Blu-ray Review: Haven The Final Season

Release Date: April 19, 2016
Rating: TV-14
Running Time: 559 minutes

HAVEN: THE FINAL SEASON presents hometown heroes Audrey, Nathan (Lucas Bryant), Duke (Eric Balfour) and Dwight (Adam Copeland), with challenges unlike any they’ve experienced before. Across 13 action-packed final episodes, the town of Haven has been cut off from the rest of the world by a mysterious fog bank and is on its own. Through journeys into the past, the future, and the very fabric between worlds, events in Haven hurtle towards a cataclysmic showdown. Will the heroes be able to rid Haven of “the Troubles” forever, or will the town and its inhabitants continue to suffer the curse? Watch and see as tensions rise, allegiances shift and in a harrowing closing chapter, the mystery of “Croatoan” is finally revealed.

The second half of the fifth season was highly anticipated and started off strong. But then I can’t say that I was entirely enamored with all that came next as some moments were frankly speaking, quite dull. But it did deliver several strong episodes, a few of which were definite standouts.

So what did I love? I loved that the entire town now knew about the troubles. I was way more drawn to the character arc of Duke than Nathan in the second half of the season as the emotional resonance I felt was built up way more for him. The stakes for him along with the grief and all that he’s holding onto inside held more weight for me. So I really enjoyed Duke’s storyline and maybe I teared up during his last scene. Audrey is just as captivating as ever. I loved every moment just being in Haven because the setting and tone of this town is just so comforting even though ironically nothing but trouble brews.

Standout episodes in Season 5B? Episode 5.17 “Enter Sandman” in which Dwight and Charlotte try to free Audrey from the Sandman’s stasis and Episode 5.20 “Just Passing Through” when Nathan and Vince travel back in time to 1983, 5.22 “A Matter of Time” when Dave confronts Croatoan meanwhile Audrey and Duke try to get Haley to save the day before its too late. Oh man, I felt for Haley. There was a deep pang in my chest every time there was a Haley scene. And someone else who meets their end but I won’t spoil that! Also 5.23 “Blind Spot” when Audrey and Nathan use the help of a trouble in the police station. And of course, I loved the final two episodes, “Now” and “Forever.”

But if I had to choose between 5A and 5B, I’d say that 5A was way more captivating, entertaining and satisfying. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that 5A is one of my favorite “seasons” of the entire series. I talk all about 5A here. So with the bar set that high in 5A, I don’t think 5B stood a chance given the direction they did chose to go.

There was so, so much that could have been done with Mara’s mother and I was underwhelmed with what ended up coming into fruition. I was underwhelmed much of the time following Nathan. I was just underwhelmed more than I was glued to the screen an on the edge of my seat like the previous episodes. I also want to mention that I did really appreciate the deaf representation this season. Great job, there.

For any Haven fan, this is a welcome addition to the collection, the only addition that will make it complete. And it’s worth buying for the special features along. How many other shows provide commentary for every single episode? Talk about a win!


Special Features:

Haven Revisited: Livestream Segments with the Cast & Crew (11:17 minutes) – There are 9 featurettes of a roundtable with the option to play all and they’re called “Favorite Episodes,” “Character Direction,” “In the Buff,” “Mythology,” “Versions of Audrey,” “Alternate Haven,” “Adam’s Favorites,” “Jason Priestley,” and “Strange Things on Set.” I don’t understand why the live stream wasn’t edited down as one feature but anyway, I’d suggest “playing all” and watching it as one entity. Any Haven fan would anyway. It’s a great live stream as the cast and crew answer questions from the fans directly and are clearly having a lot of fun while reminiscing. This feature gets an A.

Appearing in This Feature:
Executive Producers, Matt McGuinness & Shawn Piller
Writer, Shernold Edwards
Cast Members, Emily Rose, Lucas Bryant, Eric Balfour, Colin Ferguson, Laura Vandervoort, Adam Copeland

Haven Archives: Entries from the Crocker Diaries (6:31 minutes) – There are 4 featurettes, “Buried,”  “Devotion,” “Touch,”and “Threads” with the option to play all. This feature is the voice of Humphrey Crocker reading his diary entires with illustrations accompanying the entries. Unless you care about what he has to say, this is an easy skip.

Haven Origins: Lovers Conquered All (8:36 minutes) – I’m not quite sure if this was a web series when the show aired or if it’s a mini prequel specifically made for the blu-ray/DVD but this origin story takes place in 1907 and isn’t all that compelling until the end which isn’t really a good thing. So. Grade C.

Haven Origins: Trust Kills Fear (10:41 minutes) – This origin story had a much more compelling set up from the moment it began so I was actually excited about this one. And it delivered tenfold. I loved this one. This is without a doubt my favorite Haven origin story of them all. A must watch. A+

Mythology Refresher (4:08 minutes) – This is a very general overview of the series in the form of  numerous moments from Haven edited together from season one to now. It’s a fun walk down memory lane but if you were looking for more of a refresher on who Audrey is and the farm and all of that, nope, this isn’t that.

Interviews (44:08 minutes) – There are interviews with Lucas Bryant, Eric Balfour, William Shatner, Adam Copeland & Producer Shawn Piller with the option to play all. The interviews range from just over 3 minutes to just under 12 minutes long. I really appreciated how honest Eric was in his interview regarding the ending of the show. His portion was by far my favorite of all the interviews.

Inside Haven (40:36 minutes) – Each episode has a behind the scenes featurette lasting 2-4 minutes and some are interesting while others are… not so much but even saying that, I’d still recommend playing them all as it’s a quick, fun retrospective of the character journeys, relationship dynamics, story arcs, and the cast talking about what it was like working on each episode. I will say that what I absolutely love about these interviews with the cast all over the special features is that you can tell the actors are genuinely enjoying talking about the show and it doesn’t feel like an obligation to them and that genuine love for what they’re doing and for the fans really shines through and is so, so, so very much appreciated.

Appearing in This Feature:
Executive Producers, Shawn Piller, Gabrielle Stanton, Matt McGuinness
Cast Members, Emily Rose, Lucas Bryant, Eric Balfour,Adam Copeland, William Shatner

Commentary – Just like the first half of season 5 (see here), there is commentary for every single episode of the second half of season 5. Episode 5.14 “New World Order” and 5.18 “Wild Card” commentary are conducted by writers, Brian Millikin and Nick Parker. 5.15 “Power” and 5.16 “The Trial of Nathan Wuornos” are conducted by writer, Adam Higgs and director, Rick Bota. 5.17 “Enter Sandman” is conducted by actor/director, Lucas Bryant and writer, Shernold Edwards. 5.19 “Perditus” is conducted by Lucas Bryant and Adam Higgs. 5.20 “Just Passing Through” is conducted by actor/director, Colin Ferguson and co-creators/co-writers Sam Ernst and Jim Dunn. 5.21 “Close to Home” is conducted by writer, Joshua Brandon, Colin Ferguson, and consulting producer, Brian Millikin. 5.22 “A Matter of Time” is conducted by Millikin, Ferguson, and consulting producer, Joshua Brandon. 5.23 “Blind Spot” and 5.24 “The Widening Gyre” are pretty packed commentaries conducted by writers Nick Parker & Y. Shireen Razack, script coordinator, Josh Brandon, and assistant, Donna Clark. 5.25 “Now” and 5.26 “Forever” are conducted by writers, Gabrielle G. Stanton and Matt McGuinness.

So far, I’ve listened to the commentaries for 5.14, 5.20, 5.22, and 5.26. The sound quality was different, not as great for 5.20 but that’s my only criticism when it comes to production value. I always really enjoy all of the Haven commentaries, they’re always fun and full of insight and it’s just another reason to enter the world of Haven so I can’t wait to check out the rest!

Own Haven: The Final Season on Blu-ray and DVD today.