A vampire, a werewolf and a ghost share a flat in Bristol. It sounds like the set-up for a joke. But Being Human, a surprisingly good supernatural drama imported from BBC Three in the UK, is the story of three monsters doing their best to fit in society and retain traces of their humanity. Aidan Turner, Russell Tovey and Lenora Crichlow star as the supernatural trio, and each brings a unique blend of sadness, desperation and humor to their roles.
With vampires all the rage in horrible options like True Blood and Twilight, you might expect the full-on superpowered glamor of vamp chic to be on display. Instead, Being Human is uncharacteristically subdued, both in tone and color palette. Dark, melancholy and refreshingly low tech, this is a show that takes its title and all it implies very seriously. These are characters who desperately want to feel and love and get close to humans and have normal work-a-day lives, yet the very nature of their existence prevents that. They dabble and flirt with being human, but retreat into the safety of each other when things grow too dangerous or their secrets come too close to being revealed. And that’s the main appeal of the show, really. The relationship between the three protagonists. They care for each other, protect each other, encourage each other’s forays into normal life, then provide comfort and solace when those adventures go horribly wrong. They’re the monster friends you always wish you had.
Openly gay actor Russell Tovey is especially adorable (and heartbreaking) as George, the nebbish, insecure Jewish werewolf. And that brings us to the obviously gay undertones (and overtones) of the show. Of course, a gay audience can relate to feeling and being different in a world where such differences are feared and reviled. And we can also relate to the notion of creating and fostering our own families through our friends. Clearly, gay people have the choice of staying in the closet, blending into society and denying our true natures, but at what cost? So far, the heroes’ attempts at assimilation have failed. But will the world accept them for who and what they really are? It’s a lovely, fascinating and touching look at what it truly means to not only be human, but to act humanely as well.
Being Human airs on Saturdays at 9/8c on BBC America. Now, for your viewing pleasure, here are the first seven minutes of the first episode. Enjoy!