on September 21, 2011
Let me put it out there before I go any further; I have not seen the original BBC version of this show. I do plan on watching it at some point, but for the purposes of this review it is not necessary.
Being Human was an absolute surprise for me. When I first heard of it, because it was going to air on SyFY, I assumed it would be as Goofy as all the other shows that air on that channel. Not hating cause Eureka is one of my favorite shows ever. Being Human is nothing like that. It is able to hit just the right tone between the serious plotlines that make up the meat of the show, and the extremely important "lighter moments" that show character development.
The show is about Josh (werewolf), Aidan (vampire), and Sally (ghost), who live together in the same house and learn how to balance what they are with who they want to be. The characters that make up this world are not incredibly over dramatic (twilight) or insanely over the top (True Blood: The Complete First Season). This show manages to find an impressive balance between the two giving it a feel all its own.
The conflict feels organic as well. For Aidan, his past very long past is finally catching up with him, and he must decide between that past and his present. Sally struggles with no longer being connected, and also the loss of her loved ones. Josh desperately wants to be normal, but that is hard to do when every so often you transform into an uncontrollable killing machine. Each of these plot lines intersect at a certain point and they are handled beautifully.
While watching this series my father noticed one day, and sat down to see what all the fuss was about. I was half way through the season, but the show was so strong that every time it came on he would watch with me, despite having to struggle having not seen half the episodes. That is how accessible it is. At the end of the season, neither of us could wait for the next season to come out.
Being human is a wonderful show with characters who are incredibly human and are an utter joy to watch.
Having watched every season of the British hit "Being Human," I was a bit wary of SyFy's American reinterpretation. After all, for every successful translation (The Office) of a British gem, there are dozens of failed attempts (Coupling). While I'm sure that I will anger the many avid fans of the original show, I will say that its first season (for me) was wildly uneven. I enjoyed the progress into later years as the plotting became darker and more complex--but while the show had an initial charm, it wasn't perfectly formed right out of the gate. So I was open-minded to this reboot. While some loyalists will contend that it is an utter failure and some newbies will proclaim it is brilliant, I fall squarely in the middle. Once again, I find myself thinking this is a good show with the potential to grow into something far richer and more rewarding. The British version started as an enjoyment and turned into great television. I think that the U.S. version has the same opportunity.
For those new to the concept of "Being Human," it is perhaps one of the most unique and (let's admit it) most ridiculous ones on TV. In its outrageousness, however, it is completely irresistible! What if a ghost, a werewolf, and a vampire shared living quarters as best mates? You think the trials of tribulations of being young and attractive in the big city makes for great drama--try adding this supernatural component for a bit of fun. Sam Witwer has an intensity perfectly suited to the role of a tortured blood sucker. Sam Huntington has a goofy appeal as a befuddled werewolf. And Meaghan Rath is a serviceable and pleasant apparition. In my opinion, the cast between the two versions is on a relatively even playing field. I actually prefer Witwer in Season One, Rath is somewhat blander yet also less annoying, and Huntington (while incredibly likable) has a hard time measuring up Russell Tovey's pitch perfect creation. Don't get me wrong. I really appreciate Huntington's easy charm, but Tovey (with Sinead Keenan as Nina) give two of the most underrated performances on contemporary British TV.
The premise of the show is that the three roomies crave normalcy above all else. But it's not an easy road. The first couple of episodes stick very firmly to the British template, but then the scripts branch out in a welcome way. Primary plot points in this season include Huntington's courtship of a new girlfriend, Rath's investigation into her untimely death, and Witwer's political struggle trying to extricate himself from a vampiric organization. Witwer's plot line has the most meat and is very well done. With terrific character pieces by Mark Pellegrino and Terry Kinney, this arc is the primary reason to catch this incarnation of "Being Human." The trio of leads plays off one another with ease, but have yet to develop the chemistry of their British counterparts. All in all, though, I think the show holds promise and the potential to grow. If you've never seen the original, I think that you'll have much to appreciate here--if for no other reason, the concept is so strikingly different. For fans of the original, I suppose a mixed reaction is to be expected--but I, for one, was willing to go with the flow and enjoy myself. KGHarris, 9/11.
on November 13, 2011
I liked watching the original UK 'Being Human' but I wouldn't call myself a fan. I loved the show's concept and the over-arching plot kept me hooked all through the first season. Unfortunately it also had a lot of sketchy characterizations and unconvincing moments that can plague a high-concept show (especially one just starting out). While I wouldn't call this U.S. remake "better" than the original (and I'm not sure how necessary it is with the original still airing and available in the U.S.) it does manage to avoid some of it's pitfalls and is a pretty entertaining show in it's own right.
The story of 'Being Human' revolves around Vampire Aidan, Werewolf Josh and Ghost Sally who share an apartment while trying to lead normal "human" lives. All three have their weaknesses and much like original show their "conditions" are treated like curses instead of gifts (Aidan's still addicted to living blood, Josh can't control his transformations, Sally can't interact with anyone outside these two). The plot of this first season more-or-less follows the original's story with Aidan's conflicts with his mentor/tormentor Bishop (the vampire who turned him) fueling the best episodes. We do get a lot more exposition with this U.S. remake (being 13 episodes instead of the original six) and everything is played out a bit more reserved than the original show but it does lack some of the biting-humor and freshness the UK series had.
Much like the writing and directing, the characterizations in the U.S. 'Being Human' are dialed-down but I found them a bit more palatable (and likable). I was caring about Aidan, Josh and Sally right off the bat thanks to the performances by Sam Witwer, Sam Huntington and Meaghan Rath. The best performance comes from Mark Pellegrino as Bishop and the scenes between him and Witwer really crank up the suspense (especially in the season finale).
All in all I found the U.S. 'Being Human' a very entertaining show. If you're a fan of the original I can't say there's a lot to be impressed with here (and some of the changes will probably seem unnecessary) but if you're interested in the premise or just looking for a good supernatural series that isn't ripping off 'True Blood' or 'Supernatural' I'd recommend giving this first-season of 'Being Human' a chance.
I really enjoy this show- especially as far as the whole vampire/werewolf genre, which, in my opinion, has become a little tired. These three supernatural beings come together to live in a home as a sort of family and try to fit in- you could go pretty deep in analyzing some of the stereotypes and metaphors.
This is NOT a show for the kids. There are a few explicit(for television) scenes and lots of violence and blood flying- but come on, what do you expect from a vampire, werewolf and a vengeful ghost.
I do literally laugh out loud when I watch it sometimes. The characters are a little unexpected but realistically drawn.
Caveat: I have not seen the British version so I cannot provide a comparison there.
I would say to definitely give it a try. It is quite poignant in some places and hilarious in others.
What do you get when you put a ghost, a vampire and a werewolf in the same apartment?
No, there isn't a punchline, because it's not actually a joke (unless you really, really hate urban fantasy). It's the description of "Being Human," a bittersweet little drama about a little supernatural gang trying to live their lives in an mundane world. It starts off similar to the original BBC series, but soon branches off in its own dark direction.
Vampire Aidan (Sam Witwer) and his werewolf buddy Josh (Sam Huntington) move into a nice rented house in Boston. But they find themselves with a third roommate -- a ghost named Sally (Meaghan Rath) who was engaged to their landlord until she died. George and Mitchell work a pair of low-level hospital jobs, and attempt to do normal things like date, join the neighborhood watch, and pal around with kids.
However, the trio still have supernatural problems. Josh struggles to reunite with his family despite his lycanthropy, and has a relationship go very awry. As Sally struggles to deal with being dead, she discovers that her fiancee did something unspeakable to her. And Aidan's life is disrupted by the city's overlord, Bishop (Mark Pellegrino), who is planning something major for the vampire population -- and will allow no one to stand in his way.
The obvious question about "Being Human" is: how does it stack up beside the original BBC version? Well, it sticks pretty closely to the BBC series' storylines for the first few episodes, but with more episodes to flesh things out in, it branches out in some new directions, with some new characters and events introduced to the story (such as a little boy whose friendship with Aidan ends in tragedy).
And this series maintains much of the flavor of the original series: clever comedy based on the idea of three supernaturals living "normal" lives (Aidan vamps out during a family dinner) and personal drama, while also delving into the painful issues of temptation, loss, and what it means to be human. The entire season is cloaked in bittersweet reflection, especially since the characters' attempts to be "normal" keep tripping up.
As for the actors, they're all pretty solid. Witwer is all gothic dimply charm, and he wrenches your heart during some of Aidan's sadder moments; Huntington's Josh is an endearingly earnest nerd, but he does get a bit whiny sometimes; and Rath's Sally is pretty, flaky and has some issues with her relationships. And Pellegrino is wonderfully, silkily Machievellian as the leader of the island, Jacob... I mean, the leader of the vampires, Bishop.
"Being Human Season 1" is a pretty solid adaptation of the original BBC series -- dark, tangled and sometimes very sad.
on April 2, 2012
Except I don't feel guilty at all...I absolutely loved season one of Being Human! Here is a quick list that sums up how I feel about the series.
-The production value is superb for a show that is on Syfy, and the effects and makeup look fantastic for television.
-The three main characters (Aiden, Sally and Josh) are each fascinating in their own way. I ended up liking each one for different reasons.
-The chemistry between the main characters really pulled me in.
-The casting was perfect for all the main characters and supporting cast.
-The show stays true to the lore of the "creatures" while making changes that worked. Vampires can walk in sunlight, but I promise you that they won't sparkle.
-Having three protagonists to follow makes it very unique when compared to most series. (yes I am aware a just called a remake of a BBC series "unique")
(I could rave about other aspects of this show, but I only have one con and if I stack the pros too high I will simply look like a fanboy)
-I feel certain "lore" for the creatures wasn't explained well for people who have no prior knowledge of them in fiction. I'll point out my case by bringing up a couple scenes.
1) There is a scene where Sally (the main ghost character) appears and complains that some vampires tried to dissipate her with a fire iron. Now I personally know that iron is weaknesses to ghosts in fiction, but how the hell would the average viewer know what she is talking about?
2) The show clues the audience in very early that vampires must be invited in to a persons house or else they cannot set foot in the door. The only problem is that a reason isn't given. It isn't until the last episode that a vampire does this and he ends up getting burned pretty bad before running out of the house. Why would a vampire get hurt running into a house, but not when he walks into a hospital? How can this supernatural rule tell the difference between buildings?
(This isn't a common problem obviously since these are the only two scenes that come to mind)
I'll just finish by saying I really dug the hell out of this show and can't wait to pick up season two when it's out.
on July 6, 2014
Being Human Season 1 is an odd show. Developing the characters are difficult because the whole basis for the storyline is so unusual. A werewolf who ran away from home after being turned into one, a Vampire turned during the Revolutionary war, and a Ghost as main characters who through the "wisdom" of the aged vampire decide to try and live together and help each other to live as close to a normal human existence as possible. Vamps and werewolves are natural enemies making it odd, the Ghost a bit clueless yet they somehow bond as friends even though they don't really do a lot to help each other out in dealing with their own form of difficulties in being a monster trying to be more human. Somehow the writing is good enough that it held my interest enough to watch it. There are some interesting twists introduced in the stories that you really would never think of unless thinking of this in a comical situation, but it isn't a comedy. I'm not really sure what it is, but season one fumbles through each of them living together frequently enough to at least become a support system to each other in their attempts to be human when not. In doing so it develops enough that it held my interest through the first two seasons. Since SyFy only makes 13 episode seasons character development is something that has to occur as the story develops because there aren't enough episodes to give us any background and so it is written into episodes as flashbacks and fragmented memories of the past, and the present as the past intersects with the present. I'm watching the third season now, so the show has held my attention through not with the enthusiasm of most SyFy shows I like. But I do keep watching, there is a unique aspect to the show that no other has touched on and has its entertaining moments. It is different, and good enough that I've watched it. If not for being able to stream it I NEVER would have made it through the first season on TV. But streaming you get your answers faster so shows that aren't as good deliver faster just because your watching them back to back from historical seasons. I think that is the saving aspect of Being Human is that I'm streaming it and able to watch a season fairly quick so it holds my attention. I doubt it will win any awards and am actually surprised it lasted 3 seasons, but as I said, it does have its moments.
on May 11, 2012
I bought this as I was having withdrawals after finishing Season 4 of the original British show. I have to admit, I'm only half way through this first season but I'm struggling as I'm only finding it "OK".
I do think the actors portraying Aidan and Josh are great and although I started off comparing them to Mitchell and George, I stopped almost immediately as they definitely hold their own and are very well cast. Mark Pellegrino (Bishop) is also worth watching. I'm not quite convinced by the actress portraying Sally as yet but being used to the fabulous Lenora Crichlow as Annie is probably swaying my opinion here. She just doesn't have the same charm. It is also bugging me that they've put Sally in an almost identical outfit to Annies?!
The first couple of episodes did make me cringe slightly as I found Josh's sister and the character of Cara to be highly annoying and irritating but that said, it definitely got better by episodes three and four.
I'm going to persevere and finish the season as it definitely has potential. If you're like me though and a serious fan of the original, you'll probably find it does fall flat to start off with.
on January 21, 2012
Im also a big fan of the original 4 season BBC series, which if you like this one, you should try to see. But unfortunately, this ScyFy Canadian/American version will invariably draw comparisons to the original series. However, the shows creators have stated that while the first season will draw on a similar story arc, it will diverge dramatically plot-wise with season 2 (which so far as Im viewing it has) particularly since this show will have twice as many episodes per season as the original, which will allow for better characterization and storylines. Excellent casting, particularly the role of the vampire Aiden. I was highly skeptical from the beginning of this season that it would be any good; well it has proven me wrong. The show's creator, Toby Whithouse, has stated that this show is set in the same 'Being Humanverse' as the British one, which helps to give the show originality and its own standing. Highly recommended for those who love supernatural drama and horror.
on February 28, 2013
This is a great series on SyFy. It is an import from the BBC version, if you have watched the BBC version, the SyFy version in the first season is extremely similar (slight variations, season 2 is really where the 2 shows start to vary).
This is a little bit bloody (what show with vampires isn't), and can get a little bit violent at times. The story line is very much adult and really is not suitable for young kids or even early teens.