There’s Worse Things On Netflix Than ‘Being Human’
Alright, I’m going to be totally clear with you. This is a show about vampires and werewolves.
Being Human is a British show dating back to 2008 created by Toby Whithouse. Whithouse has writing credits on some Dr. Who episodes as well as some successes with other UK TV shows. Being Human went on to become one of the most successful shows on BBC’s Iplayer (their state run streaming service.)
Being Human US is the American remake started on the Sy-Fy channel in 2011. It’s now available on Netflix Streaming.
The show follows a Vampire, werewolf, and a ghost as they try and cope with being different in a world of the living. It’s got a Buffy feel to it, but a little less mission oriented.
Sam Witwer plays Aiden Waite, a dark and mysterious vampire who was turned during the American revolution. He befriends a werewolf (Sam Huntington) after a run in, and the two becomes friends of sorts. They decide to move in together and, lo and behold, the house they rent together is haunted by the lovely Sally Malik, played by Meaghan Rath.
There are a number of twists and turns introduced, they are all learning to live and love together, yadda yadda… It’s a cable drama show, so set your standards low, but prepare to be pleasantly surprised.
My boyfriend laughs at me when he catches me watching it, but ya know, turning off from time-to-time and enjoying the hell out of this trash is pretty easy.
The acting can be dramatic and the morals are ham-fisted. But subtext is overrated, right?
A standout example of this show’s lack of execution is poured over much of the the dialogue. The broader moments of human interaction can pull a heart string or two, but the specifics end up getting muddled, and are obviously written by someone who’s never spoken to another human being ever.
At one point, a main character, a licensed doctor in a hospital emergency room, finds herself completely at a loss for understanding her own pregnancy – “Is the baby supposed to be this developed by now?” asks Josh. “I have no idea!” says the cute blonde who is supposed to be in the early years of a promising medical career. Nothing says fleshed out characters like background inconsistencies.
But, as I said, there are worse shows and movies on Netflix. If you enjoy Dexter, a show with more campiness than Spanish-language soap opera, then you’ll appreciate the subtlety in Being Human.
It’s got many of the tropes of other cable channel programs. Hilarious hip indie-music soundtrack, TV-14 rated sex scenes, visible abdominal muscles (everyone has at least four). Some scenes surely required buckets of blood, and the graphic effects are convincing enough (again, for a cable channel show).
There’s a decent amount of lore in the show – flashbacks complete with period attire and wigs. You’ll learn about the history of vampires (the sun doesn’t kill them in this universe, for some reason).
Actually, I kind of appreciate that aspect of the show – there isn’t a “rules” episode. People, their powers, and their weaknesses all evolve as the show does.
Another reason why this show might have succeeded–it actually has more than 20 episodes a season. That’s the length of a broadcast TV season, as opposed to the 10 to 12 episode season common on cable. This gives the shows creators plenty of time to develop characters and give us a reason to care. And that’s where this show really worked for me. Maybe it’s the smart dialogue (between professional missteps) – these characters really are, well, being human. They manage to speak and interact pretty well together, and their interactions aren’t far from some I’ve had… minus the blood sucking.
Relateability is key for a show. That 70′s Show had that concept nailed down – any one of us could have been Jackie, Hyde, Donna, Fez, Kelso or Eric (I always considered myself more of a Red, but you get the point). But some could put that down to the actors performances. And, again, that’s a place where this show shines – Huntington is a feeble dweeb of sorts, Witwer is an excellent cold, calculating, but in the end supportive lead, and Rath’s Sally is bubbly and believable.
I’m only about halfway through the second season, so the show could still go nuclear and become another forgettable but loud TV young-adult drama about werewolves and vampires. But so far, so good, and I’m excited to see it run its course.
Tim is a writer, video game nerd, and music fan. You'll see him at shows, or you wont really see him at all.
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