Thursday, October 31, 2013

10 Days of Stephen King - TV Bonus: Haven & Under The Dome

Over the last 10 days, we have reviewed some of the best and worst Stephen King films ever made, but there's one thing we haven't discussed...television.  Currently, there are two shows on TV based on the works of King, Haven, based on The Colorado Kid, and Under The Dome, based on the novel of the same name.  We're going to take a closer look at both of these shows and see what makes them tick. Enjoy!

Haven is a Canadian sci-fi television series loosely based on the Stephen King novel The Colorado Kid which premiered on Syfy Channel in 2010.  The show, which deals with strange events in a fictional town in Maine called Haven, stars Emily Rose, Lucas Bryant, and Eric Balfour, whose characters struggle to help townspeople with supernatural afflictions, known as "troubles", and protect the town from the effects of those afflictions.

At the beginning of the series, we are introduced to Audrey Parker, an FBI agent with a mysterious past who ends up in Haven during the investigation of the death of an escaped prisoner from the town.  There she meets Nathan Wuornos and Duke Crocker, lifetime local of Haven.  The three of them work together to help the "troubled" people of this town and to unlock the secrets of who The Colorado Kid is, while discovering more and more about Audrey's mysterious past.  It seems as though everyone in Haven has a secret, and each episode brings you on a journey to reveal those secrets.

Duke and Audrey are ready for anything.

Like most of King's work, the characters in Haven are the driving force for what makes it so great.  Playing the role of Audrey Parker is the beautiful and talented Emily Rose (Jericho, ER).  She brings a down-to-earth quality to the role, which helps to balance the enigmatic nature of the character.  Starring along side her is Lucas Bryant (Sex, Love & Secrets) as Haven PD Chief Nathan Wuornos, a local of Haven with a secret of his own.  These two have amazing chemistry with one another, whether they're bickering back and forth or expressing their feelings.  And that brings us to Duke Crocker.  Portayed by Eric Balfour (24, Six Feet Under), Duke is a shady bar owner, who befriends Audrey and assists her and Nathan on cases.  He brings a fun, light-hearted element to the show.  All three of these actors give great performances week after week and work amazingly together, which is one of the reasons for the shows continued success.

Haven is currently in its fourth season, and going strong.  From time-travel, to living plants, and even a multi-dimensional barn, Haven has a little bit of everything, making it one of the most unique sci-fi shows on television today.  And with its great cast, interesting storylines and beautiful scenery, it's no wonder it's been kept around.  This is a must watch for anyone who is a fan of the genre or of Stephen King, especially since it is littered with King references from several of his works.


Under The Dome is based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King and tells the story of the residents of the small town of Chester's Mill, Maine, where a massive, transparent, indestructible dome suddenly cuts them off from the rest of the world.  With no Internet access, no mobile signals and limited radio communication, the people trapped inside must find their own ways to survive with diminishing resources and rising tensions.  While military forces, the government and the media positioned outside of this surrounding barrier attempt to break it down, a small group of people inside attempt to figure out what the dome is, where it came from, and when (and if) it will go away.

In the first episode, we are introduced to several characters, the first being Dale "Barbie" Barbara played by Mike Vogel (Bates Motel, Grounded For Life).  A character shrouded in mystery, Barbie winds up in Chester's Mill just before the dome comes crashing down after burying a body.  Who's body was it?  How did they die?  Did Barbie kill this person, and if so, why?  The answers to these questions and more are answered throughout the 13-episode first season which premiered on CBS at the beginning of 2013.  

Slab of beef, anyone?

We're also introduced to Julia Shumway (Rachel Lefevre), an investigative reporter who takes an interest in Barbie, James "Big Jim" Rennie, a shady politician and used car dealer, Deputy Linda Esquivel, a loyal and ambitious sheriff's deputy whose mission is to keep the people of Chester's Mill safe, Joe & Angie McAlister, siblings whose parents are trapped outside of the dome, and James "Junior" Rennie, Big Jim's mentally unstable son.  Like Haven, and many of King's other works, Under The Dome is a very character driven series.  The story is interesting, but if not for these characters and their interactions with one another, the show would not be able to stand.

Each episode gives you that sense of isolation that these characters must feel, being trapped inside this dome with no way out.  They are forced to find ways to survive, whether it be working together, or taking things for themselves.  With things like looters, gun-toting whack jobs, and a sinister plot involving the towns propane supply, the people of Chester's Mill will have to do what it takes to survive, but does survival mean losing one's humanity?  I guess you'll have to watch to find out, and I highly suggest you do.

Josh's Ratings:
Haven:  9/10
Under The Dome:  8/10

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