Credit: Philippe Bosse/Syfy

The new Syfy channel’s identifying mood seems to be whimsy. Sure, Caprica is grandly grim in the manner of the former Sci-Fi network’s Battlestar Galactica, but the Syfy brand is more comfortable with shows like Eureka. Here and there, however, certain shows stand out. Among them are the second season of Warehouse 13 and the premiere of Haven, a series based on the Stephen King novella The Colorado Kid.

When Warehouse 13 debuted last season, I was put off by its ditzy tone and labeled its pilot episode ”an unholy cross between The X-Files, Bones, and Raiders of the Lost Ark.” But Warehouse improved as it went along. The adventures of Secret Service agents Pete Lattimer (Eddie McClintock) and Myka Bering (Joanne Kelly), when combined with the keeper of mystical artifacts Artie (Saul Rubinek), grew more riveting. And a ?ne villain played by Roger Rees was introduced.

The new season starts off with a bang, featuring a female incarnation of H.G. Wells (extra points for oddness right there) and what Pete refers to as ”a cool iron steampunky vest.” If the banter between Pete and Myka remains cutesy, Artie and his boss, CCH Pounder’s Mrs. Frederic, are gratifyingly intense. I also like the intelligent sullenness of Artie’s assistant, Claudia (Allison Scagliotti).

Haven trades on the government-agent-plus- unexplained-phenomena approach as well. The FBI’s Audrey Parker (Brothers & Sisters‘ Emily Rose) travels to Maine to investigate a murder in the tiny town of Haven. Aside from attractive local law enforcement in the form of police detective Nathan Wuornos (Queer as Folk‘s Lucas Bryant), she comes across a person who has the power to whip up hailstorms, vicious winds, and blinding fog when upset.

That’s just the premiere’s ?rst case, and at the end of it, you see where Haven is going: Agent Audrey is an orphan, but ?nds a decades-old photo in the archive of the local newspaper that contains the image of a woman who looks just like?Audrey. Is this her birth mother? Why was she assigned a case that brought her to this town and this coincidence?

Like a lot of TV in this genre, Haven has no coincidences. And like the heroes of Warehouse 13, Audrey seems fated to encounter many conspiracies and scares. The pilot doesn’t possess much Stephen King grit — in fact, it’s more like Syfy whimsy. But give it time; if Haven can become darker and more complex, as Warehouse 13 has, it could become fun summer sci-? TV. Warehouse 13: B Haven: C+

Warehouse 13
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