Being Human: The British TV Invasion Continues

Quote of the Day: "They had this look, like everything they do in between is just sleepwalking and it's only for those few moments that they are totally and truly alive. And there's part of me that would give anything to feel like they did." -- George in Being Human

A ghost, a vampire, and a werewolf move into an apartment together. Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, but actually it's the premise of a British television series that is quite good and worth watching.

If you're looking for some fun, fantasy entertainment, the Brits have been on a roll lately -- Doctor Who, Torchwood, Primeval, and now Being Human. They've figured out that speculative fiction can be an escapist thrill-ride and a metaphor on the human condition, both at the same time.

Who would have thought that monster cliches could be such interesting characters, exploring the very nature of what it means to be human? The ghost, Annie, played by the lovely Lenora Crichlow, is heartbroken and lonely, having died too soon, doing what she can to reconnect with her living boyfriend. The brooding vampire, John Mitchell, played by the charismatic Aidan Turner, is caught in a struggle over his physical craving for blood and his conscious desire to be "normal," rejecting the notion that he's a monster and doing his best not to cross the line. George Sands, on the other hand, played by Russell Tovey, is the newly turned werewolf, who still has far to go to accept what he's become -- he suffers from survivor guilt after a friend of his was killed in a lycan attack which made George a beastly shape shifter every time the moon is full. He also is appalled to know that the world is full of dangerous creatures and even more disgusted to learn that many of them seem to relish the dark side of their nature.

The title of the show indicates the writers' intention to use the fantasy elements to explore what makes us all human. As John says at one point during the first episode: "I've got this friend. He says the human condition, the human nature, 'being human' - is to be cold and alone. Like someone lost in the woods. It's safe to say he's a 'glass-is-half-empty' kind of guy. And I see nature differently."

It's a classic fairytale look at good and evil, plus all the shades of gray in between. All of that might sound like the show is full of heady, boring stuff, but there's a lot of humor and excitement thrown in for good measure.

Check your television listings and tune in to Being Human on BBC America if you get the chance and judge for yourself.


MediumRob said…
Sorry to be pedantic, but haven't you got Mitchell (the vampire) and George (werewolf played by Russ Tovey) the wrong way round?

I loved Being Human when it aired over here and built up quite a few articles about, including a Q&A and an embedded video with the original pilot episode if you're interested. It's well worth watching, even if it does have a different cast, since the series follows on straight from it.
Nick said…
You're probably right, Rob! I'll have to check that out and correct it if I got the names mixed up! Yikes! Thanks for the correction. And thanks for the links to the additional information.