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5 Shows like Haven: Troubled Towns

Laura Light itcherIf it’s tense, gripping supernatural TV shows like ‘Haven’ you’re looking for, then you need to check out ‘The Gates’, ‘Sanctuary’ and ‘Under the Dome’. These shows feature close-knit communities with everything to hide. ~ Laura Light

Secrets and Lies

Loosely based on Stephen King’s book ‘The Colorado Kid’, it seems that everyone in ‘Haven’ has a secret. Comprised of many unique and interesting citizens with certain interesting abilities, the mysterious tale of a small town with an otherworldly aura is scary yet thrilling.   

Agent Audrey Parker (Emily Rose) discovers nuggets of her own obscure history while trying to figure out the town’s residents one by one in each episode.

For me, it crosses so many different genres, from thriller and mystery one week to some comedy and romance the next. Sci-fi doesn’t have to be your thing here, just the need to watch a gripping show with terrifying inhabitants is enough.   

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Shows Similar to ‘Haven’…

‘The Gates’ (ABC, 2010- 2010)

My instincts tell me there is something going on with these people.

This follows a Chicago homicide detective (Frank Grillo) who moves his family to an affluent gated community to become its new Chief of Police. What he doesn’t realize is that the suburban neighborhood is full of supernatural beings.

I’m a huge fan of sci-fi, so I love the little subplots involving a handsome vampire couple trying to act human and the witch trying to bring her rogue apprentice back from the wrong path. Also, if you like a good old fashioned teenage love triangle, then this show really is for you – think ‘The Vampire Diaries’ crossed with ‘Desperate Housewives’.

It’s a real shame this was canceled after one season, as the town and its community had just started to become fascinating.

Similarity Match: 95%
The supernatural creatures may be the same but this show has a more soap opera feel about it, rather than the frights a minute in ‘Haven’.

***
‘Sanctuary’ (ITV, 2007-2011)

Here’s to the glorious vampire race. Once mighty, now extinct.

Set in a large, perpetually dark would-be Gotham City, Dr. Helen Magnus (Amanda Tapping) has dedicated her life, all 157 years of it, to studying and protecting creatures few believe exist outside fantasy. Many would call them monsters but Magus counts several among her friends. She maintains an exotic menagerie in a gothic-style mansion where she’s assisted by her wild daughter Ashley (Emilie Ullerup) who travels the world capturing and bringing back new specimens, her butler (Christopher Heyerdahl) and Dr. Will Zimmerman (Robin Dunne) as the confused newcomer who’s there to ask the questions that need answering.

I don’t want to give too much away but this show is very fast-paced, full of gross monsters and supernatural villains that will have you hooked from start to finish.

Similarity Match: 85%
The creepy large house with frightening occupants is straight out of ‘Haven’, but ‘Sanctuary’ is based more of imprisonment than helping the townsfolk.

***
‘Under The Dome’ (CBS, 2013-2015)

Some say we’ll be stuck here forever, but we will never stop fighting to find a way out.

Another Stephen King adaption about an invisible and mysterious force field that descends upon a small fictional town of Chester’s Mill, Maine, USA, trapping residents inside and cutting them off from the rest of civilization. The trapped townsfolk must discover the secrets and purpose of the “dome” while coming to learn more than they ever knew about each other.

Okay, so this show can be very marmite as it’s not your typical good vs evil format. Full of suspense, conspiracy, and trouble, not only are the townspeople a huge focus here but so is the strange, possibly sentient force field that even the government itself doesn’t understand.

Watch it when you have loads of time, because I swear you’ll be hooked!

Similarity Match: 80%
The small town feel is the same, but this is all about the distrust between town folk and the government rather than the supernatural and the so-called human cops.

***

If You Like ‘Haven’, You Will Like…

Each of these TV series have one thing in common, weirder than ever small communities with rather large secrets. But if you’re more into Audrey’s quest to find out about her past, then these next two series like ‘Haven’ are for you, all about missing identities and forgotten childhoods.  

‘John Doe’ (Fox, 2002–2003)

Cure for cancer…. what am I going to have for lunch tomorrow? Beat’s me…so who am i?

A man (Dominic Purcell) who seems to know everything but his own name helps police solve crimes as he searches for his identity.

So what’s Doe doing to kill time while he unravels his own mystery? Unscrambling other peoples, of course. With a brain like Spock, a budget like Bill Gates (well, a small Bill Gates) and a personal crime lab set up in his fashionable loft that Batman would envy, he is a one-man CSI team. Incidentally, he gets along really well with the folks on the police force too.

It’s a shame it only ran for one season, as this show contained all the mystery and intrigue of ‘The X-Files’. With fast fighting scenes to detective skills Sherlock Holmes himself would be proud of, this is guaranteed to keep you guessing.

Like ‘Haven’, the main character’s past in unknown, but where this concerns itself with street crime, ‘Haven’ is all about the supernatural kind.

***
‘Blindspot’ (Sky, 2015- )

It feels like you’re waiting on me remembering something that I’m never going to remember.

A Jane Doe (Jamie Alexander) is found in Times Square with no memory and mysterious tattoos on her body.

Jane Doe doesn’t know who she is, but she has abilities not possessed by the average person. She’s vulnerable only in that she has no memory, and she doesn’t know who put tattoos over her whole body, addressed to the FBI. But, that is where her vulnerability ends. When threatened, Jane kicks butt as well as any man – actually, better than most.

Complete with a brooding FBI agent (Sullivan Stapleton), each episode is based around the team cracking Jane’s tattoos which consequently leads them to bigger cases.

Both shows feature women who can’t remember their past, but whereas ‘Blindspot’ shows us sneak peaks of Jane’s history, in ‘Haven’ we rely on Audrey to find out snippets of information.

***

The Truth is Out

With the exception of ‘The Gates’, the rest of these TV series are pretty spooky. Working outside the normal model, they break boundaries and really make us, as an audience, think instead of just watch.

What other innovative yet haunting series similar to ‘Haven’ have I missed?

Let me know in the comments below.

Hi ya, I’m Laura, a BA Creative Writing and Film graduate. A self-confessed geek, you’re normally find me tucked away in the back row at the cinema, with vast amounts of chocolate and surfing the net on my phone. A freelance writer specialising in digital marketing and audio, when I’m not creating new blogs, I’m trying to dream up my next big idea!
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