A werewolf, a vampire, and a ghost walk into an
apartment. No, there's not a punchline,
that's the premise of a BBC show that's being imported to the US, Being
Human. The show is obviously
viewers because vampires are a hot commodity now, and yes, the three
supernatural characters are good guys, like in Twilight, True Blood, and other
current series, but this program manages to take a slightly worn
make it fun again. While the six-episode
first season starts off a bit slow, but by the time the set wraps up
will be wanting more.
Over 90 years ago Mitchell (Aidan Turner) was turned into a
vampire on the battlefields on WWI Europe.
Today he finds himself sharing a flat with George (Russell
was bitten by a werewolf six months earlier.
The apartment itself is haunted by Annie (Lenora Crichlow) who
a flight of stairs a little while back and woke up to find herself
invisible, and unable to communicate with anyone. Being
supernatural creatures, Mitchell and
George can see and hear Annie, which is a great relief to her, and the
become the best of friends.
Things aren't so simple however. While
Mitchell can go out in the daylight he
does struggle with his urges to drink blood, and George has to lock
away one evening a month so that he won't kill anyone.
It's hard to live a normal life under
circumstances like that, but the alternative is being hunted like a
The three all have different personalities, but generally
they get along well. Annie is still in
love with her fiancée (who own the flat but moved out after
Annie died) but
hates his new girl friend, George just wants to be as normal as
Mitchell just wants to avoid the vampire group that lives in their city. Circumstances have a way of interfering
however. A fellow werewolf with a
different outlook on being a lycan tracks George down, the vampires are
planning something and are forcing Mitchell to choose sides, and Annie
find out what she needs to accomplish before she moves on.
This is one of those shows that gets better as it goes, with
each episode being better than the previous one. It
starts out a little bit odd... there's no
introduction to how the three came together or why, it just gives
basics and starts with the first story.
That's probably because there are only six episodes in this
season. That's the show's greatest
weakness because the overall plot zips along at breakneck speed and the
characters don't have much time to develop at a more natural pace. That makes some of the changes that the leads
go through seem a bit abrupt and unbelievable.
Annie, for instance, goes from being invisible to people, to
to be seen, to transparent again and back to visible over these six
episodes. Yeah, there are reasons given
for each change, but it seems like the writers are just changing her to
the current plot. That's not the
case. It was all part of the characters
evolution and it there had been three or four episodes between changes
have seemed fine. That was just one of
the compromises that had to be made when having such a short season. If you just assume some time passes between
episodes, the show flows much better.
While I didn't like some of the changes that they made in
vampires (they can go out in daylight, they
are not especially strong, but they still
have to ask permission before entering a house) the way werewolves are
portrayed is excellent. One episode
begins with George transforming along with narration describing what's
happening to his body. He basically has
a heart attack and his organs stop functioning as they double in size,
bones are broken and reformed, and he feels it all.
The only time he stops screaming is when his
lungs stop functioning and he can't manage a breath.
The transformation is well done too, relying
on makeup and prosthetics rather than cheap CGI. That
was a great decision. Much of the budget
SF and horror shows/movies are using CGI for their monsters and it
nearly as good as well crafted old school costumes.
Being a recent series, this show was recorded in HD and the
1080i (why not 1080p?) VC-1 encode looks very good but isn't a
disc. There is a lot of detail in both
the foreground and background, and the flesh tones and colors come
on the screen. The image 'pops' a good
deal, especially in the exterior scenes, but there is some loss of
low light scenes or areas where black predominates.
There image is a bit soft at times, and there
was just a tad of digital noise in a few places (the sky, large areas
bright color is present) but this was very minor. Overall
a nice looking show.
Viewers only get a stereo mix, which is fine for this type
of show. Though there's three
supernatural being as leads, there aren't many action sequences and the
a subwoofer channel isn't a big deal at all.
The show makes some use of the front soundstage but the dialog
centered on the screen, which is too bad.
Aside from that the show sounds about average.
There are optional English subtitles.
There are several light-weight extras included in the set
(all in SD), but the main thing I was looking for, the pilot show that
different cast, is sadly missing.
Including that would have really made this an excellent set and
omission is a grave error.
So what do we get?
There are a series of deleted and extended scenes, a couple of
quite good and should have been included in the final show (I assume
cut due to time), and a series of video diaries (15 min.) where the
about the show between takes. There are
also a series of short featurettes, which were all worth watching but
them really raised above the 'mediocre' level.
These include some character profiles, Vamping it Up
(four minutes on the way vampires are portrayed in
this series), and interview with creator Toby Whithouse (7 minutes) and
the locations, costumes, stunts, and a nice look at the werewolf
(which I though looked pretty good.)
These run from 2-10 minutes.
When I first popped this show in, I thought it was a bad
joke quickly cobbled together to take advantage of the current craze
vampires. A couple of episodes in
however I realized that I was wrong and that Being Human was a
carefully thought out show. The biggest
problem is that the season is only six episodes long and the plot
little too fast because of that. If you
can look past that minor flaw this is a great show to get lost in. Highly
images in this review are not from the Blu-ray disc and do not
represent the image quality on the disc.