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Haven: The Complete Fourth Season(TV) (2013)
This series follows the shrewd and confident FBI agent Audrey Parker who has a lost past, when she arrives at the small town of Haven, Maine on a routine case. Before long, her natural curiosity lands her in the epicenter of activity in this curious enclave, which turns out to be a longtime refuge for people that are affected by a range of supernatural afflictions. As the townspeople's dormant abilities begin to express themselves, Audrey helps keep these forces at bay while discovering the many secrets of Haven - including one surrounding her own surprising connections to this extraordinary place.
For more about Haven: The Complete Fourth Season and the Haven: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray release, see Haven: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on August 30, 2014 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Emily Rose, Lucas Bryant, Eric Balfour, Richard Donat, John Dunsworth
» See full cast & crew
Haven: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray Review
If "the troubles" are truly just beginning, we're all in trouble.
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, August 30, 2014
Have you ever had a relative with an affinity for daytime soap operas? Or would you perhaps confess under duress to watching them yourself? I've stayed largely immune from the format, but when I was growing up my maternal grandmother would pay at least one visit a year, and my sisters and I were always on permanent warning not to bother her in the afternoons, when she watched her "stories". This got to be a joke as we got older, and one year I commented on how though my grandmother was now visiting us a good twelve months after her last trip, barely a day had passed on The Secret Storm or Days of Our Lives, or whatever it is she was watching. And that's a truism about this particular idiom—a supposed day long celebration like Christmas can take weeks on a typical soap opera. There's a certain irony, then, that as Haven kicks off its soap operatic fourth season, Duke (Eric Balfour) feels like he was in the bizarre multidimensional barn where the third season ended for only a few seconds, while it turns out once he gets disgorged from the imploding building, he was declared missing and dead six months previously. Time may be flying for Duke, but for many viewers of Haven, this show is going to be an increasingly turgid slog. The sad thing is, there are some really excellent elements at the core of Haven, and admittedly this season does advance the central mythology significantly. But there's so much hyperbolic stupidity surrounding the premise that Haven can be downright maddening. This is a series that resolutely wants to end every scene before a commercial break with some ostensible cliffhanger (a tendency which is only amped up in any given episode's finale). There's also an increasingly annoying habit for the writers to simply stick a gun in a character's hands (or several characters' hands), have them threaten someone for a minute, and then just back down, willy nilly. Haven may be struggling to maintain contact with its Stephen King roots, but it may be time for Audrey's long, winding road toward figuring who (or what) she is to come to a close.
For those wanting to get up to speed on the Haven story thus far, our reviews of previous seasons can be found here:
Haven: The Complete First Season Blu- ray review
Haven: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray review
Haven: The Complete Third Season Blu- ray review
Anyone who has stuck through Haven thus far is already aware that Audrey (Emily Rose) isn't Audrey—or at least, isn't just Audrey. Actual answers started to be forthcoming toward the end of the third season, but in a maddening conceit that is oddly reminiscent of another Canadian SyFy outing, Lost Girl: Season 4, she's missing as the fourth season gets underway. Duke starts the season in trouble with the law (what else is new?), although in this case it's for something beyond his control—the barn spits him out into an aquarium tank at Boston's equivalent of Sea World, and that gets him placed on a psych hold at the local hospital with an angry policeman not buying his story that he's a man who was declared dead six months ago.
One of three new recurring characters soon shows up, a young woman named Jennifer Mason (Emma Lahana) who has telepathically heard the conversations that Audrey and Duke were having in the barn. That leads Duke to believe that Jennifer may be able to help find Audrey. Despite her misgivings, she helps Duke break out of the hospital and the two high tail it back to Haven, where they find out Nathan (Lucas Bryant) is no longer police chief and in fact is earning money by letting local toughs take a swing at him for $20. While all of this is playing out, we get a series of increasingly annoying interstitials which feature Audrey—or at least Emily Rose—as a "new" character named Lexie, who is a kind of downtrodden single woman working at a bar. A mysterious stranger named William (Colin Ferguson) arrives and makes nice with the girl, but it ultimately becomes evident that he's no mere innocent passerby.
Again, much like Lost Girl, Haven meanders through four or five episodes with Audrey "missing", while Duke, Nathan and Jennifer try to get to the bottom of other troubles afflicting Haven, but then William alerts Lexie to the fact that she has a rather "varied" past, while also making her aware that she isn't really in a bar (hey, barn is only one letter different, so there's an excuse). At this point, to no one's surprise, Lexie is reunited with the old Haven team, though she does not seem to realize she is (or at least was) Audrey. And the troubles just keep a-comin', one (or more) per episode.
Haven still has an enticing enough central mystery and mythology, but more and more the writers are wasting the good will they've generated at least through the first two seasons, and probably partially through the third. Over and over again absolutely ridiculous "crises" arise at commercial breaks which are then miraculously solved upon the show's return. Case in point: a troubled woman (actually a "returnee") is causing weather anomalies all over Haven. When Nathan confronts her, she turns viciously to him and snarls, "This is all because of you, Nathan Wuornos," as a sheet of ice creeps dangerously close to our hero. Blackout and ostensible commercial break. Upon the show's return, her threatening demeanor is totally gone, she's more of a hysterical basket case due to her lover having died (the real reason for her troubles reemerging) and Nathan is about as healthy as you could expect for someone withstanding subzero temperatures. It's just flat out silly and it underestimates the audience in a debilitating way.
While disappointing and even frustrating at times, Haven still manages to entertain when it isn't driving viewers crazy with its manifold hyperbolism. The season actually comes to a nice close in the final episode, which offers Emily Rose yet another character to essay, one who may finally provide the backstory that fans of the show have been craving for some time. There's a kind of curious similarity to Lost in some of the elements introduced here, with an ancient struggle between good and evil playing itself out as personified by two characters. Of course many think that Lost went seriously off the rails as it wended its way toward its endgame. I'm more certain than ever that Haven Bay has a resident population of sharks and that unfortunately Audrey, Lexie, Mara and whoever else Rose gets to portray may have finally jumped them.
Haven: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray, Video Quality
Haven is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Entertainment One with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.78:1. As is nicely detailed in one of the copious supplements on this four disc set, Haven is one of the increasingly few series being shot on 35mm film, and previous seasons have benefited from the texture and depth that that medium affords. This season however is often curiously soft and ill defined, with lackluster contrast and a less than vivid palette. Close-ups fare best here, with good to very good fine detail, but I personally was kind of surprised by how ill defined a lot of episodes this season were. As with previous seasons, the CGI is a mixed bag, often looking even softer than the bulk of the presentation. There are no major compression artifacts or other anomalies to cause worry.
Haven: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Haven's lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track follows in the fine tradition of previous seasons of the show. When troubles descend upon Haven, with things like storms, explosions or even the dissolution of burned bodies, there are frequently very vivid and realistic sound effects spilling through the surround channels. Dialogue is cleanly and clearly presented, and everything is very well prioritized. Fidelity is excellent and dynamic range very wide in this problem free track.
Haven: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Note: This release also comes with a little comic book that features a treatment of the Mara character in the season finale and her backstory.
Haven: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Haven's core story is great, but the writers for this series keep engaging in silly gimmicks and really hoary clichés that typically bring segments and episodes to a close with supposed cliffhangers. It's needless, really—trust the characters and the story, and stop injecting so much needless trauma and tribulation, and this show may still be salvageable. As with previous seasons, things end on an intriguing note, so maybe there's a bit of life still left in Haven. At the very least, Emily Rose has a great sizzle reel in the works with the various characters she gets to play this season. I can't honestly recommend this show any longer, but for fans of the series, this release is something of a mixed bag. Video is a bit questionable, though audio and especially supplements are very good to outstanding.
Haven: Other Seasons
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Haven: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Haven: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray Detailed - July 22, 2014
Entertainment One has detailed the Blu-ray release of Haven: The Complete Fourth Season. Based on Stephen King's novel "The Colorado Kid," the American/Canadian supernatural series is set in the small, fictional town of Haven, Maine where strange happenings are ...
• Haven: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray - June 2, 2014
Entertainment One is bringing Haven: The Complete Fourth Season to Blu-ray. Based on Stephen King's novel "The Colorado Kid," the American/Canadian supernatural series is set in the small, fictional town of Haven, Maine where strange happenings are a regular occurrence. ...
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