03 August 2011

Being Human (UK) Season 1 Premiere

Spoilers Ahead

Being Human sucked me right in. On the surface it sounds pretty silly: a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost are roommates... like a cheesy joke. But these are not cardboard characters. They have depth, they have demons, and the bond and chemistry among the three of them makes me wish for more scenes with just them. Why do British TV seasons have to be so damn short (only 6 measly episodes)?

Annie the ghost (played by Lenora Crichlow, Sugar Rush, Doctor Who) provides the narration for this episode. She's trapped in the house in which she died after slipping on the stairs. Her fiance, brokenhearted about her death, has moved out and rented the place. So Annie is stuck living with one set of tenants after another, none of which can see her but who can feel her "creepy" presence. Things start improving for her after Mitchell and George move in, in large part because--being supernatural themselves--they can see her and talk to her. She's even gotten to the point where humans are noticing her and she can venture outside the house (not far but it's a start).

Mitchell (Aidan Turner, who played Dante Gabriel Rosetti in Desperate Romantics) is the hot, brooding vampire with a gorgeous Irish accent. Yes, I am drooling a little. Unfortunately he's got some serious torment going on. Desperately trying to overcome his nature (by not feeding from humans, hanging out with humans and werewolves, shunning the other vampires) he's wracked by self-recrimination when he slips while having sex with co-worker Lauren (Annabel Scholey, Personal Affairs) and kills her. And that turns out to be the least of his problems.

Then there's George (Russell Tovey, Him & Her, Doctor Who), the neurotic werewolf. He's been a wolf about a year and has yet to accept that it's a part of him. He was infected when scratched on holiday in Scotland (the guy he was out walking with ended up dead) and has since run away from his old life (including his fiancee). He really just wants a normal life but the excruciating transformation he undergoes every month is kind of getting in the way. Or maybe he's just getting in the way of himself.

Episode 1 also introduces us to some of the vampires Mitchell is trying to escape. Herrick (Jason Watkins, Psychoville) is Mitchell's maker, head of the local vampires, and high up in the police department (the vampires have ways of covering up their activities). He has megalomaniacal dreams of coming out to the humans and making vampires the dominant species on the planet. Despite Mitchell's betrayal Herrick wants him back in the fold and is confident that will happen, sooner or later.

Seth (Dylan Brown, EastEnders) is Herrick's current right-hand man and is trying to "recruit" people from the hospital in which Mitchell and George work. Mitchell refuses to allow the hospital to be a feeding ground for the vampires. Seth backs off but it's obvious the moment Herrick removes his leash he'll be after Mitchell in a heartbeat.

And then there's Lauren. It's unclear whether Mitchell turned her out of guilt or by accident but he abandoned her before the process was complete and she's pissed about it. Now she's in Herrick's pocket and is out to force Mitchell off the wagon and back among his peers, while at the same time ruining his chances of having any kind of normal life.

So while Mitchell has to fight his own nature he also has to fight the other vampires, their long-term plans and short-term chaos and sabotage. George--already dealing with his own issues--is drawn in as the vampires attack and kill his co-workers and harass Mitchell (they also hate werewolves). While Annie is at least sheltered from the things that go on outside of the house, she suffers her own setback when her fiance and the guys' landlord (Owen, played by Gregg Chillin, Nearly Famous) shows up to fix the house's plumbing with his new girlfriend. Suddenly Annie's invisible to humans again, not to mention devastated about Owen.

There's already a lot going on and even more being set up for the future. The vampires are clearly only going to become a bigger problem. George is going to have to come to terms with his wolf. And what exactly is keeping Annie tied to this plane and to the house? The season may be short but it's already compelling.

Fang Files

Appearance: Human until the vampire emerges, then black eyes and sharp, prominent fangs. Vampires do not show up on camera.

Strengths: Heightened senses.

Weaknesses: Not drinking human blood results in shakiness, weakness, and obsessive thoughts of what they most want. Psychopaths by nature (but this can be overcome with major persistence).

Mythology: Vampires can eat food and go out during the day. They take jobs in the human world to blend in and also cover their existence.

Sound Bites

Seth: [to Mitchell] Word of warning, one friend to another, it's cold out there without us.

Annie: Hello, George. I thought it was your time of the month.
Mitchell: It is. He's doing it here.
Annie: I just hoovered!

George: [After spending the full moon locked in their house] Oh no. Where's...where's all our stuff? What did I do?
Mitchell: We've salvaged what we can but there's about 10 bin bags of crap and wreckage stashed in my bedroom. I'm sensing a trip to Ikea. You know my feelings about that.

Mitchell: [after spotting Herrick at the hospital] You didn't get my message? This isn't your fucking larder, Herrick.

George: [after Owen comes by with his new girlfriend] You're much prettier. And much nicer.
Annie: And much deader.

Being Human, Season 1 Episode 1. Written by Toby Whithouse. Directed by Toby Haynes. From the BBC.

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