Tell me if you’ve hard this before: a werewolf, a ghost, and a vampire all live together and try to pass themselves off as humans. In the saturated world of werewolves/vampires, etc., this could be a boring concept. However, Being Human is so much more than a show about supernatural beings. Annie the ghost, played by Lenora Crichlow, is sad and lonely and wants desperately for other to see her. Her flatmates can see her but that’s not enough for this ghost in limbo. George the werewolf, played by Russell Tovey, is so far removed from his werewolf side and deeply struggles with his full moon transformations. Mitchell the vampire, played by Aidan Turner, has the confidence and sex appeal to be the vampire but he’s sworn off human blood and struggles to not give into his blood thirst. None of them want this life. They all are lonely, sad, and yearn for a normal life. Their shared loneliness and sadness bring them together and they form a deep bond that helps them through the most difficult and dark times.
The focus of Being Human is on the emotion of the three main characters. It’s about their relationship and their shared experiences about being outsiders who want nothing more than to be seen as normal humans. It’s about how finding the right people at the right time can help a person overcome feelings of vast loneliness and despair and make someone feel normal the way they are. Yes the supernatural aspect plays a big part of the show but it’s not the only aspect of the show.
What I like about Being Human is how well these three, original actors and characters fit together. The chemistry of all three actors is evident from the start and helps to make the character’s situation believable. Russell Tovey is perfectly cast as the werewolf. He plays Georges’s mild-mannered disposition with incredible nuance, making his werewolf self such a vast contrast in personality that it’s shocking George could even be a werewolf. Lenora Crichlow plays Annie as a somewhat naive young woman who eventually finds her strength via her relationship with George and Mitchell. And Aidan Turner plays the smoldering Mitchell with utter conviction you can feel his pain at being a vampire who struggles against what he is. These three fit very well together, making the show strong on their relationships alone.
The series did a decent job of intertwining the three roommates lives and story lines. Mitchell was a bit of leader in the vampire community despite his attempts at swearing off blood. Mitchell had a continuing battle with William Herrick, a vampire who has been in his life for long time, and Herrick ends up playing a big part in all three of the main characters lives. George’s struggle to hide his werewolf side becomes harder when he starts to date Nina. Nina is a good balance to George and seeing their relationship progress throughout the series is both fun and sad. Annie, being a ghost, has the hardest time acclimating to her life, but even she gets involved with both Herrick and Nina, as well as achieve closure for her own past experiences. This makes the series more solid for me since the three do live separate lives but yet are closely meshed to each other.
The series goes through some big changes in seasons four and five, with Turner leaving at the end of season three, and Tovey and Crichlow both departing in season four. Each of the episodes where these characters left were highly emotional and fitting send offs. Hal (the vampire), Tom (the werewolf), and Alex (the ghost) were the replacements and were played by good actors, but the series didn’t quite capture the same chemistry or appeal of the original cast members or stories. Of note of these three replacements to me was Michael Socha, who played Tom the werewolf. He was a worthy replacement of George’s emotional werewolf. Tom fit well with everyone and had an endearing quality that made him very easy to like.
I will briefly mention the SyFy version of Being Human. I watched one, maybe two episodes of this rendition, but thought it paled in comparison to the original one (even seasons 4 & 5 were better than the SyFy version). The SyFy version lacked the chemistry and interest of the original series and I didn’t think the actors were correctly cast. Note that this opinion is from a very biased love of the original series so it’s not really a fair reflection of the SyFy show.
Being Human ended after the fifth season and I thought the writers did the correct thing by ending the series at that time. The story of Hal, Tom, and Alex, while not as compelling as the original trio, had run its course, and the series came to a fitting and emotional end. Of the myriad supernatural series out there, Being Human is one of the better ones, in my opinion. It wasn’t only about being a werewolf, a vampire, or a ghost. It was about what makes that person human, even though they have an inhuman quality. It’s also about relationships and how they can help someone through a difficult or trying time. And that no one should be all alone – everyone needs someone to be there for them, whether it’s just someone to talk to or someone to share similar experiences with. If you are looking for a grown up version of the supernatural, this show is one to check out. Being Human is available on DVD, via Amazon, or via iTunes (according to the BBC America website).