Being Human: Season 2 Review

Being Human is a British import show that has not yet received the American fan following of Doctor Who, Are You Being Served?, or Monty Python’s Flying Circus, but this show certainly deserves it. The premise of a vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost living together could very easily become melodramatic like Twilight or travel down the blood-is-sexy road recently traveled by True Blood. Instead, Being Human takes a gimmicky premise and uses the supernatural elements to explore real issues like addiction, grief, belief vs. delusion, and what it means to be human.

Being Human follows a vampire named Mitchell (Aidan Turner), a werewolf named George (Russell Tovey), and a ghost named Annie (Lenora Crichlow) who all want the same thing: to live a normal life. At the beginning of the second season, the vampire leader Herrick is dead. George accidentally scratched his girlfriend Nina (Sinead Keenan), and she is showing signs that she might be a werewolf now as well. Annie has gained the unusual ability to be seen by normal human beings, and she wants to get a job and maybe a boyfriend. Everything is turned on its head, however, by corrupt police, vampires getting sloppy with their kills, and scientists who claim that they can cure werewolves.

The overall theme of season 2 is Mitchell, George, and Annie striving for normalcy and failing in different ways. While Mitchell has been a vampire since World War I, George and Annie are still adjusting to their lives as supernatural beings. George was attacked by a werewolf during his vacation to Scotland, and Annie was murdered by her jealous fiancé. Their lives were turned upside down, and they are only starting to wrap their heads around it. At the beginning of season 2, George starts drugging and locking himself in a cage during the full moon, and with his newfound freedom, he gets a better job and a new girlfriend. Annie on the other hand treats her visibility like a second chance at life. She loves her new job as a bartender and peppers her boss with ideas for bringing in new business. Her joy and enthusiasm make her ultimate disappointment all the more stinging. Both George and Annie are still discovering the limitations of their conditions, and by the end of season 2, they finally see that a spouse and children are out of the question.

Mitchell’s character arch is very different from George and Annie because instead of fighting the nature of being a werewolf or a ghost, he is fighting against his own desires. He is not a starving vampire; he is an addict going through withdrawal. Mitchell gave up on a happy family life a long time ago, so his sobriety is not out of a desire for a “normal life.” Mitchell stays clean because he cannot deal with any more guilt and because he knows that staying out of trouble will keep George and Annie out of trouble. This is why he is reluctant to be the new leader of the vampires. The only reason why he takes the job is because he thinks he can help wean the vampires off of blood and reduce the number of bodies going into the emergency room with teeth marks. He doesn’t want trouble, which makes the season’s final episodes all the more shocking.

In season 2, Being Human explored places that other supernatural programs have not dared go, but that is not the reason why I adore this show. I love Being Human because it can make me laugh, cry, and cringe all in the same episode. None of the lead characters feel underdeveloped or underused like NBC’s Heroes. George, Annie, and Mitchell are all well-written, and the actors bring something unique to their roles. George is the lovable, though a bit dorky, everyman. Annie is a good-hearted person that people want as a sister or a best friend. Despite their shared abstention from human blood, Mitchell is the anti-Edward Cullen, a complex Jekyll-and-Hyde character with Neil Gaiman’s wardrobe. (Was the Gaiman look a coincidence considering the show’s overt characters-talking-through-television-shows reference to American Gods? Discuss.)

I must warn fans of Doctor Who who are thinking about picking up Being Human that the show has offensive language and some sex, and the story gets extremely violent and disturbing near the end of season 2. I am a fan of Dexter and can usually handle television gore, but there was a scene involving a train car full of dead people that actually shocked me. People who give Being Human a chance, however, will be richly rewarded. There is a lot to love about this show, and I hope it finds a new American audience on Blu-ray.

Blu-ray Bonus Features

There are 3 behind-the-scenes featurettes including a look at the train car scene and how they did the werewolf transformations. I am happy to see a sci-fi show that is opting for animatronics effects instead of CGI. I think that the animatronics in Being Human looked much better than the CGI effects I saw in Syfy’s Sanctuary, and I hope other special effects folks take note.

"Being Human: Season 2" is on sale September 21, 2010 and is not rated. Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Romance, Television. Directed by Alex Pillai, Charles Martin, Colin Teague, Kenneth Glenaan, Toby Haynes. Written by Toby Whithouse. Starring Aidan Turner, Lenora Crichlow, Russell Tovey, Sinead Keenan.

Oct
10
2010
Rachel Kolb • Staff Writer

I love movies, writing, and breaking into song in public. You can follow me on Twitter @rachelekolb or check out more of my work at http://rachelekolb.wordpress.com.

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