The “Being Human” Report: U-S-A! U-S-A!

I ordered season passes on iTunes for both the US and UK versions of Being Human, so now I get a helpful little notice twice a week, alerting me that I have a new episode to download. As the weeks have progressed, I’m surprised to relate that I find myself eagerly anticipating the US version more and more.

Maybe it’s because it’s still fresh and new, and we’re still getting to know the characters. Or maybe it’s the curiosity factor, tuning in to see how/where the US version will diverge from the UK version. Whatever the reason, I’m really getting a kick out of it. I was worried they wouldn’t be able to Americanize it enough to be relevant. Instead, it’s like they’ve created an alternate universe version of the UK show. They’re following the same general plot, but the characters often make different choices; familiar actions are suddenly carried out by different or new characters. It’s really fun to watch.

In this week’s episode,“I Want You Back (From the Dead),” Aidan proves once again that he has the worst coping skills ever. Sally finds that dating ghosts is just as miserable as dating the living. And Josh stammers and stumbles his way to an understanding with Nora. Overall, it’s a strong episode and does a great job of revealing just how emotionally unstable and desperate Aidan is. Josh has really grown on me and, like George in the UK version, is at his best when he’s at his most vulnerable, physically and emotionally. Sally still feels somewhat disconnected from the guys, but even that’s getting a little better. Witnessing Josh’s transformation is a turning point for her, I think. She now has an empathy and understanding of him that she didn’t have before.

Who’s a good doggy?

As much as I’m enjoying the show, it’s by no means perfect. I think the spectral message board at the hospital is a stupid addition. As if the hospital is the only place people ever die. I think the same thing could have been accomplished by Sally noticing or learning to read the messages everywhere, not just at the hospital. Also, playing “Mad World” once in an episode is fine; three times just made me laugh. 

What the show is getting right, and where it honors its UK origins the most, is in the relationship between Josh and Aidan. Though, I have to say that the homoerotic subtext is so much stronger here. For instance, the scenes in last week’s episode between Aidan, Josh and Josh’s family, felt just like a coming out/meet my partner kind of romantic comedy. Then, on the darker side, Aidan’s fellow vamps telling him they can smell his pet all over him, gives a clear indication of their closeness and how such a relationship is viewed by others.

I don’t care. He’s still hot.

Most of my friends are of the fair-weather variety, so I don’t know who I would tell that my vampire girlfriend just turned the neighbor into a junior vamp. Luckily, Aidan has Josh. Heck, I know what it’s like to live in constant fear of a mob of angry villagers with torches knocking on your door, so I’m glad they’re taking such pains to get the bond between the guys just right. Now, they just need to keep pulling Sally into the mix.

I’m having a little more trouble with the new series of the UK version. I don’t like the new setting. And I really don’t like the romance between Annie and Mitchell. It just doesn’t feel right to me, and maybe that’s the point. We’ve never seen Mitchell so desperate. This really is Mitchell’s season so far, too. His rescue of Annie brings him one step closer to his own eventual demise, but I’m holding out hope that it will be Annie’s love (or George’s) that will redeem him in the end. If I had to make a prediction, I think we’re going to see George and Mitchell in a cage together, and that George will be the “wolf-shaped bullet” that’s supposed to end Mitchell once and for all.

Surprisingly, I’m not hating Nina this season as much as I have in the past. It’s nice to have someone around who isn’t always thinking and acting on a purely emotional level. She’s the smart one, the Velma of the Scooby Gang. I still think of plausible ways to write her out of the show every week, but I can tolerate her for now.

Lycanthropy 101: Take Your Shirt Off

I’m also enjoying the inclusion of young werewolf Tom, played to naïve, yet sexually aggressive perfection by Michael Socha. There’s just something about him. He’s sweet, like George, but tougher and definitely more street smart. Plus, I can’t stop looking at those Jake Gyllenhaal eyebrows. It also helps that he’s almost always taking his shirt off for one reason or another.

My problem with this series could be entirely my own fault. I do find that while I’m unimpressed upon first viewing, I do enjoy it more after watching the episodes a second time. Could be that I’m just not devoting enough attention to the first viewing. I’m also fully aware that the series has concluded in the UK, but I’m sticking with watching it on the US schedule. Plus, I paid for that season pass, so I’m damn well going to use it.

Being Human (UK) is on BBC America, Saturdays at 9/8c. Being Human (US) is on SyFy, Mondays at 9/8c.

%d bloggers like this: