Haven – The Stephen King version of the X-Men

I am a binge watcher.  I like watching multiple episodes of a tv series.  In fact, I hate waiting for new episodes.  It’s like reading a novel – I don’t really like reading a chapter a week, I want to read the whole thing over a weekend.  I get serialized entertainment is good for the company producing it as it stretches the profits over a longer time frame, but as a consumer, I like having a nice, big chunk to sink my teeth into.  This is why I love my Netflix, especially when they get series like Haven.

For those who don’t know, Haven is a tv series on the ridiculously named Sy Fy channel (seriously, guys…seriously).  It’s loosely based on Stephen King’s The Colorado Kid.  What I mean by “loosely based” is that the Colorado Kid is a character in the show, and the events in the book are sort of involved, but the series is heavy on the supernatural element where the book has almost nothing supernatural in it.  The series is about a former FBI agent, Audrey Parker, who discovers that Haven is filled with “Troubles” and she isn’t who she thinks she is.

The main point of the series is that people in Haven can become “Troubled”, and it usually flows through a bloodline, with children inheriting the same Trouble as their parents.  The Troubled have abilities that are sometimes fairly benign, like main character Nathan’s inability to feel pain, to highly dangerous, like the artist whose drawings become reality, or the girl who appears as everyone’s worst fear when they look at her.  If both of those sound familiar, it’s because they’re twists on the plots of Insomnia and IT, and there are other references to King’s works in the series (including The Tommyknockers, which takes place in Haven but isn’t mentioned in the series).

Audrey and Nathan, the two main characters, along with Han Solo…er…I mean, Duke, the lovable scoundrel, help deal with the Troubled citizens, which usually involves Audrey talking to them and then some sort of means of keeping them from hurting folks, like putting the blind man with a living shadow that kills people into a perfectly dark house until the Troubles are over – which could be several years.  The normal citizens of the town mostly line up behind The Rev, Reverend Driscoll of a local church and town elder.  He hates the afflicted, and believes they are God’s punishment for the sins of Haven.  Because Haven is such a hotbed of sin…uh…yeah.  Religious zealots aren’t supposed to make sense, so don’t sweat it too much.

The funny thing is, by the end of the second season, you have a perfectly set up version of the X-Men.  The Troubled are the mutants, the Rev and his followers are very, very similar to William Stryker and his followers (the original Stryker, from God Loves, Man Kills, not the movie version).  Audrey is basically the Jean Grey analog, Nathan is Cyclops (daddy issues and all!) and Duke is…well, Wolverine sort of.  Or Gambit maybe.  The point is, they very neatly fill the roles of Marvel’s mutant superheroes, but in a Stephen King style.  The Troubled just want to live their lives and wait for the Troubles to end.  The Rev’s folks want to kill them and end the Troubles for good.  The X-Men…er…Audrey, Nathan and Duke, are stuck in the middle.  You even get a Magneto-esq group, The Guard, who protect and look out for the Troubled!

If you haven’t given this series a look, I recommend it.  It’s a little slow going, but it’s worth getting past the generic “Trouble of the week” episodes to get to the meat of the story, which happens about the middle of season two.  If you’re a King fan, like me, there’s plenty of little references (Derry, a little boy in a yellow raincoat chasing a paper boat along a storm drain, etc.) to make it worth it.


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