loyal following. The chemistry between Audrey, Nathan, and Duke — which was fabulous in the first year — is even stronger here. There’s a tight bond between the three because of the towns “troubles,” but the relationships are also complex, especially between childhood friends Nathan and Duke. The two have an unspoken respect for one another, and care about each other’s well being, but also possess a deep distrust that prevents them from having a real friendship. Mix in their mutual attraction for Audrey and you have one helluva triangle.
As each mystery unfolds, we are left with far more questions than answers, but this isn’t done in a manner that feels contrived. Haven is a far more clever show than that, and doesn’t need gimmicks to keep viewers coming back. The creators have not only developed interesting characters, but crafted a deep mythology that works smoothly within the confines of individual episodes while also arcing over the entire series. It’s a bit like life, where there are many specific instances that take center stage, but there is always one story at the center of it all.
My favorite characters are the most eccentric Havenites — brothers Vince and Dave Teague who run the local newspaper. They are the town’s defacto historians and caretakers of its secrets. The two are an integral part of Haven’s past, and possess answers they are usually unwilling to share. Like real brothers, they argue and annoy each other, but their banter is some of the funniest on the show.
As important as Audrey, Nathan, Duke, and the Teague brothers are to the show, the town of Haven is truly the main character. It seems to have a life of its own, almost the puppet master of the people who live there. “The Troubles” were always in Haven, even before the formation of the town, and yet people seem compelled to live there. Regardless of the bizarre and unexplained events which transpire on a regular basis, no one ever seems to leave — willingly, at least.
Presented in standard definition 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, the visuals showcase the beautiful Nova Scotia scenery which stands in for the picturesque state of Maine. The Dolby 5.1 Surround mix provides dialogue that is easy to hear, even during the exterior shots with the roar of the ocean in the background. Bonus feature include several audio commentaries that provide additional explanations of the shows story lines; six “making of” and five behind-the-scenes featurettes; a Guest Star Interview with Adam “The Edge” Copeland, the former WWE wrestler who has a recurring role as the town’s “Cleaner” Dwight; a Haven panel discussion from the New York Comic Con; and the eluded to Christmas episode, which is a bit of a reprieve from the show’s usual story arc.
It’s hard to sum up a show like Haven in a simple review. These storylines are interwoven with one another in a way that isn’t easy to extract. There is so much going on here, the only way to get the full experience is to buy this DVD and hunker down while you cruise through all 13 episodes. If you haven’t already picked up on my love for this show, and the novels of the author who spawned it, Haven is the rare kind of television that fully engages an audience; not just from episode-to-episode, but from season to season.
It does not trouble me to say, NOT GUILTY!
Haven: The Complete Second Season (DVD)
2012, E1 Entertainment, 572 minutes, NR (2012)
VIDEO: 1.78:1 AUDIO: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English), Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English) SUBTITLES: English (SDH)
EXTRAS:Bonus Episode, Commentaries, Featurettes, Interview, Q&A ACCOMPLICES: IMDB