So, yay for me. I managed to watch an entire series of one of those TV shows that everyone’s been talking about. Being Human. I’m a bit late to it, of course, because I waited til the series had ended before watching it all in two big greedy gulps, but hopefully that’s a useful way to watch it because it stops continuity being spoiled by iffy memory.
Anyway, what did I think? Generally, I liked it. I thought it was well cast, well acted, with some great dialogue. The effects were unspectacular but (mostly) did they job, and I liked that the show didn’t rely on them. I also liked the British approach to the supernatural, wherein problems are solved over cups of tea rather than suddenly discovered uber kick-boxing skillz. I liked the way the menace of the bad vampires came from a Long Good Friday stylee sense of gangsterism rather than traditional vampire shtick. I loved the ghost stuff over the werewolf and vampire stuff, particularly the moody 80s ghost that Annie befriends. And generally it was absorbing, moving, compelling drama. All good.
But… I just think it should have been longer. The story was too compacted and the pacing was uneven. The lingering character close-ups were well judged but the story’s momentous events were over too quickly. This was a series that was told in two-thirds or even half the screen time that the story needed. The end result was a good character drama that didn’t give us enough time to each stage of the story before speeding on to the next. Mitchell’s storyline suffered most from this. The moral outrage over his relationship with the wee boy was on and off too quickly for us to believe his total washing-of-hands of humanity that motivated his return to the vampire fold. Equally, his sudden stumbling over their feeding supply and he’s flip-flopping again. Similarly, George’s relationship just didn’t have enough time to grow the way the narrative was telling you it had.
So, maybe the BBC said: You get six episodes, make it fit. It feels like that. A story pared down and crammed in. Hopefully series 2 will be either longer, or less ambitious. I’ll certainly be watching.
6 thoughts on “Being Human”
I went to a Q&A session with creator/writer Toby Whithouse earlier in the month; notes here.
That’s interesting, Una. Thanks for that. I see they’re planning on 8 episodes for the next season. That should definitely help.
Did you enjoy Being Human yourself, by the way?
I liked it in parts. I thought it was a brilliant premise, one that you see and go, “Yes, of course, why has nobody done that before!” I thought the individual stories worked much better than the arc: my particular favourite was the story about the Morrissey-loving ghost. (I like ghost stories, as you know!) So I was encouraged to hear that that the episodes in the next season would be more distinctive.
I think Russell Tovey (George) needs to dial back the performance quite considerably: I think he’s doing a theatre performance.
It did pretty much decide me that I’m not particularly interested in vampire stories – although it did make clear to me why!
Agree with you about Tovey. He’s very good, very watchable, but a little too Mr Nervous for my liking too.
And about vampire stories. There’s nothing – *nothing* – new anyone can tell me about vampires. But I’m not BH’s demographic – they’re clearly aiming at the Stephanie Meyer audience, so, you know…
And aye, the episodes with the Morrisey-loving ghost were my favourite.
I’ll definitely catch the next series. Some of the writing is excellent: the dialogue funny, the relationships touching. It was just so uneven. Hopefully they’ll be able to stir the lumps out of the custard next time.
I think the only show I’ve really liked about vampires was Ultraviolet… in which they’re never referred to as vampires. (Did you ever see that? Hugely recommended.)
And I did like Buffy for a while.
I missed Ultraviolet … as indeed I miss a lot of good TV because I simply don’t watch enough, but I heard it was very good.
I tried to get into Buffy, but found myself…*ahem*… rebuffed by my inbuilt aversion to teen high school storylines.
Strangely though, I did enjoy the original movie at the time. But that was mainly for Donald Sutherland.