Sunday, February 12, 2017

Welcome to Haven!

by Pa Rock
TV Junkie

I first started getting to know the quirky inhabitants of Haven, Maine, while living on Okinawa a few years ago.   The Okinawans and Japanese have a strong appreciation of science fiction that goes at least back to Godzilla, and the television networks that catered to American residents presented a fine assortment of entertainment from the SYFY channel.

Haven, a fictional community, looks more like Santa Barbara, California, from the aerial views than it does a rugged Maine coastal town, but once the cameras are on the ground a sense of a typical New England fishing village takes over.  Haven, however, is far from typical.  Some of it's citizens, most of whom are basically good people, experience"troubles" which manifest themselves in strange ways.  There is one who can psychically push away people who invade his space.  Another resident of the town can't control his shadow which takes it upon itself to kill people.  There is a psychic fire starter, a person who causes things (and people) to explode when she touches them, another who can only speak in babbles, and one who causes people to switch bodies.  And then there are the animals who have been stuffed by a local taxidermist who reanimate and hunt down the people who killed them.

Haven is a community of oddballs that never fails to surprise - and, not surprisingly, it germinated in the mind of Stephen King.

The central character in the television series, Haven, is FBI Agent Audrey Parker (Emily Rose) who arrives in town while working a case.  There she meets the local lawman, Nathan Wuornos (Lucas Bryant) who befriends Parker and eventually becomes her love interest, and Duke (Eric Balfour), a self-styled "pirate" and saloon keeper who is also a bit of a charming criminal.  The three of them - Audrey, Nathan, and Duke - become the local force in identifying and bringing "troubled" people under control.

As Audrey becomes entangled in the problems of Haven, she gradually learns that she has been in Haven before - in past lives - and that she arrives every twenty-seven years just as the troubles begin expressing themselves.  She was there, in fact, twenty-seven years before when a young man known only as "the Colorado Kid" was murdered on a local beach.   And the young man, who was twenty-seven-years-old at the time of his death, had a connection to the previous incarnation of Audrey Parker.

It all gets a bit convoluted as the mythology surrounding Haven begins fleshing itself out.   There are complications involving time-travel, parallel worlds, and even a connection to the lost colony of Roanoke Island.  The final few episodes feature a Satanesque character by the name of "Croatoan" who is ably brought to life by science-fiction icon William Shatner.

The complete five seasons of Haven (78 episodes) are available on Netflix.  It is a series that needs to be viewed from the beginning in order for viewers to develop an understanding of the origin and impact of the troubles, the most significant aspect of life in Haven.  The town's strange nature is complex, but even so the stories flow smoothly and make sense - in a Stephen King sort of way.

Visitors are always welcome in Haven, Maine - and for those who like their troubles to be a bit more traditional, drive on up the coast to Cabot Cove, Maine, the murder capital of New England.  Fictional Maine is a lovely place!

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