CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.
TV Review: Second Season of ‘Haven’ Premieres on SyFy
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.
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.
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.