I’m wrapping up my “British Invasion” segment (because, sadly, this is the only other BBC show I’ve seen) with Being Human. Now, fellow Americans, let me clarify: this is not the show of the same title you may have seen on the Syfy channel. I’m talking about the original show, which first aired in the U.K. in 2008. From what I understand, the American version is the same basic premise, but the general consensus seems to be that the British version is just…better. I’ve only seen the BBC version, so I can’t really compare the two, but if you want to check out one of the versions and can’t decide which, why not just start with the one that came first?
I don’t remember why I decided to check out Being Human. It may have been a time when advertising was heavy for the American version, so I just got curious. Maybe I even meant to watch the American version, but I accidentally started the British one instead. Whatever the case, I distinctly remember starting the series with low expectations. So you can imagine my surprise when, after watching the first episode, I realized it was actually pretty good. With great actors and solid scripts, Being Human is definitely worth a shot.
Synopsis: “A werewolf, a vampire, and a ghost try to live together and get along.” –Borrowed from my favorite movie site, IMDb.
The Good: So the premise is the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever heard, right? I thought the same thing. But somehow, it just works. While vampires and werewolves are usually pitted against each other in the world of the supernatural, here they’re best buds in the form of Mitchell (Aidan Turner) and George (Russell Tovey). Shortly after moving into their new apartment, the two friends find out they’re being haunted by former tenant Annie (Lenora Crichlow). Luckily, she’s a friendly ghost—sometimes even a little too friendly. Moody Mitchell, worrywart George, and perky Annie quickly become as thick as thieves, supporting each other through the good, the bad, and the straight up weird. And with three supernatural beings in the apartment, there’s plenty of weird. But their purpose throughout the series is right there in title: they’re just trying to be human. The show does a good job of examining what that means, reaching surprising emotional depths while showcasing fantastic actors. Also, Aidan Turner is really pretty). Favorite moment: When George deals with vampire Herrick. One of the villains of the series, Herrick causes lots of trouble for George and his friends. Needless to say, George doesn’t like that very much. So, just as he begins to transform into a werewolf one night, he boldly locks himself in a basement with Herrick. It’s a great moment for George, who rarely gets to put his dangerous ability to good use. Plus, it’s an act that puts a lot of things in motion for upcoming seasons.
The Bad: If you had asked me how I felt about this show after watching the few seasons, I would have told you it was awesome. But now…well, sadly, it’s just not quite as good. I don’t want to spoil anything, but be warned: the cast does not remain the same. Sure, the new characters are great in their own way, but once the original cast starts disappearing, things just aren’t as fun. Even before these characters leave, something feels off. Their personalities change, making them almost unrecognizable from when we first meet them. Granted, they go through some serious stuff, so they’re bound to be affected somehow, but it doesn’t make the change any less disappointing and sad. Plus, particularly in a later season, the show gets caught up in a supernatural prophecy that gets a little ridiculous. The blend of the mundane and the supernatural is what makes Being Human great. When the show steps away from that and focuses solely on the supernatural, it loses some of its appeal. Least favorite scene: As I said before, I hate seeing the original characters leave. All of their exits are emotionally charged, which is good, but they’re frustrating—particularly for one character. No spoilers, but this character is absolutely put through the ringer, becoming a shell of his/her former self. The drastic change doesn’t seem right for a generally consistent, levelheaded character.
To Sum It Up: Though its greatness may taper off after the first few seasons, Being Human is still a good show. It has consistently good writing with a nice blend of comedy and drama. It has a cast of wonderful actors who play wonderfully quirky characters. And, best of all, it brings together the ordinary and the extraordinary in a way that is surprisingly clever. Being Human loses some of its sparkle toward the end, but that’s definitely no reason to count it out.
My Grade: B
One More Thing: I may be done with reviewing British shows for a while, but I do have some shows on my watch list! Current contenders are: Downton Abbey, Orphan Black, Torchwood, Misfits, and Luther. Any thoughts on which should come first and/or others I should add to my list? Let me know!