Everything about Haven, eh?

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Review: Haven says goodbye to fan favourite

Spoiler alert: Jennifer is dead. This wasn’t a surprise for die-hard Haven fans or loyal Twitter followers of actress Emma Lahana and her former co-star Eric Balfour. The duo had traded “miss you’s” on social media earlier this year when cameras began to roll on Season 5. Still, it was a bit of a bummer to have her exit confirmed during Haven‘s two-hour return on Thursday.

The implosion of the lighthouse–the third time that poor thing has been destroyed in five seasons–marked the start of “See No Evil.” Everyone who had been under there when the gateway door closed after sucking in William in the Season 4 finale–Nathan, Duke, Dave, Vince, Dwight, Mara/Audrey (a.k.a. Maudrey) and Jennifer–had been strewn across parts of the town and spent time meeting up again and accessing the damage. No one could find Jennifer and Duke made it his mission during “See No Evil” and the follow-up “Speak No Evil” to find her.

The ultimate realization she was dead–after several other corpses turn up thanks to a Trouble exuded by Duke that sewed up eyelids, ears and mouths as long as he was in denial about Jennifer’s fate–was crushing to the lanky entrepreneur. As a viewer, I was devastated. Lahana’s Jennifer was spunky, sarcastic and fun, the perfect match for Balfour’s Duke. The two made a fantastic couple and I’m going to miss that terribly. Of course, Haven is a sci-fi show and she could come back to life because of some twist in the plot, but I don’ t think that’s in the cards.

Meanwhile, Haven‘s other power couple are having Troubles troubles of their own. Audrey is still inside her body, but Mara is in full control. That’s a major issue for Nathan, who just wants his lady love back. I want them to be together too–five seasons is a long time to drag the relationship out–but I am liking Mara. Sure, she’s cold, bitchy and super-mean to puppy dog Nathan, but she’s also an interesting character. I’m sure actress Emily Rose is having a blast jumping back and forth between playing these gals, softening her features for the seconds Audrey comes through and hardening them for Mara.

Mara’s original plan was to leave Haven through one of several thin areas between dimensions–a popular Stephen King trope I might add–but she has been thwarted so far and is stuck in the town for the time being. In the interim, she’s going to make life hell for Nathan and the townsfolk, while new Guard leader Dwight–who took over for Vince by the end of Thursday’s episodes–figures out how to protect the town from Maudrey’s ongoing menace.

Haven airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on Showcase.

Tonight: Haven, Bachelor Canada premieres

Haven, Showcase – 2-Hour Premiere
Season five of Haven finds the town’s protectors caught up in the shocking aftermath of the season four finale. With Duke fighting to contain the Troubles within him, Nathan faces his greatest fear that Audrey – the woman he’s fought so desperately to save – may be gone forever. The stakes are raised as Audrey’s “original” persona Mara proceeds to unleash a wave of chaos on Haven. Laura Mennell (The Watchmen) joins the cast as Dr. Charlotte Cross, a brilliant CDC epidemiologist who fears the town of Haven is on the verge of a deadly viral outbreak. Check out Greg’s interview with star Lucas Bryant.

The Bachelor Canada, City – Two-hour Season Premiere
Bachelor Tim Warmels begins his quest for love at the stunning Bachelor Canada mansion, where he comes face-to-face with 25 of the country’s most eligible bachelorettes for the first time. It doesn’t take long before emotions start to rage out of control during the first cocktail party of the season, as the bachelorettes find themselves struggling to gain coveted one-on-one time with Tim. In the wake of intense connections, tears, and tension, Tim must make the difficult decision to choose which 15 bachelorettes will continue on in their journey for love. Greg spoke with Tim about Season 2.

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Haven’s Lucas Bryant takes control in Season 5

As part of Haven‘s cast, Lucas Bryant has to deal with a lot of unsurety contained in every script. What mysterious Trouble will befall another person living in town? What evil will his character, Nathan Wuornos, face? Will he and Duke Crocker (Eric Balfour) get along? And will Nathan and Audrey Parker (Emily Rose) ever become the couple he yearns them to be?

With all of that hanging over his head for the past four seasons–a super-sized Season 5 returns to Showcase tonight–Bryant is taking control of the situation in one small way, albeit one behind the cameras instead of in front.

“I’m going to be directing my first episode of Haven this year, at the end of September,” he reveals. The Elmira, Ont., native has been shadowing directors and sitting in on pre- and post-production meetings as he could since Day 1 on the fantasy series. As an actor he finds it illuminating and helpful to understanding the minutiae of a television shoot, like how taking three steps outside of a predetermined spot on the set can affect production for hours.

“That is why I should just stand on my spot, shut up and say my words!” he jokes. Bryant will be in control for one episode as a director, but Haven‘s scripts continue to offer disarray and confusion. The Season 4 finale concluded with bad boy William (Colin Ferguson) going through a mystical doorway, Duke bleeding from his eyes, Jennifer (Emma Lahana) in distress and Audrey’s original persona, Mara, taking control over Nathan’s lady love. Haven‘s writers and producers continue to throw up road blocks in the budding relationship between Nathan and Audrey and you can’t help but wonder why the former just doesn’t cut ties with the latter and move on. The thought has certainly crossed Bryant’s mind more than once.

“Sometimes I get frustrated and I think, ‘Really?? This guy is just going to keep doing this? He’s not going to decide he’s going to try something else?'” he says. “However, I love Nathan for that. One of the great joys is that he has such dunderheaded conviction that there is nothing that can stop his faith in this woman and their love.”

Haven‘s two-hour return airs Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on Showcase. Haven‘s regular timeslot resumes next Thursday at 10 p.m. ET on Showcase.

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Fall time is primetime…ish

The days are getting short, the leaves have started to change, the kids are back in school (except here in BC). Calendar be damned, it’s fall, and with it comes the new television season.

For Canadian TV, this is also the damned if you do, damned if you don’t season.

Do you put your original programming into the mix with the American shows and their massive marketing machine, or do you test  just how little scripted content is required by the CRTC anyway?

Do you even have a spot left in your schedule after buying from all the US networks and trying to maximize your purchases by airing shows on your channel at the same time as the US channel, therefore allowing you to put your own ads into the US feed as well?

If you’re Global this fall, you don’t.  They have no original scripted series in primetime this season. That seems an extreme reaction to the problem to me. Boo, Global.

CTV has a prime spot left for their million-plus-viewers-club medical drama Saving Hope, premiering September 22 before settling into its regular Thursday timeslot at 9 pm — for the first five weeks, nestled after aging but compatible Grey’s Anatomy.

City brings back Package Deal on Friday nights starting September 12. Not exactly a plum timeslot but it does get it away from stiff American competition and gives City something other than The Bachelor Canada (premiering September 18) and a little series called Hockey Night in Canada to promote.

CBC, of course, is where the CanCon action is this fall. Unless you’re looking for hockey (though they get to air some games despite not earning revenue from them. Sweet deal, huh?).

Due to shorter seasons for many series and a lot of scheduling real estate to fill given budget cuts and hockey losses, their fall season mostly starts in October, and reruns and the odd non-Canadian show as usual supplement the originals.

Returning shows include Heartland and Canada’s Smartest Person on September 28, Murdoch Mysteries on October 6, Rick Mercer Report and This Hour Has 22 Minutes on October 7, and Dragons’ Den and Republic of Doyle on October 15.

The new shows are where it gets interesting. CBC is taking some risks with the dark serialized drama Strange Empire by the writer of the very dark Durham County and premiering October 6. What sounds like a cross between Heartland and The Week The Men Went very much isn’t — in an 1869 frontier town, women struggle to survive after most of the men are gone. 

Sci-fi drama Ascension is another outlier, both in content and in its later premiere date of November 25. The six-episode series likely won’t be able to rely on a compatible lead-in but hopefully the sci-fi crowd finds it on this unexpected channel.

In scripted series beyond the major broadcast networks, Teletoon is airing new series Clarence and Total Drama: Pahkitew Island starting September 4, Haven returns to Showcase with a two-hour premiere on September 18,  Transporter: The Series returns to The Movie Network/Movie Central on October 5, and APTN has Blackstone returning on November 11 and Mohawk Girls debuting on November 25.

An upside to Canadian TV is that none of these series will be cancelled before the end of their current seasons, even if some of them on the private broadcast networks might get shuffled around to make way for changing US network schedules. So go on, get hooked on Saving Hope or Strange Empire: they’re here for the season.