Being Human Review: Time For A Re-Vampire

January 9, 2010 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

4.5beinghuman300BEING HUMAN: Sunday 10th January, BBC3, 9.30pm ALERT ME

“The disembodied spirit of a dead woman is getting a job in the service industry. What could possibly go wrong?”

“I don’t have a girlfriend, all my family are dead and I clean up puke for five quid an hour.”

“You might tear someone’s throat out, but god forbid anyone can see your winky!”

These are a selection of stand-out quotes that reflect the juxtaposition of real life from the supernatural in sci-fi drama Being Human. From making herbal tea in the flat in one scene to preparing for a werewolf transformation the next, this programme combines reality with fantasy, comedy with tragedy and the normal with the downright insane.

Season one of the hit cult show, which ended with amiable werewolf George killing vampire Herrick who planned to turn the world into his own kind, sets the premise for the start of series two.George and housemate-come-vampire Mitchell are sitting in a pub, the former fraught over living with girlfriend Nina, who witnessed the murder of Herrick. “She saw you kill someone’ reminds Mitchell. Not the kind of conversation you’d have in a pub, discounting a bad day at the Queen Vic.

The similarities between ‘Being Human’ and a dark and twisted version of Eastenders don’t end there. When ghost Annie announces she’s applying for a job at a local pub, her housemates are dubious. But before you know it (after a comedic interview scene whereby she suggests a ‘climbing wall’ as a good addition to the place – them ghosts, they’re crazy!) she’s giving Peggy Mitchell a run for her money, pulling pints with a ‘mockney’ accent.

Nina, meanwhile, is the epitome of an Eastender’s character. Sure, she saw her werewolf boyfriend kill a vampire and (after being accidently scratched by George) is now a werewolf herself but is this really an excuse to walk around constantly miserable and on edge? A lengthy scene where she argues with cockney Tovey had me thinking I was watching Sonia and Martin, albeit a slightly more sophisticated version (no-one’s pushed down the stairs or announces they’re moving to Manchester). Then again, no-one’s ever announced in Eastenders, “You gave me the curse!” or “I’m a f**king werewolf!” Well, maybe Ian Beale (Have you seen his beard lately? Fail).

The opening episode also sees the introduction of two characters, Daisy and Ivan, who want to rid the world of supernatural beings. Ivan is big on his imagery, calling George by the name ‘Fido’ and dramatically stating to Mitchell on a roof top, “Taking out someone like Herrick is never clean. It leaves a wound, and wounds get infected,” resembling a scene from a psycho-thriller. ‘Crazy Daisy’ is just that, seducing strangers, hiding in trees and breaking into hospital wards with scissors. She along with Ivan have more to them than meets the eye, a fact surely to be explored in later episodes.

Dark and brooding Mitchell is ultimately the best actor in Being Human, even if he doesn’t do an awful lot bar moping in this episode. After George tells him he’s like, “A piece of dead furniture,” he decides to rectify his life by empathising with a nurse in the hospital unisex toilets with her troubled own, later on buying her a goldfish named Trevor as a keepsake/chat up gift. Sweet for a man who looks just he’s just come out of a medieval dual.

An ominous, biblical-style ending will leave you wanting more of this sci-fi hit and its eclectic but strong and well-written characters. Bring on episode two, if only to discover more about Trevor – there’s definitely something fishy about him.

Segun says:

Great review! The Eastenders observation was spot on. I felt exactly the same thing after watching the Nina emotefest, partly because this episode had the same feeling of unremitting misery as Albert Square. I felt disappointed by this episode and I hope the season will improve. One of the fantastic achievements of the first series was the balance between the inevitable hopelessness of their supernaturals’ situation and the lively bitterness of their jokes about it. We know that theirs is a situation without a happy end. What makes that knowledge bearable is the way that they deal with it. Despair without enough humour is just bloody Sartre. And he never wrote a situation comedy.

Please, scriptwriters, producer and director, don’t let “Being Human” be infected by the tedious humourless misery of the Twilight saga. If you must be influenced by the USA, let True Blood be your lodestone!

Jack says:

Good review! you should have put a spolier warning up though! 🙂