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Haven: The Complete First Season - Blu-ray Review

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Haven - The COmplete First Season

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3 Stars

Imagine a coastal town where the impossible becomes the possible; where the strange becomes normal everyday occurrences.  It’s a twisted world inspired by the wicked imagination of Stephen King and The Dead Zone creators Sam Ernst and Jim Dunn.  Welcome to Haven, Syfy’s tribute to the weird; the wacky; the wild; and the strange.  It’s a town full of what the locals refer to as Troubles.  Some Troubles are laced with black humor, some are demented; most are intriguing enough to garner an avid following from fans of The X-Files and Millennium still looking for their science fiction fix.

FBI Special Agent Audrey Parker (Emily Rose) arrives in the small town of Haven, Maine but her routine case starts with an unexpected crack in the ground that forces her off the road.  It seems Haven might not want her hanging around.  Aided by Nathan Wuornos (Lucas Bryant) of the local police department, she finds herself increasingly involved in a plague of supernatural afflictions.

The locals call them The Troubles.  And they’ve been here before.

With an openness to the possibility of the paranormal, Parker discovers that even individuals are gifted with scientifically impossible or extremely rare afflictions.  Some can’t feel pain, some aged rapidly, and some are just downright strange.  Parker begins to realize that her arrival in Haven may have been planned and that even her name might not be her own.  Aided and sometimes hindered by smuggler Duke Crocker (Eric Balfour), Parker and Wuornos work tirelessly to attempt to understand the strange happenings in the mysterious town of Haven.

Inspired by King’s novella The Colorado Kid, this American/Canadian co-production starts out with a scope that opens slowly while the dry humor of its female lead and the other quirks of the main characters are established in a town that God seems to have forgotten about.  Haven, Maine (but really Nova Scotia) is a quaint fishing village but its charming surface is only a cover for the weird and twisted that haunts the town like a vengeful spirit.  From cops to ex-cons, no person is unaffected and, as is eventually revealed, this just might end up with one generation attacking another as the truth about The Troubles are being guarded by the old of the town.

If it sounds a bit like its roommates on Syfy, well, it is and it isn’t.  It’s as if Eureka met Warehouse 13 and they gave birth to a baby with an encyclopedic knowledge of everything Stephen King.  That being said, part of the fun of watching the show comes from catching the many King references dropped and alluded to throughout every episode.  Most aren’t mentioned; they are in the fine details.  Honestly, with repeat viewings, Haven, both as a town and as a show, plays more and more like Twin Peaks filmed through a paranormal lens.

The thirteen episodes – some a bit spotty and some that pack a huge bang - that make up Haven’s first season eventually reveal a bigger picture that is deserving of its continued renewal.  Haven should not be a problem if you like inviting, lived-in mysteries with quirky characters in a pleasant setting.

{2jtab: Film Details}

Haven - The COmplete First SeasonMPAA Rating: This title has not been rated by the MPAA.
Runtime:
572 mins.
Cast:
Emily Rose; Lucas Bryant; Eric Balfour; Nicholas Campbell
Genre
: Drama| Supernatural | Sci-fi
Tagline:
The Haven
Distributor:
Entertainment One | Syfy Channel
Release Date:
July 9, 2010
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: June 14, 2011

Synopsis: When FBI Special Agent Audrey Parker (Emily Rose) arrives in the small town of Haven, Maine, on a routine case, she soon finds herself increasingly involved in the return of The Troubles, a plague of supernatural afflictions that occurred in the town at least once before. With an openness to the possibility of the paranormal, she also finds a more personal link in Haven that may lead her to the mother she has never known.

Parker begins to realize that her arrival in Haven may have been planned and that her name and even her memories may not be her own. As the series progresses, she learns more about the mystery of both Haven and her true identity.

She and her partner Nathan Wuornos find themselves frequently facing problems caused by both the effects of the Troubles, as well as town folk who take more drastic measures against the Troubled.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

Haven - The COmplete First Season

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
3 Stars

4 stars



Blu-ray Experience
3.5 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - June 14, 2011
Screen Formats: 1.78:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Four-disc set (4 BDs)

Presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Entertainment One with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.78:1, Haven is incredibly scenic and crisp. Aerial establishing shots of Nova Scotia and other exterior shots are some of the sharpest and most appealing sequences every put on blu-ray. I imagine this is great for Canada’s tourist business. Digital grain does have a tendency to crop up in dark sequences and while an overall filtered disposition pulls the visual flow down in some places, the transfer shouldn’t disappoint its fans. Accurate flesh tones and contrasted textures look smart throughout the presentation. Of course, as this is a Syfy production, the CGI gets a bit soft at times, but the quirk of the show masks this well. Colors pop well and crush is at a minimum. The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix that kisses each episode is pretty substantial for a weekly television broadcast and the tracks are loaded with nice surround sound, even if you have to pump the volume to catch the distribution of the some of the front-loaded dialogue.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Leave it to Syfy to show the big boys how it’s done. Thirteen episodes and ten commentaries, a couple of which have TWO commentaries, provide a great listening experience for fans of Stephen King and the show. Some of the commentaries – provided by cast and series producers Lloyd Segan, Sean Piller, Sam Ernst, Jim Dunn, Eric Balfour, Lucas Bryant, and Emily Rose – get a bit crowded but remain fun nevertheless. The quieter ones with only two or three commentators are more directed and loaded with great information.  Regardless, when a series comes to blu-ray, this is how it should be handled.

Special Features:

With most of the bonus material located on Disc Four, Haven comes loaded with three featurettes, a glimpse at the writing process for its Second Season, video blogs, and cast interviews.  It’s a nice collection that features great looks at the mythology of the series, its locations, and some of the technical aspects that just might make this series more memorable than ABC’s Lost.  Yeah, I went there.

  • Welcome to Haven (18 min)
  • VFX of Haven (5 min)
  • Mythology of Haven (6 min)
  • Behind the Scenes Video Blogs (20 min)
  • Cast Interviews (7 min)
  • Season Two Writers' Room Sneak Peek (5 min)

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