Last night, the cult favorite Eureka began a new season, and Haven, based on a Stephen King novel, debuted. These two Syfy series are more fantasy than sci-fi, and had contrasting tones.
Haven took a government-agent-plus-unexplained-phenomena approach. The FBI’s Audrey Parker (Emily Rose) came to Maine to investigate a murder. She found much more in the tiny town of Haven. Aside from cute local law enforcement in the form of police detective Nathan Wuornos (Lucas Bryant), she encountered a genial, slightly sinister fellow played by Eric Balfour (aside from 24, will this frequently-cast TV actor ever land in another hit?), and a woman who possesses the power to whip up hailstorms, vicious winds, and blinding fog when she’s upset.
At the end of the first hour, you saw (vaguely) where Haven is going: Agent Audrey is an orphan, but discovered a decades-old photo in the archive of the local newspaper. It contained the image of a woman who looks just like Audrey. Is this her mother? Audrey herself? Why was she assigned a case that brought her to this town and this coincidence?
Like a lot of TV in this genre, there are no coincidences. Like the heroes of another Syfy series, Warehouse 13, Audrey seems fated to have lots of mysteries, conspiracies, and scares. The pilot didn’t possess much of the gritty or bleak-humor Stephen King style to be found in most of his work, including the novel from which Haven was extracted, The Colorado Kid. In fact, it was more whimsical, like the show it preceded, Eureka. But I’m going to give it time. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad — I want to watch how Haven complicates itself. Maybe Haven will become something more complex and involving than it seemed from this opening episode.
As for Eureka, the little town that’s home to many geniuses had a new one to introduce: Dr. Grant, played by Battlestar Galactica‘s James Callis. The season opener revolved around Eureka’s Founder’s Day celebration, but soon took a turn… backward, into the 1940s.
Grant is a physicist who, once the time-traveling settled down, became, among other things, a rival to Colin Ferguson’s Sheriff Jack Carter for the affections of Allison. The hour featured something rare on television: An episode that transported its characters back in time (to 1947) without making them interact awkwardly with historical figures or look foolish in period costumes. Four seasons on, Eureka seems in no danger of losing its gossamer charm.
What did you think of Eureka and Haven?