After an okay-but-not-great second season, BBC 3's supernatural drama Being Human hits its stride once again in season three. Arguably the best season yet, the show builds on what has gone before and expands on earlier themes nicely, while also coming up with some interesting predicaments to throw at the cast. If you were afraid that the show had jumped the shark somewhere in season two, it turns out that's not the case at all.
Over 90 years ago Mitchell (Aidan Turner) was turned into a vampire on the battlefields of WWI. Today he finds himself sharing a flat with George (Russell Tovey) who was bitten by a werewolf two year ago, and the apartment itself is haunted by Annie (Lenora Crichlow) who fell down a flight of stairs a little while back and woke up to find herself dead, 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 three become the best of friends. George gets a girlfriend along the way, Nina Pickering (Sinead Keenan) and he accidently turns her into a werewolf too. Together the four of them try to live a normal life, or as normal as one can if you're a vampire, werewolf, or ghost.
Warning: there are spoilers to the first episode in this review.
At the end of the previous season Annie becomes the victim of an exorcism and is thrust into the afterworld against her will. Added to that is the fact that Mitchell fell off the wagon, so to speak, and he and an old vampire girlfriend murdered 20 people on a train. Both of these events play a large part in this season.
Overcome with remorse for what he has done, Mitchell concentrates on getting Annie back for purgatory. She's able to occasionally talk to her friends via a TV tuned to an off station, and it's clear that she's very scared and thinks that she'll be sent to hell soon.
With Nina and George's help (who have taken jobs at a nearby hospital) Mitchell is present when a terminal patient dies and a passes with him through the door into purgatory. There he encounters Lia, one of the women whom he killed on the train. She guides him through events in his past and eventually makes a deal with him: Mitchell can take Annie back, but the price is that he will die. He'll be killed by a werewolf.
With Annie back and the group settled into their new living quarters, an old Bed and Breakfast with a nice cellar space perfect for locking up a werewolf. Things aren't quite for long though. George encounters a pair of werewolves just before his monthly transformation, and seeks their help when Nina finds herself in an interesting predicament. This father and son pair, Tom (Michael Socha) and McNair (Robson Green) have survived by keeping on the move, living rough out of a van. They also hunt vampires, which makes them more than a little suspicious of George since he's living with one.
The main story in this season however is the upshot from Mitchell's train killings. With the vampire hierarchy totally dismantled there isn't anyone who can hush up the atrocity and the vicious crime has been splashed across all of the newspapers. Mitchell dares not tell his friends that he's responsible, even though he's wracked with guilt. The vampire also has to worry about the prophecy coming true, and he's not sure if his friend George will kill him or if it'll be McNair. The pressure from all of this starts to take its toll, and Mitchell ends up making some decisions that may not be for the best, putting not only himself in danger, but also his friends.
The weak writing that hampered the second season has been eradicated for the most part. There are still a couple of deus ex machina-like plot twists, but these aren't as frequent, or as major, as in the previous set of shows. The story flows nicely this season, with events building upon previous happenings in a natural and realistic manner. That was a very nice change.
The best part of this season is the guest appearances by Robson Green. If you know the actor from his work from Wire in the Blood, you'll be surprised at how different this character is. No longer a troubled man who gets lost in his thoughts, McNair is a man of action, violent and forceful. Quite a different role but Green is excellent and really brings the werewolf to life.
The Blu-ray Discs:
The 8-episode third season arrives on three Blu-ray discs, nicely contained in a two page 'book' with a slipcase.
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 reference disc. There is a lot of detail in both the foreground and background, and the flesh tones and colors come across well on the screen. The image 'pops' a good deal, especially in the exterior scenes, but there is some loss of detail in 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 where one 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 lack of a subwoofer channel isn't a big deal at all. The show makes some use of the front soundstage but the dialog is mainly centered on the screen, which is too bad. Aside from that the show sounds about average. There are optional English subtitles.
There are a couple of light-weight extras included in the set, but nothing too interesting. All of the bonus items are located on disc three. First off we have 11-minutes worth of deleted scenes. Most of these are actually just extended scenes and they don't really add much to the plot or story. I was pretty underwhelmed. There are also a set of cast interviews that run about 20 minutes. Again, these didn't add much to my understanding of the show or reveal any interesting behind-the-scenes anecdotes. The bonus section is wrapped up with a tour of the new house set hosted by Sinead Keenan. This was cute, if fluff. It was apparently filmed during the crew's lunch break and it was funny to see so many people sneaking naps in on the beds used in the show.
After a disappointing second season, it was great to see this show bounce back and tell some meaty, interesting stories once again. Things change a lot in this set of shows and its set up an interesting situation for what promises to be a very exciting fourth season. I can't wait. Highly Recommended.