Being Human: Season Two
BBC Worldwide // Unrated // $59.98 // September 21, 2010
Review by John Sinnott | posted September 1, 2010
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"You're right.  The disembodied spirit of a dead woman is getting a job in the service industry, what could possibly go wrong?"
The Show:
The first season of Being Human was very enjoyable and showed a lot of promise, even if it was only 6 episodes long.  I was excited to see the second set of shows arrive on these shores so quickly and eagerly popped the discs into my player.  After watching them, I was a little disappointed that the show wasn't able to improve the second time around and the same weaknesses that were evident in season one are still present.  Events seem to happen at random, there are still no solid rules for what certain creatures can and cannot do and with the season being so short there's not a lot of time to really explore the characters.  On the plus side, the episodes are a lot of fun and the overall story arc is even more interesting in this season.  It's a good show that just needs to sand off a few rough edges.  

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.
Annie eventually becomes visible and solid (mostly unexplained) and this as the season starts she decides that she wants to get a job in a pub.  George has a girlfriend now, one that he accidently turned into a werewolf though he doesn't know it, and Mitchell is interested in a doctor at the hospital where he works, so Annie is getting a bit lonely.  Working at a pub is just the thing to get her to make some new friends.
The problem is that not everyone is happy that Annie is still on Earth.  There's some power that's trying to get her to pass on to the afterlife, making doors appear and sending the recently dead to attack her.  That's disconcerting to say the least, but it isn't a problem that her flatmates can really help her with.

There's also a shady organization that has taken notice of Mitchell and George.  They're intrigued that a werewolf and vampire would live together, and they want to study the pair.  But they also want to kill them, the question is just when.
This season had a lot of neat plot turns and some interesting concepts.  The humans that are watching Mitchell and George were much worse than the undead vampires the pair had to deal with in the first season.  The organization, convincing themselves that they were doing good, are much more cruel, calculating, and evil than any of the 'monsters' in the show are.  That was a nice comment on the nature of fanaticism and was one of the most interesting aspects of the season.  I was also happy to see that the show still had a fair amount of humor, even though this season is a bit darker than the first.  They strike a nice balance that works well.
The show is still hampered by deus ex machina-like plot twists and a break-neck pace.  [spoiler warning]  In these eight episodes George breaks up with his girlfriend, meets another girl, starts dating her, moves in with her, becomes engaged, and then breaks up.  Even if George was on the rebound, it didn't make sense that the new woman, with a kid no less, would want to move that quickly.  If they had time to develop that relationship over the course of 20 episodes, it would have seemed more natural. 

What's worse is the sloppy writing.  Don't get me wrong, when the show is good, it's great, but there are a lot of weak elements in the scripts and if they were eliminated the show would be a classic.  A lot of the events that happen in the show don't evolve from what's happened before, but are just random elements that propel the plot.  Annie is visible to regular people and solid, and then suddenly she's invisible again.  Forces are trying to make her cross over, and then they decide to leave her alone (as if the writers got tired of that sub-plot.)  There was a neat story involving George that unfortunately didn't pan out.  He decides to sedate and lock himself in a cage just before he turns into a werewolf one month.  It works, but the anger and violence that defines the werewolf starts to creep into his regular life.  He becomes angry and violent, until that plot isn't needed anymore and it's totally dropped.
That's not to mention the end of the final episode which has not one but two pull-it-out-of-your-hat plot twists that serve as a cliffhanger to get people to tune into next season's run.  These were both really lame and made the show seem a bit silly.  [end spoilers]
Having said all that, I did enjoy the show.  If you think about it too much the program does tend to fall apart.  If you can just get lost in the moment however, Being Human is a lot of fun.
The Blu-ray Discs:
The 8-episdoe second season arrives on three Blu-ray discs. 


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 several light-weight extras included in the set, which rounds out the collection nicely.  On the second discs there's Blood Bursting (8:51) that shows how the scene with the werewolf in the pressure chamber was created, The Caves (6:28) a look at the red sandstone caves where the Inquisition scene took place, Unleashing the Beast (7:02) a talk with the cast and crew about the subplot with George becoming violent when he sedated himself.  They explain that it's the wolf in him coming out, just in case you didn't get that from the show itself, and The Swinging Sixties (8:52) a look at the flashback that took place in the 60's.
Disc three contains Behind the Makeup (7:16) which introduces the makeup design team and takes a look on what they do and how they come up with the look of the show, Making the New Werewolf (11:05) a discussion of how they changed the werewolf costume for the second season and Train Carnage (7:30) a look at the very bloody train scene in the final (or was it the penultimate) episode.

Final Thoughts:
While I enjoyed this season a lot, I was disappointed to see that the problems that cropped up in the first season weren't addressed.  The show travels a bit too quickly, a side effect of the very short 8-episode season, and with a longer run each year it could be fleshed out to something really great.  As it is, this is an entertaining show that comes recommended.
Note: The images in this review are not from the Blu-ray disc and do not necessarily represent the image quality on the disc.

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