Every Small Town Has Its Secrets
I've always sort of had a love/hate relationship with the works of Stephen King, ever sense a random encounter with him in Bangor Maine left me seeing him for what I'm assuming is who he really is, its funny, there are times that regardless of the bitter taste that encounter left with me, I can not help but be in awe of his creative brilliance and his way of telling a story, but there are also times I just can not stand him or how contrived some of his work turns out to be, I tend to be more critical on his television work, believing that his written for film scripts, and books adapted for film are all pretty good, I mean there is no way you can hate The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption, The Shining, Stand By Me, ect, they're all classics, but when it comes to television, thats where his work sometimes breaks down, at one end, you have things like IT and The Stand and Kingdom Hospital, or The Dead Zone tv series which were all amazing and brilliant, but sometimes you end up with Nightmares and Dreamscapes or Storm Of The Century, or horrible abortion of airwaves that tried to cast Bronson Pinchoe fresh off playing completely shit character Balkey Bartakamus on Perfect Strangers, in a serious role, I still have nightmares about that.
Thankfully for all of us, Stephen's newest project, the sci fi series Haven, falls into the catagory of greatness, which delights me to no end, simply because I hated Nightmares and Dreamscapes and have been waiting for a good sci fi series to replace the television version of The Dead Zone, which I'm still upset was canceled with out warning afew years back. Haven combines alot of the elements that are predominate and King's work; a small town in Maine that is far away from the big cities and holds lots of deep dark secrets just under the surface, people with strange and mysterious powers that no one can explain, but everyone seems to not be shocked by or fear them because of, a wise young cop that understands and adapts to keeping law and order regardless of the people in his town and what they can do, the mysterious stranger who rolls into town looking for something, then ends up staying to solve a bigger mystery about themselves, and the town itself, the confusing and dark loner that operates on both the good and bad sides of the mysterious ways of the small town, and ofcourse the oddities that are small town people with out powers or anything like that of Maine. Haven's got them all, and they are all played brilliantly, its rare that a show gets cast perfectly, let alone is acted perfectly too, this series really is a small bit of gold in a bleak and drab world, just as it portrays.
Haven is based on King's book "The Colorado Kid", and tells the story of Audrey Parker, and FBI agent thats not above looking outside the textbook for the answer that'll solve a case, in the opening scene of the pilot she's mockingly referenced to be like Fox Maulder of The X-Files, believing there is always a possibility that the answer could be outside the realm of conventional belief and at times something paranormal. Her boss both loves and hates this about her, he sends her to Haven, a small fishing town in northern Maine to retrieve an escaped fugitive, only to first discover that the man was killed by means of something appearing to be supernatural, but eventually when handed a picture by the brothers that run the local newspaper, discovers that her mother, who left her at an orphanage where she was raised in state care till she was 18 years old, might have actually been in Haven many years ago, wanting to find out who her mother was, and why she was in Haven, she eventually agrees to join the Haven police force in hopes of researching and talking to the locals and maybe finding some clues to her mother, or atleast some link the family she never knew was out there. While she is in Haven, Audrey is paired up with local cop Nathan Wournos, the son of town's police chief and has a rare medical condition that does not allow him to feel pain, other then that he's your stereotypical small town cop, he knows everyone and everyone knows him, and the only person he doesn't really like is the other main character of the show, local shady fishing boat owner Duke Crocker, whom he not only sees as a rival when it comes to Audrey, but apparently has always been at odds with him, at one point Nathan actually states the only way Duke is gonna die would be when he kills him himself. Most cases seem to involve the three of them in some form or another, though its to early in the series to tell how just yet, well unless you've read the book, but thats cheating!
The series is rather good as a whole, sure people will draw connections to other shows or recent years, it does have a sort of X-Files/Fringe vibe to it, and it is sort of Eureka meets Heroes in another way, but as I've said many times, sometimes its best to just let your mind stop over analyzing things and just enjoy it, because sometimes you accidentally ruin a good show by comparing it to other things out there, which judging by the feedback I've read on the net seems to be happening. Plus, how can you hate on a show thats got the great John Dunsworth in his first american television role as a newspaper owner and reporter, not so long after playing the great Jim Lahey on the canadian cult series Trailer Park Boys. Can't ask for more then that. Haven is a fun and smart mix of sci fi, comedy, drama, and offbeat, that if you give it a chance, will become a favorite of yours in no time. The beautiful locations that truly feel like they could be any small town in northern Maine, that you just happen to be driving into with out realizing it, and the townsfolk really do look and act like the kind people you would find in Maine's small fishing towns, even if they all seem to have some strange special power or another, it really was an enjoyment to watch, and I for for hope it lasts for awhile.