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Haven
Reviewed by Dodger Winslow, © 2010

Format: TV
By:   Scott Shepherd (showrunner)
Genre:   Mystery & sci-fi
Review Date:   August 25, 2010
RevSF Rating:   8/10 (What Is This?)

If you're not watching Haven on SyFy, you are missing out. This is one kick-ass show. The dialog is awesome, the cast is even better, and the show, over-all, is a flat-out hoot. In simplest terms, it's a horror version of Eureka.

It has Supernatural level interactive stars that are 1000 percent dedicated to showing and getting FanLove, to a degree that I think Eric Balfour may actually be Supernatural's Misha Collins, but off drugs.

A couple of quick instances of random, sly dialog wonderfulness:

(While investigating a case where a man's limbs bend contrary to the laws of anatomy (accompanied by wonderfully gross FX crunchy sounds), Audrey, who has really started to grok the "troubles" thing of a town where nothing that happens has a rational explanation, discusses potential explanations with Nathan, her partner and a Haven local who's lived with "the troubles" his whole life.)

Audrey: One minute.

Nathan: One minute what?

Audrey: One minute to get all the normal explanations out of the way. Sudden-onset acute osteoporosis? I don't think so.

Another exchange, after the coroner, who is a freaking awesome female version of Supernatural's Bobby Singer, and who is wheeling the bendy man to the hospital despite that she's the coroner and he's still alive (small towns: gotta love em!) has winked at Audrey to indicate yes, this is another one of those crazy Haven cases.

Audrey: And besides, she winked at me.

Nathan: She winked at you?

Audrey: There was winkage.


Here's the moment from the pilot where I first thought, hey, we've got a live one here. Audrey and Nathan first met, and had both pulled guns and stood pointing them at each other in a John Woo standoff:

Audrey: Audrey Parker, FBI. Who are you'

Nathan: Nathan Wuornos, Haven PD. Who are you?

Audrey: Audrey Parker, FBI. are you deaf?


Eric Balfour has finally found his proper vehicle as Duke, a charming rogue pirate/ smuggler who was once Nathan's best friend and is now Nathan's most reviled rival. He's got the right mix of nefarious and noble to make this character work, and it doesn't hurt that he's got a killer smile and is hot enough to cause spontaneous combustion right there on the water.

Emily Rose has nailed the perfect female cop as Audrey Parker. I don't think I've bonded to a female TV character this hard since ever. Maybe Faith and / or Aeryn Sun. MAYBE.

I like her so damn much that I don't even mind her being the pivot man in the lovey triangle between Duke and Nathan, particularly not since they are now tweaking that to a best friend dynamic between her and Nathan, leaving the smoochy eyes for her and Duke.

Lucas Bryant as Nathan was the weak link for me because he's got the broody hero role, and that rarely works for me. But Lucas makes it work. A recent episode showed how capable he is of playing a broody man as unlikeable and a real pain-in-the-ass to those who care for him.

My biggest issue with broody heroes, such as Angel, is they can come off as if the broody is an affectation because they're cool enough to be cool. But here, it's the more realistic, interesting, and complex dynamic that their broody selves make them guys you'd kick to the curb in real life because they're a serious pain in the ass in ways that are NOT cool.

Lucas is hitting the sweet spot here, making Nathan's broody both cool- appealing and stick-in-the-mud irritating at the same time. The unvarnished and unrelenting friendship / hate dynamic he's got going on with Duke is absolutely the draw of the whole series. It looks like both actors are up to taking that the distance without rendering Audrey irrelevant.

Nick Campbell is flat-out brilliant as Nathan's dad, the chief of police. He's a perfect Stephen King character perfectly portrayed. The only downside to him is he's not onscreen enough.

The coroner is a wonderfully female turn on the Bobby Singer archetype and she's got a grip on it the way Jim Beaver has a grip on Bobby. There are a couple of journalist brothers who'd give the Lone Gunmen a run for their money in the supporting cast category.

So serious, y'all. If you're not tuning into the SyFy channel on Friday to catch Haven, you are missing out on the next Supernatural or X-Files or Eureka. This is that good. The cast and writers are capable of taking this one all the way to genre Nirvana.


Dodger Winslow has also got the right mix of nefarious and noble.

For full episodes and other Haven stuff, go to the Syfy's Haven site.

For a second opinion on Haven, go right here.. RevolutionSF offers full nerd service.


 
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