Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Being Human

From what I had seen of this before broadcast I expected Being Human to be out and out comedy. I had raised my eyebrow at it occupying an hour long slot; not the conventional length for a sit-com. In fact it turned out to be quite a dark drama with some moments of humour.

It seems like a fairly obvious premise with hindsight but I can't help feeling that quite a few execs must have taken a lot of convincing to say, 'ok, let's make the show with the vampire, the werewolf and the ghost that share a house in Bristol.' I was struck about half way through that it was sort of like a twenty-first century
Addams Family.

The name Toby Whithouse must have carried a lot of weight. He's written for
Who, Hotel Babylon, Torchie and was the creator of No Angels. That's a smart track record. Being Human is a worthy addition to his cv. I'm a cynical bastard and no matter how much I want to like something I can usually spoil it for myself ('Ouch, that was a bit over acted.' 'Ooh, I would have preferred if X had Y.' 'Lord, I don't like that theme tune, and why is it sung by Dennis Waterman anyway?'). I was captivated straight from the start.

The characters are brilliant; Mitchell (Guy Flanagan), the reluctant vampire with a soft eastern European accent; all sad eyed and ancient. George (Russell Tovey) the neurotic, obsessive compulsive werewolf who wants to keep his condition totally separate to his
normal life. I loved the little box motions he kept making with his hands. Finally there's Annie (Andrea Riseborough), killed a year earlier but stranded due to her attachment to the house she bought with her boyfriend. The script and the underplayed performances really brought these characters forward and made them believable and appealing.

In addition to the humour inherent in the premise, there are foundations laid for future arcs. A malevolent coven of vampires poised to prey on humanity (and led by the deliciously evil Adrian Lester), the mystery behind Annie's death and whether she can or will complete her 'journey', and George's struggle with his own nature.

Honestly, I'd like to say there was something I didn't rate but I thought the whole programme was awesome. It was well directed, the music was good, the effects were good (and not too frequent). It was subtle and engaging and bloody good telly. You will probably know that it was intended as a pilot, it's not yet known if it will be developed into a series. I think it should be (you may have guessed), so I've signed this petition along with a lot (about fifteen hundred so far) of like minded folk.

If you didn't see it then check it out on the lovely BBC iPlayer, there are still four days for you to do so. Then sign the petition or the monsters will get you.