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The Canadian and US adaptation of Being Human owes much to the original, but it exists as it’s own show. Forget that there’s this smartly written UK series; SyFy’s version is held up by the same basic structure, and has the wherewithal to achieve it’s own version of wry brilliance. With three episodes watched Being Human has me on the edge of my seat with anticipation for what happens next.
Let’s get the premise out of the way: a vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost live in an apartment together. This is their existence. It sounds like someone took Three’s Company and spilled True Blood all over the concept. The truth is that Being Human uses sardonic wit, emotional depth, and exciting storylines to create something so much greater than what the premise promises.
The powerful characters are the most surprising thing about Being Human. Josh (Sam Huntington) is the werewolf of the group. He’s the one to provide a little witticism or comedic quip. He provides relief from some of the heavier emotional goings on in the show, but he’s not without a fair share of weighty scenes. Including a frantic and desperate phone call to his vampire friend towards the end of the pilot episode.
Speaking of the vampire, Aiden (Sam Witwer) is the dashing lead male type. Being Human doesn’t have a lead character, but if you had to choose one it would be Aiden. Not to diminish the other two, and I think some of this is done deliberately because as a vampire Aiden is naturally charming. Despite all of the benefits of being a vampire, Aiden still has to deal with the shortcomings. He’s chosen to no longer kill humans, to no longer be the monster. Except that he still is, and the opening of the series shows him succumbing to the base needs of the monster within. Unlike other reformed vamps that got a soul back (ahem, hello Angel), Aiden is doing things the hard way. By the end of the second episode he has a moment with the vampire leader Bishop (Mark Pellegrino, Jacob from Lost) that defines the man. He’s given a choice, and makes his decision clear. As Dumbledore once said, “It’s our choices that define who we are.”
Being Human is not a perfect show. A lot of what’s great has to do with the double lives that Josh and Aiden lead. It’s reminiscent of the first season of Alias, but even this early on the characters we’re introduced to on the side are already being pulled into the monster madness. Character moments are given proper treatment, but it feels like some storylines are already being rushed. But for those on the fence about watching, especially anyone who has a hard time with the hokey SyFy shows, this one might be worth a shot. It feels less like a SyFy series and more like something that the CW might have passed on because the story being told here wouldn’t work as well on network television.
The characters’ monster afflictions service the story as metaphors. Josh is a little quirky and shy, but there’s a rage in him. Aiden is a drug addict, but his drug of choice is human blood. Sally is the loneliest girl in the world. These people just happen to be supernatural beings, and like any good sci-fi story the truth is that they could be any of us. Being Human puts a mirror up to our everyday life and shows us the fur and fangs that reside just beneath the surface.
Being Human premieres Monday, January 17 at 9:00pm ET on SyFy.
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