Stephen King is an amazing author to read, but I have to hand it to television and movie producers: Adapting King's work is probably one of the toughest jobs to do.
The beauty of King is that his words allow you to create pictures and scenarios in your mind that is almost unique to every single reader. Efforts to capture that on camera can go from amazing -- like "The Stand" -- to head-scratching, like "Kingdom Hospital" (although that was based on a Danish television series that King helped adapt for American audiences).
"Haven," which premieres on Syfy July 9, seems to fall right in the middle of those two distinctions. For now, at least.
Agent Audrey Parker, played by Emily Rose of "Jericho" fame, is sent to Haven, Maine, to investigate some strange occurrences there. She meets up with a local police detective, Nathan Wuornos (Lucas Bryant) and a shrimper who has trouble staying out of trouble Duke Crocker (Eric Balfour). After creating what looks like an uneasy team, Parker realizes her connection with the small town runs deeper than she ever imagined it would, and decides to stick around -- at least for a little while -- to investigate it, while more crazy things pop up.
Because this is work based on King, the characters are introduced to us almost as if we've met them before, which is the beauty of his writing. Wuornos seems to be a detective only because his father is the police chief, and really didn't take it too seriously until Parker shows up. Crocker is more of a free spirit, who doesn't seem to care what people think of him, but still has a big heart in getting to do what's right.
And there are a bunch of secondary characters that are just fabulous, especially the owners of the local newspaper who seem to show up at the most inopportune times, bringing news that maybe the characters don't want to hear. Their mannerisms are classic King, and you have to wonder where exactly the real life models are for these characterizations.
The story in the premiere, about a Haven resident who can control the weather (a la Storm from The X-Men franchise) is a good one to start out with, and there are enough twists and turns in the story to make you wonder how it will turn out. And that makes the show fun.
But it also makes it a lot like another popular Syfy show, "Eureka." There, we have another wacky town where an outsider comes in and becomes an investigator. While "Eureka" might be more on the comedy side than drama, it's hard not to draw comparisons between the two shows, which can be a bit concerning for a network that is trying to introduce a wide variety of show types in the genre.
And while "Eureka" is an amazing show, it still isn't something presented by Stephen King, so that wil definitely separate the two, especially when it comes to the style of characters.
However, that does bring us to one character that just seems out of place. Audrey Parker seems interesting enough, especially with what we learn from her in the pilot. But I have a hard time picturing Emily Rose in the role.
Don't get me wrong, I think Rose is a tremendous actress. I loved her in "Jericho," and I've watched and enjoyed her in other projects like "Brothers & Sisters" and even "John From Cincinnati." However, I just feel that playing an FBI agent of this style just doesn't work.
During this week's Alpha Waves Radio, our Alpha Waves Rewind host Tony Tellado told me that he enjoyed Rose as Agent Parker, and it might just take a little getting used to is all.
And he's right. Rose has never disappointed us in the past, and even if I'm uncomfortable with her in this series right now, she needs to be given a chance to grow. At the same time, I think "Haven" deserves a chance to grow.
So check out the premiere tonight, and see how at least the next few episodes unfold before coming to any major conclusions. The production team is almost identical to the one on the former USA Network series "The Dead Zone," and so they have a track record of success. And maybe with the right attention to the right details, "Haven" can be an amazing success for Syfy as well.
"Haven" premieres July 9 at 10 p.m. ET on Syfy.
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