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82 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Vampire Show on TV . . .
. . . and best werewolf and best ghost show on TV. Mind you, I like TRUE BLOOD and have even come to see the upside to THE VAMPIRE DIARIES, but both of those are enjoyable diversions with no real subtext (TRUE BLOOD gestures at subtext with its parallels with prejudice against all kinds of difference, but in 2010 that is a pretty worked over subtext and lacks power at...
Published on April 11, 2010 by Robert Moore

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad. Not exactly earthshaking either.
I decided to buy this based on all the reviews. It would have been OK to rent, but I did not find that it pushed my buttons enough to warrant buying it.

First, yes, it is a rather clever spin on the usual supernatural monster form. All three characters essentially remain human, even as their new state forces them away from humanity. So there is quite a lot...
Published on August 5, 2011 by WiltDurkey


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82 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Vampire Show on TV . . ., April 11, 2010
. . . and best werewolf and best ghost show on TV. Mind you, I like TRUE BLOOD and have even come to see the upside to THE VAMPIRE DIARIES, but both of those are enjoyable diversions with no real subtext (TRUE BLOOD gestures at subtext with its parallels with prejudice against all kinds of difference, but in 2010 that is a pretty worked over subtext and lacks power at this point). But if you want more depth of subtext and a more subtle narrative and richer character development and, well, less garishness, than this is a show you should check out. Not yet available in the U.S. on DVD and Blu-ray (every time I have checked on Amazon I've only seen an outrageously overpriced $70 Blu-ray that never seems to be available -- though if you have an all regions DVD player, you can order an infinitely more affordable edition from Great Britain, which I strongly recommend, I repeat, only if you have an All-Regions player). There are only six episodes in Season One and eight in Seasons Two, so the idea of paying over $10 per episode is rather offensive. But you can either catch the show on BBC America or on Region 2 DVDs.

The series starts when two orderlies at a hospital at Bristol decide to room together. What makes this desirable for them is that they are supernatural creatures. Mitchell is a vampire. Not a terribly old one by vampire narrative standards (less than a century old). George is a werewolf and on three nights a week has a rather violent transformation into a truly nasty beastie (and thanks to CGI his transformations are truly horrendous). Both of them are trying to pass as normal humans, and for economic reasons and simply because they don't want to live alone, they decide to find an apartment together. By happy circumstance, the apartment they find and move into is inhabited by an outrageously sunny and upbeat ghost named Annie. Together, the three of them try to lives that are as normal as possible.

The trouble is, the rest of the world doesn't want them to live normal lives. The vampire community (why does there always seem to be a vampire community?) wants Mitchell to return to the fold. They especially don't want him living with a werewolf. And meanwhile, the afterlife wants Annie to move on, into the light, and away from her human life. So their struggles are unusually rich and complex.

What made BUFFY and ANGEL so vastly superior to TRUE BLOOD and MOONLIGHT and THE VAMPIRE DIARIES and the TWILIGHT series (both novels and movies) was what they were able to do with the premises, with the metaphorical richness of the stories. TRUE BLOOD ends up being a glorious one-dimensional guilty pleasure show, all glorious surface with nothing beneath. BEING HUMAN is much more like BUFFY, with richly developed, deliciously articulated stories with timely cultural references. Mitchell's vampirism, for instance, is used less as a metaphor for homosexuality, as it is in TRUE BLOOD, but addiction and the difficulty of human self-control.

The show is driven by its appealing leads. Russell Tovey (George) will be perhaps best known from his appearance on DR. WHO and the movie THE HISTORY BOYS, but Lenora Crichlow (Annie) and Aidan Turner (Mitchell) are appealing newcomers. There are endless polls about who the hottest vampires are and if Mitchell were better known in the U.S. he'd almost certainly win them all. He is a spectacular incarnation of the really bad boy who wants to be good but for whom it is a constant struggle. George, meanwhile, is like the big silly family dog. There is meanwhile absolutely noting ghostly about Annie except that she can't be seen. She is dark complexioned, but if you had to assign a color to her personality, it would be yellow. Bright yellow. She is sunny and irrepressibly happy and upbeat. Any room she is in has no dark corners. In other words, the polar opposite of all of the stereotypes of ghosts.

SyFy has announced that they are developing an American version of BEING HUMAN. Hopefully they won't blow it. The BBC series is a great one. I am not opposed to an American version, as long as it is more like the American adaptations of THE OFFICE than other efforts. But even if it fails, it should be seen as a gesture towards the excellence of the original. But even if the American version turns out well, if you love extremely high quality shows dealing with the supernatural, you should definitely know the original. The only thing I hate about this show is that there have been only fourteen episodes to date.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "This does not rob me of my humanity. It proves it.", June 23, 2010
By 
trashcanman (Hanford, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Being Human: Season 1 (DVD)
"Being Human" is another of the UK's gifts to mankind and has thankfully been imported to our shores unlike the even more awesome Dead Set, which is still only enjoyable to Americans with region free DVD players. The sitcom premise (a werewolf, ghost, and vampire sharing a flat) of this one belies it's flair for the dramatic. Not that Being Human isn't funny; it's very funny, but I wouldn't qualify it as a pure comedy by any stretch. The heart and soul of this show is the relationships between the characters and the strength they are able to muster together outweighing their many individual weaknesses and failings. The British have certainly been gathering a lot of steam on the supernatural/sci-fi television front and soon they may overtake America's offerings altogether. Let's just hope this one lasts.

The cast, then. Mitchell is the classic brooding vampire cut from the Angel mold. That is to say he's a former hell-raiser who has turned over a new leaf and is attempting to live a "normal" murder-free life. But old habits die hard. Whereas many vamp stories of this nature equate the vampire's hunger with drug addiction, in Mitchell's case his seems to be something even more applicable in the males of our species: sexual desire. His victims are typically one-night stands, and his denial of responsibility is about to bite him in the rear even as his former comrades put designs in motion to bring him back into the fold. Annie is the best character in my opinion. She's an outwardly cheerful spirit who is trying to figure out why she has been unable to pass on and she desperately wants to make contact with her fiance, who has moved on in life. In my opinion, her journey is the most interesting and dramatic as she eventually learns that the very emotions that make her feel vulnerable and weak can also give her great power. Just a great lovable, and relatable character. George is a bit of a mixed bag. He's whiny, shrill, and annoying in a way I've never really seen in a lead character but that wussiness is juxtaposed with the beast he harbors within him, which makes it interesting. Every full moon he undergoes a grotesque and agonizing transformation into a monstrous wolf and then awakens the next day not knowing where he is or what he's done. It's very American Werewolf in London, but who can argue with the classics? The supporting cast may actually be stronger then the primaries. Mitchell's sire, Herrick, is the series' main villain whose desire is to lead the vampires in an all-out war with humanity and he is extremely well-played. Lauren is Mitchells' last "conquest" who comes back to haunt him and raises a bit og hell in his life and there's also a freeloading werewolf who takes to teaching George the finer points of living with lychanthropy as well as an apathetic gothpop-loving ghost who takes a shine to Annie. Even as these fellows of the characters teach them more about themselves, it becomes apparent that our heroes are not destined to succumb to the ways of their fellows and are in fact stronger and better for having each other to lean on even if it means being outcasts among their own kind as well as humanity.

The show is obviously very low-budget, but George's transformation scenes still look great. The wolf itself....well, it gets the job done and has very little screen time. The primary focus of the first season is on the vampires making their move and attempting to entice Mitchell into returning to the fold. George's attempted relationship with a co-worker who has some secrets of her own and Annie's struggle with coming to terms with the truth about her death are great secondary stories and flashbacks that tell the tales of Mitchell's exploits fill out the rest of the show, leaving just enough room for a little levity. The humor in Being Human is not as central as one would think, but it's very effective. George and Annie's confrontation with an office vampire who assures them that the only reason he hasn't ripped George's face off is because he just did "the hooverin" in there is particularly laugh-out-loud. Then there's Lauren attempting to menace George by telling him about the things that go bump in the night without realizing that he is a werewolf who rooms with a vamp and a ghost. Hard to intimidate that guy with scary stories. On the other hand there is some pretty devastating stuff in the show as well, such as an episode where Mitchell befriends a boy he saved from some bullies only to wind up being accused of pedophilia and be assaulted and harassed by the entire neighborhood. Not the kind of attention a group of supernaturals in hiding need. The balance between the character-based comedy and drama is nearly perfect at times. Plus, the title premise is a very strong one in that it leads us to question what it is that truly makes us human. It's a theme that is very common, but always compelling. Turns out that being a monster is just a part of being human. But you knew that already didn't you?

Being Human is not yet on the level of American shows like Buffy and Supernatural, but it isn't far off. The first season was a mere 6 episodes, but the amount that is accomplished storywise in that time is extraordinary. If they extended the seasons to at least twice that to make more room for character development and humor, I feel this could be one of the best shows out there, period. Good news is, season two is underway. Being Human is must-see tv for fans of supernatural/fantasy/sci-fi dramas. There is an American remake planned, but don't wait for the pale, watered-down imitation. Get with the real deal.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Where's the first episode?, July 30, 2010
By 
I bought this season and was rather disappointed to find that it is missing the pilot episode which was aired the year before the series was. I was unable to find any way to purchase the pilot episode and ended up viewing it on some Russian(?) video site. The series makes a WHOLE lot more sense if you watch the pilot first!
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I wanna be normal, April 29, 2010
This review is from: Being Human: Season 1 (DVD)
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 dramedy about a little supernatural gang trying to live their lives in an mundane world -- pretty good acting, a cool concept, and a slow-building plot about some rather ambitious vampires.

A youngish vampire named John Mitchell (Aidan Turner) and his werewolf buddy George (Russell Tovey) move into a nice rented house, and find themselves with a third roommate -- a ghost named Annie (Lenora Crichlow) who becomes almost solid as she hangs around the guys. George and Mitchell work a pair of low-level hospital jobs, and attempt to do normal things like date, go out to pubs, and keep house.

However, the trio still have supernatural problems to deal with: Mitchell is struggling to stay "on the wagon," George is in denial about his beastly transformations, and Annie longs to see her ex-fiance (as well as trying to find out what her earthly tie is). And they have to deal with enraged mobs, more ghosts, homeless werewolves, and the local vampire community (why are they in communities and the wolves are "alone"?), who are planning something major.

"Being Human Season 1" is one of those shows that isn't brilliant, but it IS clever and fun -- especially the whole idea of watching a werewolf, vampire and ghost trying to live "normal" lives ("What is it about us that says 'we need jam'?"). And the writers have some fun mocking the cliches of the urban fantasy genre (where else will you see a "little old lady" vampire?) while also delving into the painful issues of temptation, loss, and what it means to be human.

The first four episodes are a smooth mix of comedy and drama, with some hilarious dialogue ("Who looks in their salad cooler, sees their tomatoes are on the turn and thinks 'Oh no, I'll hang on to those in case some paedos move in opposite'?"). But there's a darker subplot about Vampires Seeking World Domination twined with the one-off plots. And in the fifth episode the storyline suddenly blossoms into a dark, harrowing little plot. Good stuff.

And the main actors do pretty good jobs -- Tovey is quite good as a geeky, mild-mannered werewolf who tormented by his inner beast, and Crichlow is very endearing as a fluttery, brave ghost. Turner is also good as a laddish vampire with a playful side ("The SHIN, George!"), but he doesn't quite have the punky anorexic glamour of Guy Flanigan (the original Mitchell... boy was he sexy!).

There really isn't enough vampire/werewolf stuff on television, and "Being Human Season 1" is a clever little addition to the genre. Not brilliant, but definitely fun.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best series of its kind!, December 13, 2010
By 
I will admit that I love everything vampire and werewolf (and I'm almost 40!), but I've gotten very tired of the insipid teeny-bopper shows that have less depth than a sheet of typing paper. Being Human deals with grown up issues and speaks to the angst of my generation. Very intelligent writing that utilizes subtle humor well and creates complex relationships that the viewer wants to be a part of!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Music from the original show is missing, July 27, 2010
This review is from: Being Human: Season 1 (DVD)
The show is fantastic, and those who saw the show originally on BBC America will be glad to know that the episodes on the DVD are the full 60 minute episodes, not cut for content and commercials. That's the good news.

There is bad news however. One of the great things about the show was the music. A3, Muse, Franz Ferdinand, all perfectly blended with the show. On the DVD that music is gone.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent series, January 18, 2011
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Unfortunately I ignored this series for a long time because I am not a big fan of British SciFi. The ads for the Scyfy channels's new take on this show piqued my interest & I finally watched it. Dah! Slap me in the forehead! This is a great series. The characters are great. I was a bit worried about Annie the ghost at first. I thought "why does the girl always get the weak power / part?" But Annie is not weak at all. I think all the characters are strong & well balanced. I actually saw the new version last night & (so far) this is the better series. I've watched a couple of episodes instantly but will buy the DVD too.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quickly bitten by the Being Human series, January 4, 2012
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This review is from: Being Human: Season 1 (DVD)
I got this as a gift for my daughter. Although I haven't watched the dvd yet, I did see the series. I was skeptical but was quickly turned into a fan. The performances are so believable and at times gut wrenching that I was quickly hooked. The actor who portrays Mitchel (the vampire) is currently filming Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit" so he has to be good.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad. Not exactly earthshaking either., August 5, 2011
By 
WiltDurkey (Vancouver, BC Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Being Human: Season 1 (DVD)
I decided to buy this based on all the reviews. It would have been OK to rent, but I did not find that it pushed my buttons enough to warrant buying it.

First, yes, it is a rather clever spin on the usual supernatural monster form. All three characters essentially remain human, even as their new state forces them away from humanity. So there is quite a lot of character development going on and some new looks at how a predator might interact with fellow humans. The 4 and 5 star reviews explain this way better than me.

However...

The ghost and werewolf both tend to get on my nerves.

The ghost is an almost comically dependent woman who is always upset and worried. Is it realistic, is it well-acted? Probably. Does it still get on my nerves? Definitely. Still, her story is the highpoint of this season's episodes.

Similarly, the werewolf is full of self-doubt and self-loathing. Again, like the ghost, one sometimes just wishes to shake some sense into him. The vampire is the most level-headed of the three by far.

My problem: the show is big about characters, and the characters get on my nerves...

The second objection I have is that there are way too many vampires, who kill lots of people, all the time. It beggars belief that humanity would not have noticed something very amiss. Having so many of them defuses the tension, they're just the neighborhood bullies in a gang.

Special effects: having perhaps not the greatest budget for effects, it probably would have been better to imply stuff more than to show it directly. Full-view shots of the werewolf are good, but it would have better to leave them out, showing him full on does little to further the show's atmosphere.

All in all, not a bad show, but not quite the masterpiece some claim.

***SOME NON-SPECIFIC SPOILERS***

The "bad vampires" are a major threat that slowly ramps up in scariness during the episodes. But the showdown with them falls flat - the special effects are just not that good and there is too much happening. With, again, too many vampires. It's a little bit of a rush job.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Who'd a Thunk It??!!!, January 28, 2011
This review is from: Being Human: Season 1 (DVD)
I admit that when I read the description of the show, I thought wearily, "Oh, no, not more vampires and werewolves. . .!" But I took a chance and am now totally addicted to this funny, sad, and gruesome show, which is expertly served up by its writers, producers, and cast. The US, as usual, has followed along with its own version, whose first episode I saw recently. It's not as good as the British version. It lacks the edginess, gritty feel, dirty language, and even honest sadness that, amazingly, found its way into the BBC original. The American version, as usual, is filled with people who are too pretty and resemble magazine models half-heartedly made up to look as if they aren't.

I blew through Season 1 and Season 2 - as I have a region-free DVD I was able to order a much less expensive set than is being offered here, and am now nothing short of desperate for Season 3 to come out.

Russell Tovey (George, a werewolf, probably the first ever one who is also Jewish), Lenora Crichlow (Annie, a ghost who can't figure out why she hasn't been able to "pass on") and Aidan Turner (Mitchell, a vampire trying to break the blood habit) are sharing a house in Bristol, trying hard to cope with their unsought-for and rather blighted supernatural lots, seeking some semblance of normal lives and companionship. The show's first great asset is how nicely balanced the three protagonists are: Mitchell is intense and sultry, George is earnest and conscientious, and Annie is haplessly, charmingly, guileless. The script does well playing the characters' quasi-normal issues off parallel ordinary life situations: love affairs, jobs, friendship tensions, crimes of the heart . . . . and playfully referencing real history and popular culture: the evil head of the local vampire chapter refers scathingly to Annie as "Casper" and talks about Darwinism to justify his intention of turning the whole world nosferatu; when the three flee Bristol for digs in a former hotel in Wales, Mitchell hits the bell at the front desk and snaps, "Basil!" (a reference to the legendary series "Fawlty Towers").

There are some genuinely touching moments - in one, Mitchell's life is saved, after a vicious "staking" leaves him bleeding to death in hospital, by a former lover of decades earlier. Now much older than he and dying of cancer in the same hospital, she refuses his offer of immortality but gives him her blood to staunch the life ebbing out of him. The writing is vastly superior to that of the American version - a flashback to the first meeting of elder vampire Ivan, and the future love of his very long life, Daisy, in a bomb-shelter during the blitz in London is well above the quality you will see in just about any American show, as is Daisy's despairing encounter with the infant daughter she left behind - now an old woman dying in hospital. When Laurel, a vampire created by Mitchell after, so to speak, falling off the wagon, cannot endure the loss of her old self in her new incarnation and insists that Mitchell help despatch her with a stake, one is truly sorry to see her leave the show.

There are a few glaringly unaddressed issues: why do some commonly held myths about vampires apply (religious icons fend them off, they must be invited in before they can cross the threshold of a dwelling place, etc.), while others don't, most notably that they walk around in broad daylight without being burnt to crisps.

But apart from easily overlooked nits, I enjoyed the series immensely. It was a huge hit in Britain and something of a cult hit here in the United States, and it is unfortunate that all the principal characters except for Lenora Crichlow left the show after Season 3. My friends and I, all converts, were quite devastated at the end of Season 3.
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