Saturday, October 09, 2010

You Can Call Me Al

Possibly the most incredible television news of the decade is that Haven has been renewed for a second season. I'm acutely aware that the SyFy Channel can make universally bad programmes, but surely none of them, even Sanctuary, can possibly be as badly acted, badly scripted, badly plotted or badly put together than Haven. It is, quite possibly, the poorest piece of television ever made.

According to SyFy (is that just the worst renaming of a channel in the history of renaming anything?) it is averaging 2.6 million viewers, and almost a million of them are in the key 18-25 demographic (why that should be key is pretty much beyond me considering most 18-25 year olds I know are about as imbecilic as a goat in a clown's outfit with a massive comedy codpiece). This means that it is worthy of a second season; The Gates, which wasn't as bad, was averaging 3 million viewers and got canned so fast that the stars are still probably attempting to come to terms with it and the damage its cancellation will have on their bank balances and future job opportunities.

Don't get me wrong; if Haven had been done by, oh, I don't know, a little league baseball team, it might have actually been half decent. The production team might have had some experience in producing a TV show, but it didn't show. Instead of being a complete idea, Haven lacked some key elements. Actually, it lacked in just about every element.

Watching an episode was a little like renting a bad 90 minute 1980s horror flick and fast forwarding through 50% of it - the 50% that actually told you what was supposed to be happening. The scripts were poor, the pacing was worse, the acting was almost laughable and the way it was put together would have made a 5 year old question the director's ability - but worst of all, the editing appeared to be done by a dead chimpanzee with Alzheimer's. Why Eric Balfour got involved is any one's guess - he presumably needed the money.

Yet, it had that car crash quality. I just wanted to watch each episode to see if it got any worse and I was never disappointed. It continued to plumb depths I thought were never going to be reached by even the most outrageously bad TV shows (and frankly only Lost Girl is the only thing I've seen that made less sense). It tried very hard to be mysterious, strange and different and only succeeded in making me laugh like a demented fool on acid. Except, even a demented fool on acid could have put together something that was infinitely better than this.

As I've said before, Emily Rose aka FBI agent Audrey Parker would make a great 30 year old Buffy Summers. Lucas Bryant aka Nathan Wournos would be the ONLY choice to play Roland of Gilead in any Dark Tower film adaptation and neither of them, in an honest world, would ever work again, if there was anything like real justice...

Parker arrives in Haven on the trail of an escaped FBI suspect and after finding out that weird shit is going on decides to stay. She quickly finds out that she had links to the place that she isn't consciously aware of and it appears that her boss - a strange FBI senior official - knows more about what is going on than anyone else. On paper, the entire idea looks great. In reality... Jesus Harry Christ...

There is as much consistency in the series as there is in the British weather. Things happen with no explanation, no questions asked and no sense of reality. It is like the characters in the series are activated for the 44 minutes of each show and then switched off again at the conclusion. No one acts like a real person; everyone acts like they're keeping a secret, yet crack FBI agent Parker displays all the detective acumen of Eyore. I'm amazed that there isn't more damning reviews of this series on the net; because it certainly deserves intellectual reviewers ripping it to shreds. Everything about the series smacks of amateurism, from the scripts to the acting to the production.

It even has a clever premise that seems to get forgotten more often than I take a shit. It is unbelievably awful. Yet, someone somewhere figured it deserves a second season... Wonders never cease.

You get the impression that it's written by a 6 year old, directed by a 5 year old and put through post production by a teething 2 year old. How the actors could get involved and keep straight faces is truly an even bigger mystery than that of the Colorado Kid himself (which the series is so loosely based on you could arguably say that my life is based on the life and times of Donald Duck). The final episode even had a cliffhanger ending that was actually really clever, it just lost every shred of credibility along the way. Not even the characters could stay consistent from one episode to another, yet I watched all 13 of them and, as much as I hate to say this, I'll watch, at least, some of the next season - if only to a) remind myself how bad it was and b) to see if they actually can come up with a plausible explanation. I've no doubt it will be and I doubt they will.

Haven needs to be observed to be believed. You need to watch it to realise that whatever you thought was the worst television programme you've ever seen - wasn't (unless you watched Lost Girl). It needs to be savoured like a 99p bottle of cheap plonk. It needs to be watched to remind yourself that you, of little faith or talent, could do a 101% better job with a budget consisting of a tin of sardines and a Betamax video camera.

The finale was so bad that I actually laughed hysterically at parts of it. That's 685 minutes of my life I will never see again - but at least I got my maths right. In the final episode, a man claims to have been in prison for 10,000 days or 25 years. 25 years is actually 8825 days, yet within seconds of this someone else says he served 20 years in prison, which is actually 7300 days. 10,000 days is actually 28 years and 3 months, give or take a leap year or six. The person in question got swallowed up by a big hole in the ground; you'll wish the same hole swallowed you after realising that no one working on the show understands the meaning of the words 'common sense' or even 'continuity editor'.

If this review doesn't make a lot of sense, then I've achieved what I set out to do...

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