Review: Being Human - Season Three [Blu-Ray]

Without a moment's hesitation I can declare that the third season of the original Being Human is the best one yet. In just eight episodes, we get so much character growth and story advancement, it's almost overwhelming. To think that American shows usually take 22 episodes to cover this kind of ground makes the accomplishment even more monumental. If you're new to Being Human, this is also a great stepping-on point. The gang has moved to a new house and is trying to start their lives over, but the past has a way of finding you no matter where you might hide. Our favorite vampire, ghost, and werewolves are back, and the drama, excitement, and danger of their world is better than ever.

The third series of the original Being Human was very much about growing up. In a lot of ways, it paralleled most people's experiences as they move away from their childhood home, find love, and settle into their new lives to start a family. It's also about making more adult decisions and being mature and responsible enough to face the consequences for our actions...or, more specifically, the mistakes that we've made.

It's the latter that consumes much of Mitchell's (Aidan Turner) journey throughout the series. The resident vampire starts by performing an act of heroism in saving Annie from Purgatory. This leads to an infatuation with him on her part, and the two set up the illusion of a real relationship. On the surface, it would appear to be ideal, as neither will ever age or die (again). But there's one little problem.

Mitchell is still dealing with the aftermath of the "Box Tunnel Twenty" massacre. He's kept his role in this murderous rampage a secret from his friends, and that wedge continues to grow throughout the series. It doesn't help that Annie is independently trying to investigate the real culprit of this crime, nor that Nina is so new to the world of the supernatural that she's not fully aware of the consequences of abiding by man's laws. In other words, while Nina (Sinead Keenan) thinks the right thing to do would be for Mitchell to turn himself in, doing so would wreak havoc in the vampire community and endanger all of the supernaturals. He was born in 1893, after all. His modern-day records are fabricated. Keeping this fact away from the humans is in all of their best interests.

George (Russell Tovey), perhaps more than any of the other characters, is experiencing that character maturation I was talking about. What started as a scared kid, afraid and in near-denial about his werewolf affliction, has grown into a loving partner and soon-to-be father. It's because of Nina's pregnancy, and that they are both werewolves, that George decides to seek out other lycanthropes and learn more about their kind. Of particular concern is if Nina and/or the baby can survive a werewolf birth.

They find a father-and-son pair of werewolves who consider themselves vampire hunters. But when they're told that the son was born a werewolf, they find a newfound sense of hope. But is everything as it seems, or is there perhaps a darker secret lurking beneath the surface of this story?

In a surprise move, the vampire Herrick (Jason Watkins) returns to the series. Thought dead through what definitely was a decapitation, the mystery surrounding his apparent resurrection becomes a near-obsession for Mitchell. While in Purgatory to save Annie, Mitchell encountered another ghost, Lia, who prophesied that he would die soon via a "wolf-shaped bullet." Hoping to avoid death, Mitchell becomes singularly driven and haunted by this prophecy. He wants to know how Herrick cheated death, though Herrick doesn't appear to be himself and has no recollection of how he might have come back to life.

As George looks forward to some semblance of normalcy with Nina, Mitchell seems to be withdrawing more and more into his own despair and sense of self-loathing. He's torn up by his role in the "Box Tunnel Twenty" massacre, and yet obsessed with avoiding death. More significantly, he is keeping the details of both of these things from George, Nina, and even Annie (Leona Crichlow), who's so drawn to him.

Annie's story this series is a continuation of her emotional growth and discovery of her internal strength and worth as a human being. It's a bit of a step backward for her when she develops what can only be described as a school-girl crush on Mitchell, but he reciprocates as well, though neither of them are falling into one another's arms for the right reasons.

In a lighter, and yet still sad, episode, we see how the Being Human universe handles the undead, and it's got to be the most tragic take I've ever seen. Imagine continuing to be as aware as you've ever been, while watching your body continue to rot and die around you. Eventually, it will take you with it when it can no longer function. Having the resident zombie be a shallow party girl only makes her involvement with Annie and the main cast even funnier. Of course, we can lay her very existence at Mitchell's doorstep again, though this time it's indirectly his fault.

The final moments of the series do a beautiful job of both setting up even higher stakes for a fourth series and bringing closure to the journeys that have made up this season. It's a bloody and dark final episode with a healthy body count, but every beat is emotionally powerful and speaks to the larger story. Where we go from here is an absolute mystery, but one I couldn't be more excited about. As much as I appreciate what the Syfy version of Being Human is doing, it simply can't yet compare to the genius that is being created in the original iteration of the concept. Thank goodness it was renewed and we can continue to laugh and cry with our favorite supernatural beings.

For a three-disc Blu-ray set, would it have hurt to throw us a little more by way of extra material? The set provides about 11 minutes of deleted scenes that are the usual extraneous and redundant character moments, supplemented 20 minutes of "Extended Cast Interviews." These, at least, give us an idea what the four principal actors think about the stories, the other characters, and the major beats of the series. In fact, if you haven't watched the episodes yet, avoid this as it will spoil all the surprises.

Probably the most fun is found in a short set tour led by Sinead Keenan. As the characters relocated to a new city and a new house, it was fun seeing how this new set looks behind the cameras. It reveals a little of the movie-making magic, but nothing that anyone who's ever watched a movie or television show doesn't already know. Still, on a release with such slim pickings, you have to appreciate what little is there, and Keenan is just charming enough to pull this one off.

Length: 499 min.

Rated: Not rated

Distributor: BBC Warner

Release Date: 5/03/11

Starring: Lenora Crichlow, Russell Tovey, Aidan Turner, Sinead Keenan

Directed by: Colin Teague, Philip John, Daniel O'Hara

Produced by: Philip Trethowan, Rob Pursey, Toby Whithouse

Written by: Toby Whithouse, Brian Dooley, Jamie Mathieson, John Jackson, Sarah Phelps, Lisa McGee