Friday, April 30, 2010

TV Review: "Happy Town"

With "Lost" ending in 5 episodes, ABC has created yet another dark and enigmatic puzzler in "Happy Town."

Set in Haplin, Minnesota, "Happy Town" is sort of "Desperate Housewives," if it had been written by Stephen King. The story begins with the gruesome murder of the town's local perv and the arrival of Henley (Hostel II's Lauren German, looking like a young Milla Yovovich), who plans to open a candle shop in the town where her late mother once spent a lovely vacation - or so she says. Haplin was once plagued by a series of disappearances that lasted for 7 years, all attributed to the mysterious 'Magic Man,' who left no clues behind. But all has been quiet in Haplin for 5 years. That is until the murder and Henley's arrival.

Haplin's residents include the local sheriff ("Lost" alum, M.C. Gainey); his son Tommy (the ridiculously handsome Geoff Stults); Tommy's wife Rachel ("Dollhouse" doctor Amy Acker); pizza man Big Dave ("E.R." orderly Abraham Benrubi); bread factory owner John Haplin (Steven Weber) and town matriarch Peggy Haplin (the always amazing Frances Conroy). Throw in the mysterious Hollywood memoriabiliast Merritt Grieves (Sam Neill) and a host of character actors you are sure to recognize, and you have quite a cast.

I must admit, the pilot episode got me hooked, immediately. Who (or what) is the Magic Man? What's behind the mysterious halo-topped question mark graffittied all over town (and tattooed on Henley's shoulder)? Why is the third floor of the rooming house off limits? Who killed the perv and why? Who is Chloe and why does the sheriff's seemingly repressed memory of her drive him to chop off his own hand? Much like David Lynch's "Twin Peaks," "Happy Town" starts off with more questions than answers and introduces us to the unseemly side of a seemingly perfect American town. Your Uncle P, for one, can't wait to find out what's going on in Haplin, though I suspect it will be quite some time before we actually do so (if at all).

"Happy Town" airs on Wednesdays at 10 PM Eastern (check your local listings). **** (Four Stars out of Four).

More, anon.


Stephen said...

OK...I am going to give it a try, on your recommendation.

Stephen said...

BTW... I am in episode #1 of Twin Peaks.

Prospero said...

OK - now I have to go back and watch it.