Since I was reading Stephen King’s book on writing and was planning to write a paranormal mystery set in an odd little town, I got in the mood to re-watch Haven. This was a series on SyFy starting in 2010 that was very loosely based on Stephen King’s book The Colorado Kid. A slightly different version of the events in the book is the backstory for the TV series.
I’ve described this series as “Northern Exposure meets The X-Files.” An FBI agent gets sent to a small town in Maine on a case, and once she gets there, she discovers that the town is full of secrets, including people with odd abilities, and the town may be the key to learning about her own mysterious past. It starts as more of a paranormal procedural, with a case of the week involving the strange abilities, but it gradually becomes more arc-centric, as we learn more about the history and abilities of the FBI agent and what it has to do with the town, and there are also various factions in the town.
The budget for this show was apparently the change they found in their sofa cushions (when I met one of the writers and mentioned loving the series, he apologized), but it holds up pretty well, and I think they did really well with the resources they had. The writing is rather strong, and they managed to avoid a lot of tropes. The FBI agent doesn’t come into the small town with smug superiority, and the local cops work with her rather than treating her like an outsider, unlike almost any cop show in which a fed comes to a small town. She gets along really well with the local cop who ends up becoming her partner. They have disagreements at times, but they don’t fall into the obvious dualities, like her being the believer and him being the skeptic or him being by the books and her being a loose cannon. The positions they take in each case depend on the situation they’re dealing with, so any arguments are different in each episode rather than an ongoing retread of the same old thing.
It’s never really too intense or scary for wimpy me, though it can get creepy. I’d say it’s fun scary, the sort of thing to watch with the lights out and some candles for atmosphere. There’s a nice bit of humor and gorgeous scenery. Mostly, though, I love the characters. I’ve jokingly referred to it as “Katie and Owen become small-town cops in Maine” because the two main characters are similar to mine. Audrey, the main character, is snarky, mostly level-headed, has a lot of common sense, and seems to be immune to the freaky stuff that happens in the town. Nathan, the local guy who becomes her partner, is shy and a little nerdy while also being really bright and extremely capable.
It looks like it’s streaming on Netflix. I’ve got all the DVDs, but I haven’t watched them in ages and I’m having fun with this rewatch. I’m also getting ideas for what I want to do with the small town I’m creating. I’d love to be able to create a similar character vibe.