Like so many others, his books were a rite of passage in my teen years. I still remember the first one I read… Salem’s Lot (loved the way he interpreted vampires).
It was the third longest book I had read at that time (following Lord of the Rings, and Shogun) and I flew through it. I voraciously read anything by King that I could get my hands on during high school.
Unlike most horror that I had been exposed to up to that point, and not always well, King’s scares seemed to happen as much in the mind as they did in the reality he created. His characters thought processes would give reason to why what they were seeing frightened them so, and understanding why they were scared allowed me to get that rush of fear as well.
Sadly, his horror novels translation into film hasn’t always been successful, possibly for that very reason. His dramatic ones on the other hand have always been exemplary with Stand By Me, The Green Mile, and the incredible The Shawshank Redemption being the most obvious examples.
The forays into television have seemed to fare little better, I didn’t care for Kingdom Hospital, Rose Red, or The Shining mini-series whereas I did enjoy The Stand.
But it seems someone understands how to work Stephen King onto the small screen… Shawn Piller.
Piller adapted King’s Dead Zone into a long running series (which I am enjoying but yet to finish) and then he turned to another King tale for the basis of his new show. He turned The Colorado Kid into the very addictive Haven.
In both cases Piller has taken the essence of what both tales were and formatted them into a television series.
Haven is a small town in (surprise) Maine that has more than a few secrets, and FBI agent Audrey Parker ends up in town to investigate them. Its only later that we realize that she has been moved into position here for a reason.
The town (played by Lunenberg, Nova Scotia) is affected by “The Troubles”, and Audrey is there to help.
Using this as a leaping off point this show has built up a huge mythology with interweaving characters and plotlines. You could almost call it X-Files lite, but it would be demeaning to both titles, and Haven doesn’t have an alien arc, it’s all about the people and their Troubles.
At the center of it all is Audrey, her partner Nate, and the local scoundrel Duke. All three actors are very entertaining, though I understand why people had problems with Emily Rose’s Audrey in the first season. To begin with she’s the blank slate of the audience, their gateway into the series and people thought that perhaps some characterization was lacking. I disagreed, they had to have her that way to guide us into the show, and now that she’s established in the town of Haven, things are changing for her as she struggles to find out who she is, what’s going on in this tiny town and the relationships she has with it.
But surrounding them is a plethora of Stephen King tidbits and trivia. They are fun to watch for and personally just heighten my enjoyment of the show.
The two standout ones for me right now is seeing Flagg, King’s evil creation who has appeared all over his creations, mentioned in the opening credits of Season One as Reverend Flagg – Can’t help but wonder what happened there!
And the other is in the Season Two opener where the paper boat sequence from It is reenacted. And for those of us who knew the story we couldn’t help watching and worrying as the little boy followed his boat down the roadway, and reached for it through a storm drain.
Season One is a lot of set-up so that by the time Season Two rules around things kick into high gear and we can only wait and wonder what will be coming ahead in Season Three as the town, even brothers stand divided over The Troubles and we learn that Audrey isn’t who she thought she was, and isn’t sure who she is.
Or what parts Nate and Duke will play, especially after Duke’s father reveals his plans for Duke.
It really does take a village to hide a secret. But come visit Haven and dig around, these secrets are worth discovering!