Being Human (UK Version) Review

Being Human (UK Version) is a 2008 supernatural horror drama television series created by Toby Whithouse, starring Lenora Crichlow, Russell Tovey, Aidan Turner, Sinead Keenan, Michael Socha, Damien Molony, Kate Bracken, and Steven Robertson.  The series follows a ghost, a werewolf, and a vampire who all share accommodation and attempting as best as they can to live a “normal” life.


Positives:

  • Well-written characters
  • Good score
  • Great performances by a talented cast
  • Interesting story
  • Great special effects

Negatives:

  • Flaky writing
  • Silly subplots

Plot: The premise of the series follows George (a werewolf), John (a vampire), and Annie (a ghost) who try to live together and get along.  But the road to living an “ordinary” life is troublesome as each has to deal with their afflictions as well as the supernatural society around them.  The story is pretty compelling, focusing on these characters as they build a life together while coming to terms with themselves and others like them.  There are some pretty good storylines but there are some pretty stupid ones.  One of the girls kills herself in the future, then uses the afterlife to time travel into the past to prevent a future in which vampires rule.  Interesting, yes.  The execution, not so much. Or when the group had to stop the devil from killing everybody.  Despite this, the show can tell some pretty compelling stories, especially when it comes to the characters’ personal stories.  (3 out of 5)

Characters:  There are a lot of great characters with a lot of personality, interesting backstories, and great interactions.  The main cast of the first season is John Mitchell, a vampire, and George Sands, a werewolf, who decide to move in together when they discover their home is haunted by Annie Sawyer, a ghost.  Mitchell and George are interesting characters and they have their parallels that balance them out.  Annie is honestly the heart and soul of the group.  When it gets to the later seasons, the main cast switch to Tom McNair, a werewolf, Hal Yorke, a vampire, and Alex Millar, a ghost.  And like the original, the three do a great job of balancing each other’s personality.  Annie and Alex are perhaps the most tragic of the cast as both were killed.  Hal and Mitchell have particularly gruesome past, as both were responsible for the deaths of countless people but are trying to reform.  Didn’t like the whole split personality with Hal, seemed like a waste.  Annie is probably the most likable character because of her great personality, although she can do some pretty dumb and naive things.  I liked Nina Pickering, a werewolf and George’s love interest.  She does a great job of balancing out George.  William Herrick is the series first main antagonist and the one responsible for making Mitchell into a vampire.  Didn’t really think much of his character at first but the guy can be quite menacing. It’s easy to see him as the leader of the Bristol vampire community.  There are a whole host of interesting characters with interesting backstories that help give the world so much depth. (5 out of 5)

Cast:  Great performances by the main cast including Aidan Turner (John Mitchell), Russell Tovey (George Sands), Lenora Crichlow (Annie Sawyer), Michael Socha (Tom McNair), Damien Molony (Hal Yorke), Sinead Keenan (Nina Pickering), and Kate Bracken (Alex Millar). Loved the chemistry between the characters.  The supporting cast includes Jason Watkins (William Herrick), Toby Whithouse (Alistair Frith), Steven Robertson (Dominic Rook), Phil Davis (Captain Hatch), Amy Manson (Daisy), and Annabel Scholey (Lauran Drake). (4 out of 5)

Visuals:  The series has a great use of special effects when it comes to make-up, prosthetic, and practical effects.  The creature designs look pretty good, more specifically the vampires, with the dark eyes and fangs.  The werewolves not so much.  They look more like like costumes and if the designs were toned down a little it would look less comical.  The ghost effects are pretty solid as well.  The show does feature blood and gore and it’s handled pretty well. (3 out of 5)

Score:  Richard Wells does a great job with the series.  Nothing about the music feels out of place, but strengthens the core of what makes this series great, its characters. (3 out of 5)

Writing:  The writing is pretty admirable and can be as fun as it is dark.  As awesome as the show is, there are some areas of the script that really don’t make any sense.  The characters are well-written, story interesting, and world building done well. But the show can be surprisingly moving at times, especially the small moments between the characters. My biggest problem with the series is perhaps the writing doesn’t feel full established.  Sure, it introduces a lot of interesting ideas but at the same time a lot of ridiculous ones too.  Vampires live off blood and require it to live and there’s an AA group not to do it.  Don’t try an alternative.  Just don’t do it at all.  Better yet, don’t use a system where some people willingly give blood. Also, there is how the after life is portrayed and how it interacts with the living.

And another thing is that the whole prophecy thing was just stupid.  A vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost staying together is a prophecy?  How.  It’s just the series doesn’t really seem concrete in terms of setting, what are the actual rules?  It came to one point where a girl killed herself in the future and her ghost used the afterlife to travel through time.  Sure, it’s an interesting premise but how did she know to do that?  It’s never established in the writing that ghosts can do that.  Nothing in the story or writing establishes he can force a change like that.  Also, it’s also kind of dumb how they had the whole vampire/werewolf/ghost living together as being a prophecy.  Of the hundreds of years of the setting, it’s not believable that vampires, werewolves, and ghost have never lived together.  Even in the show, there has been proof that this has happened before.  It’s just sometimes, the writing seems a little stupid. (2 out of 5)


The Verdict:  In the end, Being Human (UK Version) is a bloody good series.  Yeah, the script and story can be cartoony at times and the rules of the setting do feel…unrefined.  Despite this, the series has awesome characters, a great cast, an interesting story, good visuals, a strong soundtrack, and awesome performances.  Being Human (UK Version) gets 3 out of 5.

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