Blu-ray Review: Haven: The Complete Third Season



Haven s3 blu-ray coverGenre: Sci-Fi | Action | Drama

Creators: Sam Ernst & Jim Dunn, based on “The Colorado Kid” by Stephen King

Discs: 4

Run time: 572 minutes + extras

Release date: September 3, 2013

Synopsis:

Based on Stephen King‘s “The Colorado Kid,” HAVEN follows FBI agent Audrey Parker, who has taken up residence in the small town of Haven, Maine, a longtime refuge for people with an eclectic range of supernatural abilities.  Now a detective in the Haven police department, Audrey finds herself inexplicably linked to the mysteries of this extraordinary seaside village.  

Season three of Haven picks up immediately following the events of the gripping season two finale with Audrey (Emily Rose) having been brutally kidnapped; Nathan (Lucas Bryant) warned against pursuing a romantic relationship with Audrey; and Duke (Eric Balfour) seemingly engaged in a fight to the death with Nathan after he discovers his family lineage is to kill Haven citizens with troubles. 

Episodes include “301”, “Stay,” “The Farmer”, “Over My Head”, “Double Jeopardy”, and the season three cliffhanger finale, “Thanks for the Memories”. Guest stars include Iain Glen (Game of Thrones), Claudia Black (Farscape, Stargate SG1), and Nolan North (Uncharted game series).

Haven s3 cast promo


Oh how I wish I had a video to show you. But I don’t know that one clip or featurette could ever do this series justice, especially when the thing that makes it better than the majority of series out there is the near-tangible chemistry of the cast. Well, the chemistry, and the cool underlying mythology. And the next-layer-up mythology. And the weekly stories. And ooooo the setting; the setting, the town, the ambiance, is crucial. It’s all of these things together, that combine to make Haven even better than the sum of its parts.

I considered calling Season 3 the best season yet, but every season is just so good. When pressed, however, there are some differences between Season 3 and the first two that warrant a mention. Season 3 sees a heavier emphasis on one bigger mystery than on a trouble-of-the-week, though we get those in just about every episode. It’s also darker than the first two seasons, both in the weekly troubles and in the bigger mystery. While it’s no The Walking Dead, it’s also no Eureka; this season overall is a little too disturbing for the youngest set.

Haven 309 Sarah soldier

Season 3 takes us back in time, and that episode is the one that everyone working on the show reportedly loved the most, though the finale features a number of standout performances by cast and production as well. We are also treated to potential alien and ghost sightings, along with a particularly horrifying serial killer and the most repulsive trouble to date. Such fun!

Most series add new cast members as the seasons progress, which sometimes enhances the show and sometimes just brings a fifth-wheel uncomfortableness. The addition of Bree Williamson as psychologist Claire Callahan, Kate Kelton as Guard member Jordan McKee, and Dorian Missick as Detective Tommy Bowen, just like the addition of Vinessa Antoine as Evi Crocker in Season 2, is elegant and seamless, a credit to the new cast, the existing cast, the writers, and everyone involved in the production. Their presence is explained, their characters are fresh, and the additional bodies don’t ever feel unwieldy. The guest stars this season are similarly terrific, and fit right in with the rest of the weird, disturbed, and disturbing.

Haven s3 Audrey

Haven is simply one of my very favorite shows, and Season 3 is no exception. You need it in your life. But why get the Blu-ray? I have several reasons. The first is that series just look better in Blu-ray. If you read my review of Season 2 on Blu-ray you saw that I wasn’t completely convinced that it was the best format for viewing the show, as the hyper-clarity made the edges look just a little too sharp and reduced the overall look of the production. That issue does not continue for Season 3. It is gorgeous. Hallifax should be seen in Blu-ray, and these very pretty people should be seen in Blu-ray as well.

Reason two is the bonus features. They are excellent:

BONUS FEATURES
The Haunting Truth About Haven: A Documentary
“Escape to Haven” Webisode Series
Deleted/Alternate Scenes
Six Audio Commentaries with the Writers
Interviews with the Cast and Guest Stars
Haven Panel from New York Comic Con
Behind-the-Scenes footage
Blooper Reel
Exclusive 16-page comic

The primary featurette, “The Haunting Truth About Haven: A Documentary”, purports to be about the making of the Halloween episode but it is really much more than that. It’s quite long, and while parts of it were released during the season as it aired, and were posted here on SciFiMafia.com, there is a lot of previously unreleased behind the scenes footage and interviews. It is funny, charming, interesting and insightful, a must-watch for all fans.

Haven s3 halloween cast

The New York Comic-Con panel is terrific, and beyond featuring that cast chemistry I keep talking about, there are some really interesting and touching comments made by the writers on the panel that are worth the watch alone.

The “Escape to Haven” webisodes feature new cast member Kate Kelton. You may recall that they were released prior to the premiere of Season 3, and acted as a sort of introduction to The Guard. You could watch them prior to watching the episodes, if you’re new to the series; they’re a fun enhancement, though not required viewing.

The de rigeur blooper reel is cute,  but a lot of the featurettes are actually funnier. The deleted and alternate scenes are interesting, but I wish they had included more of those that are referenced in the commentaries.

Speaking of which, the commentaries range from pretty good to really excellent. On six of the thirteen episodes, all feature the writers of the episode, never the cast, which is fine with me, especially on the season finale, since that commentary is by co-creators Sam Ernst and Jim Dunn. One of the commentaries even points out a scene that will have implications somewhere around the middle of Season 4… Clearly, they are all required listening for the dedicated fan.

Haven comic bookAnd of course there’s the extremely special bonus – A COMIC BOOK. Sure it’s only the size of the Blu-ray case, but STILL. It picks up right after the Season 3 finale, and although I’m not positive that it completely synchs up with the Season 4 premiere, it’s still extremely cool, and… IT’S A COMIC BOOK. Nuff said.

Finally, the packaging. Wow, Entertainment One really knows how to present TV series well. Although the discs are only numbered and have no other identifiers, the interior of the case not only lists the numbers of the episodes on each disc, but their titles and a brief summary. I always consider that the height of customer service. How often do you want to watch a certain episode – say, the Halloween episode – but you can’t remember where it falls in the season? No trouble at all here.

Not only that, but each episode that has a commentary is indicated as such, and the commentators names are listed at the end of the episode summary. On the interior of the case. Thank you, Entertainment One. Well done indeed. Granted, you have to remove a disc to be able to read that interior cover and all of its wonderful information, but that’s small bother compared to the convenience of having all the info you need, right there in the packaging. Again, thank you Entertainment One.

Haven s3 Duke

In short, Haven is one of my very favorite shows, and has been since its premiere. Season 3 shines just as brightly as seasons 1 and 2, and would be a must-own even if it didn’t come with excellent bonus features AND A COMIC BOOK. But it does, so if you don’t own it yet, get it now. You need this.

I give Haven: The Complete Third Season on Blu-ray Five Out of Five Stars.
fivestars

 

 





Erin Willard
Written by Erin Willard

Erin is the Editor In Chief and West Coast Correspondent for SciFiMafia.com