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DVD Review

DVD cover

The Complete Fourth Season


Starring: Emily Rose, Lucas Bryant, Eric Balfour and Nicholas Campbell
Distributor: Entertainment One
RRP: £29.99
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 08 September 2014

Audrey Parker, a FBI special agent is sent to Haven, Maine. She quickly starts to realise that Haven is not a normal town, but a refuge for people who possess paranormal powers. Unfortunately, most of the powers are destructive, collectively known as The Troubles. Not only is the town strange, but Audrey soon starts to feel that her memories may not be her own. She discovers that the Troubles have a twenty-seven year cycle and each time they do she reappears, with a new personality. With the help of the chief of police, Nathan and Duke, Audrey battles to keep the town safe while trying to find a way to end the Troubles forever...

Haven: The Complete Fourth Season (2013. 13 episodes x 42 min) is a supernatural science fiction drama series. The show is based on a short story by Stephen King, The Colorado Kid (2005). As the show is very much set in the fictional world created by King, there are many direct and indirect references to his other works. Season four is presented on a four disc DVD set.

Season three ended with Audrey entering the barn, a mysterious building which appears, waiting for the newest incarnation of Audrey to return, hence ending the Troubles. Unfortunately, this time Duke also entered disrupting the normal flow of events. As season four opens six months have passed when Duke reappears hundreds of miles away, in Boston. He tries to tell people who he is, but the local police do not believe him as everyone in Haven thinks that he is dead. When he is being dragged away by the police, Duke keeps calling for Audrey. Jennifer Mason is a young woman with a psychiatric history of hearing voices, that of Audrey and Duke while they were in the barn. She goes to the hospital, releases Duke and the two return to Haven.

Audrey is now Lexi, with no memory of her past life and working in a bar. Here she meets William, who tries to convince her that she is not who she thinks she is. He becomes a returning character and plays a pivotal role in season four. As these things go Audrey obviously returns to Haven, but for the how and whys you’ll have to watch the show.

When the series finally settles, it reverts back to its normal format of the main characters investigating Troubled people and still trying to find a way of ending them for good. There are an interesting set of Troubles, including someone who can inhabit other people, those that can control the weather, conjure up monsters and realise dreams.

With the introduction of William, the show delves further into the origin of the Troubles and surprisingly for a TV show you really do get some answers. In many ways the show is very similar to The X-Files, sans the aliens. The show blends the characters developing personal relationships, with Trouble of the week and the over arcing season story. The story can often be more sad than scary, often touching when not dealing with the Troubled.

Overall the series is very well written and much underrated compared to a lot of the tosh that appears on our screens. Not content with just giving us a monster each week; the more interesting aspects revolve around Audrey’s real identity and powers. The central triumvirate of Audrey/Lexi/Mara (Emily Rose), Nathan Wuornos (Lucas Bryant) and Duke Crocker (Eric Balfour) are all well-acted roles as are the two new characters William (Colin Ferguson) and Jennifer Mason (Emma Lahana).

The picture is a clear 16:9, a little soft, but then this is because it’s a DVD, rather than a Blu-ray. If you’re used to watching the show not in HD then you won’t notice the difference. The set contains two audio tracks, a DD 2.0 and a superior DD 5.1.

There are a number of extras on the discs. Disc one has a full length commentary for the first episode by Gabrielle Stanton and Matt McGuiness, the executive producers of the show, Gabrielle also wrote this episode. It’s very informative, but I suggest you listen to it after episode five as it kind of ruins one of the show's big reveals.

On disc two there are two commentaries, one for episode five, with Brian Millikin and Nick Parker, both writers on the show and episode eight, with writer Speed Weed (I kid you not) and Shernold Edwards. It’s interesting to listen to the writers discuss the greater mythology of the show. Once again it’s full of information and spoilers, so best watched after seeing all the episodes in the season.

Weed and Edwards return for the commentary on disc three, episode nine, as do Millikin and Parker for episode eleven. Stanton and McGuiness return on the last disc to talk you through the show's cliffhanger and last episode. As the last disc only holds a single episode, the rest of the space is taken up with extras. Inside Haven (57 min, 50 sec) is made up of thirteen smaller pieces which can be played all at once or individually. It’s a massive behind the scenes look at how the show is made, covering pretty much every aspect. For a TV show it is an impressively in-depth look. Haven Panel Highlights (1 hr, 3 min, 56 sec) collects the best from three different panels, Comic-con, Nerd HQ and New York Comic-con, these also can be played all together or individually. It’s the usual light-hearted stuff of panels.

The extras continue with Cast Interviews (19 min, 05 sec) once again three sections to be played individually or altogether. The Q&A with the cast answering fans questions is pretty funny. The Darkside Seekers are, in the show, a fictional group of paranormal investigators and there are eight webisodes (8 min, 12 sec) for your delectation. Pancakes: The Morning After Deleted Scene (2 min, 10) is exactly what the title suggests. Behind The Scenes Reel (3 min, 58 sec) includes shots of the cast and crew and finally we have the Outtakes (11 min, 08 sec) with the cast goofing around.

For Haven fans, this is a very impressive package, a good season which forwards the plot and reveals some of Haven's secrets, as well as extras which do not feel like filler.


Charles Packer

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