Stormtrooper Terry

Stormtrooper Terry

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tales from the Tube: The Premier of Happy Town

Haplin, Minnesota seems like a great place to live. There haven't been any serious crimes there in five years, and thanks to the giant bread factory, the entire town smells like bread. How wonderful is that? (Although, I do know someone who would probably be driven mad with envy by that since eating bread would, like, kill him.) Like all paradises, however, there's a catch; before that five-year crimeless spree began, there was a span of twelve years where one person would disappear each year, taken by "The Magic Man," who, although the disappearances stopped, was never caught. And, like all paradises, it must come to an end; shortly after the show opens, Haplin, or Happy Town, as it is called, is faced with a particularly grisly murder where the town pervert had a large metal spike driven into his head.

Happy Town does a decent job of setting up it's main mystery, as well as a lot of little mysteries as well that, presumably, will tie into the big one before its all said and done, and in the spirit of things I'll try to stay as spoiler-free as possible. There's the sheriff, played incredibly well by M.C. Gainey, who seems like he knows a lot more than he lets on and might be cracking under the pressure of that knowledge; there's the older, distinguished gentleman who just opened up a movie memorabilia store called "The House of Ushers" (and you just know nothing good can possibly come from invoking that name) who is played to a creepy perfection by Sam Neill, who absolutely stole the show; and there's the new girl in town, Henley, played by the beautiful Lauren German, who, I suspect, might be one of the keys to the whole affair. The show is filled with other characters as well, all of whom were suitably quirky and engaging, but these three were, to me, the stars of the night. I do hope Amy Acker, whom I adore, will be given a chance to shine as the sheriff's son's wife. If she isn't, I will be very sad.

All of those good, quirky characters are part of the one problem I had with Happy Town last night: there are so many characters that it was hard to get a feel for most of them, with a few exceptions. With good characterization as the show continues, though, that should stop being a real problem and become a problem more along the lines of having a surplus of pitching on your baseball team; you can never have too many pitchers, and you can never have too many well-developed and engaging characters. Just look at Lost.

The questions that Happy Town gets you asking are "Who is the Magic Man?" and "Is he really back?" The real question you ask yourself at the end of the premier, before you even tackle those questions, is "Did this make me care enough to come back every week and find out?"

For me, the answer is a resounding "yes."

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