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Being Human: Season 4

BBC Worldwide // Unrated // January 15, 2013
List Price: $59.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by John Sinnott | posted January 26, 2013 | E-mail the Author
The Show:


 


In the fourth season of Being
Human
everything changes.  I don't
mean that the three main characters, a ghost, a vampire, and a
werewolf, move
to a new house.  I mean most of the main
characters leave the show.  Is this
program up to the Herculean task of convincing viewers to stay with the
show
even though their favorite character is no longer in it? 
Nearly. 
They make a valiant effort to keep the feel of the show and
include some
interesting twists, but the show does take a step backwards overall.


 


As long time viewers will recall, at the end of season three
George (a werewolf) fulfilled a prophecy by killing Mitchell (a vampire
and his
best friend), and started a war with the vampires. 
His girlfriend, Nina (a werewolf too), also
revealed that she was pregnant. 


 


[Warning:  There will
be spoilers to the first episode in this review.]


 


As season four opens, about a year has passed.  Mitchell
is still dead, but so is Nina,
beaten to death in an alley by a group of vampires soon after giving
birth to
her daughter.  This has sent George into
a deep depression.  He's nearly
catatonic, never leaving his daughter's bedroom, standing guard over
her with a
stake in his hand since he's sure the vampires are coming for her too.style=""> 
He's so despondent that he hasn't been able
to name the girl.

 


Meanwhile the vampires have decided to make their play. 
The Old Ones, the most aged and powerful
vampires in existence, have decided to take over the world.style="">  They are traveling across the sea to w:st="on">England
(since
the only place you can start a world conquest is on an island
apparently) and
when they arrive they are going to start in Barry (of all places) and
slaughter
everyone in sight until humanity crumbles. 
The vampire rulers of w:st="on">England
need a tribute to pay the Old Ones when they arrive, and they settle on
giving
them a werewolf, a very special one.  
The only product of two werewolves breeding while in their
werewolf
state:  George's child.


 


That's the plan, and it only gets better when the Vampire
Recorder, the one in charge of all arcane knowledge, discovers an
ancient
prophecy.  On a parchment made of human
skin, he discovers that a child born of two werewolves will be
mankind's
savior, the one who destroys all of the vampires.  While
he only has two thirds of the scroll,
he's certain that killing the child will avert this disaster.style="">  What a magnificent gift to give the Old Ones.


 


The first episode also jumps over a decade into the future,
where a young woman is leading the rebel forces who are fighting the
vampires.  In this dystopian society,
vampires have
taken over almost the entire world and only a few humans remain free to
fight.  At great cost, the young leader
has the third part of the prophecy stolen but reading the entire
prediction
leaves her troubled.  She realizes that
she has to be killed, and from purgatory she can reach back into the
past in
order to have George and Nina's baby killed.


 


The first thing that she does is contact an old man, Leo,
who happens to be a werewolf.  He's
dying, and the next time he changes will probably be fatal for him, and
this
mysterious girl contact him through a radio and tell him to take his
housemate,
who happen to be a ghost and a vampire named Tom, to Barry to visit
mankind's
savior.


 


After the visit, Tom ends up staying in Barry with Annie,
and they're joined by Hal, a werewolf who hunts vampires (who was
introduced
last season).  Together they need to keep
the young child safe, which is going to be hard to do with vampires and
assorted
supernatural killer sent by the dead woman from the future all out to
do her
in.


 


Replacing just about all of the regulars on a show is a
daunting task, but the writers came up with an interesting way to do it:style="">  they made the stakes so high that viewers
(hopefully) won't mind.  The overall plot
that runs through this season is major. 
With the survival of humanity at stake you don't get much bigger
than
that, but there were some problems.  A
big flaw is that the resolution of the story is pretty easy to see from
the end
of episode one.  Who could that
mysterious woman who is leading the resistance possibly be???style="">  After seeing the last section of the prophecy
why would she want to kill a little girl in the past? 
Hmmm...


 


Aside from that, it was a decent season with some good
episodes and some not-so-great installments. 
In the latter category is the episode where a ghost appears and
flatters
Annie into letting him stay with the new group. 
He instantly starts to pit the housemates against each other in
a
simplistic and predictable way.  "It's nice
the way you don't get angry when Annie treats you like that.style="">  Others would take offense at being spoken to
like a dog, but I can see you're above that." 
They all fall for it, of course, and it made the characters seem
more
stupid rather than vulnerable.


 


Luckily, the good shows outweighed the bad ones.  Some
highlights include Puppy Love, where Allison, a geeky
teenage werewolf, tracks down
Tom and the two of them hit it off while hunting vampires. 
Ellie Kendrick is magnificent in the role of
Allison and the only flaw is that she was more interesting that the
main
characters in the show.  I hope she
returns next season.  Another standout
episode features Adam, the 47-year old teenage vampire who made an
appearance
last season, returns. This time he has a teacher from his boarding
school in
tow, and they decide to hide from the press in Annie's house.style="">  Craig Roberts is hilarious as the perpetually
horny teen.  He's so crass and uncouth
that it's impossible not to like him.


 


Another supporting character who steals every scene she's in
is Laura Patch.  She plays a strange goth
woman who sits in the café where Tom works and writes incredibly bad
poetry
while dreaming of becoming a famous author. 
Her over the top performance was hilarious and she made the
otherwise
mediocre episode very enjoyable.


 


And that brings me to the main problem with this
season:  the supporting characters were
much more interesting than the new regulars. 
Yeah, Tom and Hal are likable I guess, but neither of them has a
chance
to shine.  Hal seems like a throwback to
Mitchell from the first season, always worried about killing a human,
and while
Tom is a different character when compared with George, he never really
grows
on you. 


 


The Blu-ray Disc:



 


The 8-episode third season arrives on three Blu-ray discs,
nicely contained in a single-width standard Blu-ray case.

 


Video:


 


Being a recent series, this show was recorded in HD and the
1080i AVC 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.


 


Audio:


 


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.


 


Extras:


 


This set comes with a full compliment of bonus material, and
some of it is very good.  Starting off
with the best, there are three short 'prequels' that fill in some
background
information on Tom, Leo, Hal, and the Old Ones. 
You don't have to watch these before this season but it helps
flesh out
some of the characters and answers a few minor questions. 
I especially liked the installment where we
discovered how Hal ended up flipping burgers in a café.


 


In addition there are several interviews with people
involved in the show on both sides of the camera including
writer/creator Toby
Whithouse, producer Philip Trethowan and actors Damien Molony (Hal),
Lenora
Orichlow (Annie), Michael Socha (Tom) and Russell Tovey (George).style="">  There's also a behind the scenes featurette
that's broken up into six parts (but no "play all" option
unfortunately) that's
a bit light but still entertaining. 
That's followed by a trailer for the show and 7-minutes worth of
deleted
scenes.


 


What's more interesting is what they don't include. 
The case says that there is a "Sequel"
included, but I couldn't find it on the discs. 
Maybe it's an Easter Egg that's cleverly hidden... though you'd
have to
ask yourself why they hid it.  The
biggest omission is the web-series Becoming
Human
, an 8-part story where Adam enrolls in a boarding school and
has to
solve a murder mystery (with the help of the ghost of the victim).style="">  It's still available on the BBC's web site,
but viewers in the US
can't watch it because the content is blocked. 
Since Adam makes an appearance in this season after the events
of his
web-based story, it would be nice if they had thrown that on too.


 


Final Thoughts:


 


While I did enjoy this season, and recommend that fans of
the show seek it out, it does feel like it's lost its way. 
The major character changes didn't help the
show and the overall story, while epic, was told with as much finesse
as I
would have liked.  Having said that, the
individual episodes were all fun to watch and I don't regret sitting
through
these shows at all.  I just hope things
improve next season (which will start in March in the w:st="on">UK.)style="">  Recommended.
Buy from Amazon.com

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