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TV Review: Second Season of ‘Haven’ Premieres on SyFy

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CHICAGO – The first season of “Haven” (recently released on Blu-ray and DVD) ended with a number of cliffhangers and the new season picks up, literally, right where it left off with guns pulled and chaos imminent in the town of Haven. Sadly, it also picks up with a similarly frustrating level of quality. This is a show that just doesn’t click, whether it’s the awkward performances or unbelievable dialogue. I want to like “Haven” but it’s a town I just can’t recommend visiting.

HollywoodChicago.com Television Rating: 1.0/5.0
Television Rating: 1.0/5.0

SyFy is obsessed with magical locations and builds shows around them, whether they’re “Eureka,” “Warehouse 13,” or the town of “Haven.” Based very loosely on Stephen King’s “The Colorado Kid,” “Haven” centers on an FBI Agent Audrey Parker (Emily Rose) who travels to the titular town in Maine only to discover that it makes Twin Peaks look downright normal. Not only is Haven an unusual place but Audrey has a mysterious history with the town. At the end of last season, FBI Agent Parker met a woman on the beach who also claimed to be Agent Parker. This happened just after Nathan’s (Lucas Bryant) dad, the Chief of Police, exploded on the beach. Not only does the new season of “Haven” pick up with the immediate aftermath of those two events but it finds time for fountains of blood to come out of lawn sprinklers and a “Magnolia”-esque rain of frogs before the credits even roll. This is a weird show.

Haven
Haven
Photo credit: SyFy

But not weird enough. There’s a personality, an edge that’s missing from “Haven.” It’s in no small part due to the casting of some incredibly dull leads, especially Emily Rose, who very rarely feels engaged in the moment. She’s just not believable and she’s missing the screen charisma needed to carry a show about a town of supernatural wonders. Bryant isn’t much more engaging (although he’s getting better) and Eric Balfour doesn’t seem to fit his part. Even small roles on “Haven” feel miscast.

Of course, when that’s the case, when there’s a lack of believability across an entire program, one has to blame the people behind the scenes. The writing on “Haven” is the worst on the SyFy network right now outside of the SyFy Original Movies, and most of those are intentionally bad. “Haven” takes itself seriously and still doesn’t work. Even the direction feels pedestrian. The pacing is just never right on this show.

I had some issues with the Monday night line-up that recently debuted on SyFy, giving a positive review to only one of the three shows (“Warehouse 13”), but I’d take either of my negatives from that night (“Alphas” or “Eureka”) over “Haven,” a show that I’m truly surprised even earned a second season. If SyFy is going to figure out what’s next for this struggling network, they should think twice about giving it a third.

The complete first season was recently released by Entertainment One on four Blu-ray discs, totaling 572 minutes. Special features include twelve audio commentaries with cast & crew, three exclusive making-of featurettes, six behind-the-scenes video blogs, additional interview, and a season two writers’ room sneak peek.

“Haven” returns to SyFy on July 15th, 2011 at 9pm CST. It stars Emily Rose, Lucas Bryant, and Eric Balfour. The first season was released on Blu-ray and DVD on June 14th, 2011.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

Lu's picture

Mmmmhhhh

Obviously we’re not watching the same Haven…

Lindsey's picture

What?????????

Your review of this show is much too harsh. In my opinion it’s extremely creative and a step up from all those rip-off crime/cop procedurals that have begun popping up everywhere. Finally there’s something fresh on T.V. and all people can do is bash it because it doesn’t follow the usual mode.
This show is interesting and engaging and I hope for it to continue well on into the future. If you don’t like it then don’t watch it. Just go back to watching reality T.V. and the other idiotic brain draining crap that’s out there for you to watch.

Lu's picture

I totally agree.

I totally agree.

Kid Icarus's picture

I like Emily Rose and Eric

I like Emily Rose and Eric Balfour, and I watch Haven knowing fully well it’s one of the worst-written shows on primetime TV right now. The plots are nonsensical but then quickly resolved. And other than the main characters, no one else seems to notice all the supernatural crap that’s going on right in their own backyard. There’s some legitimate mystery with who Audrey is, but the show stumbles over itself getting there (like the one reporter mentioning how he knew Lucy out of the blue, or the awkward exposition by a character to point out something that was on Lucy’s foot so Audrey could find it on her own foot). The writing is just really sloppy.

mgl's picture

Huh. Different strokes for

Huh. Different strokes for different folks I guess. I think the show is enjoyable, and —after the locale— I like the dry delivery and understated personalities of the leads in particular. I agree that Balfour is miscast, but that’s become less glaringly so.

I definitely don’t think this is Syfy’s worst show. Enjoyable little genre show, in my opinion.

laura's picture

I completely disagree

The primary reason I am so inlove with this show is the cast. Emily, Eric, and especially Lucas are why I mke sure not to miss an episode of this unique and beautifully done show.

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