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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Haven a respite for bad television



    This past Friday SyFy premiered a new series called Haven.  Inspired by the Stephen King novel "The Colorado Kid", the book concerns two old reporters telling and investigating an old mystery with a new young woman.  The two reporters were represented in the series, but the woman is now an F.B.I. agent with a different name.  The pilot, "Welcome to Haven", did not concern itself with the Colorado Kid mystery, but dropped a few hints that it would be a season-long plot thread.  Instead, they focused on an escaped convict killed by a local woman, Marion (Nicole de Boer, Star Trek: Deep Space 9, The Dead Zone), who could control the weather, but didn't know it.

     Normally, any film concept based on a Stephen King story is decent, if not fantastic.  However, Haven stands out as an absolute dud.  I try not to judge shows based on pilots, but this one was so bad that I will, because I don't think I could stomach another episode.  I do not object to the cast.  On the contrary.  The main woman, Audrey, is played by Emily Rose (Brothers & Sisters).  Also starring is Eric Balfour (24) as Duke Crocker, an obnoxious man who owns a boat, reads newspapers from the Far East, and is a thorn in the side for local law enforcement.  Both are wonderful actors, given better material.  Unfortunately, Haven doesn't give them much to work with.

     Besides the corny, disjointed writing, and bad special effects, the who just doesn't set up a believable world.  de Boer was terrible as Marion, her crying as disingenuous as I've ever seen, and I loved her on DS9.  The special effects were cheap.  A thick fog quickly descends over the town, but cars and trucks keep speeding along, instead of immediately slamming their brakes?  The roads routinely collapse because they're built on something too soft?  Why would anyone ever drive or go out in this town?  Neither of those plot devices worked at all.  Don't even get me started on Nathan (Lucas Bryant), the police office who can't feel pain and has daddy issues.  He is a flat, pat character, and I cannot see me rooting for him as a partner and love interest for Audrey.

     I wish I could say I found some glimmer of hope that future episodes might be better, but I didn't.  Thirteen episodes have been ordered, but the pilot is the only one I plan on watching.  Haven airs Friday nights at 10pm on SyFy.

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