Starring: Emily Rose, Lucas Bryant, Eric Balfour
Be warned – it’s all getting terribly complicated. For those not in the loop, do-gooder Audrey is now inhabited by the spirit of the evil Mara, who has plans to heap yet more troubles on the humble fishing town of Haven. Some of the embattled locals want to kill her and put an end to their difficulties once and for all, but lovelorn Nathan still believes he can bring Audrey back. Any good news? Well, Duke’s finally cut off his ponytail …
Haven’s engaging mix of small town colour and high concept supernatural menaces shows no sign of flagging in this fifth season. People having their eyes and mouths sewn up, a woman who shoots lasers from her belly button and a plague of dancing bears are just some of the cases that crop up this time round. The twists just keep on coming, but there’s also plenty of scope for the cast to have fun with their roles, as in an episode where grouchy forensic examiner Gloria and burly Chief Dwight swap bodies. Decent CGI and practical FX help make the eruptions of magic convincing, but more importantly so do consistently warm, funny, self-aware scripts.
Emily Rose struggles a bit with her new role – her Mara is more pantomime dame than arch nemesis. But on the plus side Eric Balfour really gets to show his chops as Duke goes on one helluva story arc, with his own trouble causing him mounting problems and his friendship with Nathan becoming strained. Just occasionally the scriptwriters pile on one or two shock twists too many, but on the whole this box set augurs well for what promises to be a huge second half-season. 8/10
Audio commentaries for every episode. A couple of them sound slightly tinny, but on the whole they’re very enjoyable, with the cast, writers and producers talking about matters such as the use of two-episode storylines in this season and how cold it was shooting in Halifax, Nova Scotia. ~ Two 7-minute dramas exploring the town’s past. ~ 47 minutes of featurettes, with lots of joky chatter between the leads, very much a showcase for Lucas Bryant’s dry sense of humour. 8/10