Sunday, January 30, 2011

Being Human comes to the U.S.

When The Gates first aired we asked the question, "Do we really need another show about vampires and werewolves?" (Apparently not, because the show was cancelled after only one season.) Between True Blood and The Vampire Diaries ("True Blood Teen") our supernatural cravings were pretty satisfied.

So when we heard that Syfy was going to start airing a U.S. remake of the BBC show Being Human we asked ourselves the same question... only this time I have to admit I was tempted to answer 'yes'. Yes! We do need it! But do we really?

The BBC's Being Human is a pretty cool show. It didn't follow the same cliche tropes that many of the other shows and films did. (Not that it was free from cliches, but it handled them differently. Maybe it was a British thing, I don't know.) So of course, I had mixed feelings when I saw commercials on Syfy for an American remake (or as they call it, a 'reimagining'). Would it live up to its roots? Would it capture the same essence of the U.K. version? Would this become the new U.S. vs U.K. debate (replace that of The Office)?

Watching a remake is always a little weird... whether you liked the original or not. But when you did really like the original, it's hard to accept new actors portraying the characters you've grown to love...

The cast of the original BBC show:  
Mitchell the vampire (Aidan Turner), George the werewolf (Russell Tovey), Annie the ghost (Lenora Crichlow);  
The cast of Syfy's version:  
Josh the werewolf (Sam Huntington),  Sally the ghost (Meaghan Rath), Aidan the vampire (Sam Witwer).

I'm not completely convinced that I will be able to accept this as a remake of the original... but as a show on its own, it was pretty good. I'm hoping that people - myself included - will be able to forget that there was a BBC version and just watch this as its own, separate show. The first episode was pretty cool...

For those of you not familiar with the BBC show or the Syfy one... Being Human follows three main characters living together in an apartment - a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost. The premiere episode opened up with a monologue from Josh, the self-loathing werewolf::
"I'm only human", you say, and all is forgiven. But what if some cruel, small twist of fate makes you something else, smething 'other'? Who forgives you then? Every human spends a night or two on the dark side and regrets it. But what if you only exist on the dark side? We just want the same things that you do - a chance at life, at love. We're not so different in that way. And so we try. And sometimes fail. But when you're something 'other'... a monster... the consequences are worse. Much worse. You wake up from your nightmares. We don't.
The opening juxtaposed Josh and Aidan (the vampire)'s respective experiences 'failing' ... Josh, having transformed into a werewolf, awakens in a naked bloody mess. Aidan, having been invited up to a coworker's apartment for sex... finds it too hard to resist draining her of blood. Yes, when you're something 'other', the consequences are worse. Both characters work at a hospital together and they decide to become roommates so they can help each other try to be 'human'.
Josh: I used to think this curse was what happened to me once a month. Then I realize this, this is the curse. Every day. Sitting on a bench, watching people walk by, eating sandwiches, making plans, being... what I used to be. I just tell myself "well Josh, this is what you get, this is what you deserve, this is what you are... now". I can't do this like this any more.
They end up renting a place from a guy named Danny who admits that his fiance Sally died there... and they soon discover that her ghost is still there! She's kind of excited about the fact that they can actually see her (being 'supernatural' as well) because she can finally have a conversation that isn't one-sided. She's got issues of her own though... not only does she not know how she died in the first place (the last thing she remembers is going to sleep) but she can't figure out how to leave the apartment.

Aidan as dealt with ghosts before, but Josh isn't exactly thrilled about a ghost being all up in his business.
Sally: Anyway... you two gonna go all Twilight on each other at some point?
Aidan: Excuse me?
Sally: I know what you are.
Josh: How?
Sally: Because it's all you guys ever talk about: 'I wanna be normal... but I can't, 'cause I wanna eat people'... etcetera.
Of course, the guys have got a lot more to worry about than an extra roommate. Aidan is really trying to resist feeding off of live people (preferring to steal from the blood bank at the hospital) but sometimes he slips up... like he did by killing his date the other night. Her disappearance has prompted an investigation and he's the prime suspect. Luckily (or unluckily, depending on how you look at it) he's got some help from Bishop who is both a police officer and the leader of a nearby vampire legion. Bishop is determined to lure Aidan back into this evil vampy ways.

Josh on the other hand is a self-loathing werewolf and really doesn't want to kill anyone anymore either. Of course, as we know, you cant always get what you want. This first episode hammered that point pretty strongly... and leaves us with a pretty heavy cliffhanger.

Josh has discovered a secret room in the basement of the hospital that he can lock himself in during the full moon. His plan however is complicated when his sister shows up at the hospital and wants to know where the hell he's been for the past two years! She follows him into the basement and they're accidentally locked in together... which puts her at risk for being torn limb from limb.

Josh calls Aidan for help, but he's not answering his cell. Why? Because he's at what appears to be a vampire blood/sex club... having been tempted by Bishop. He's too busy to answer the phone because he's sucking blood out of some hot lady. Hm. He calls the house hoping to get some help from Sally, but she hasn't even figured out how to turn the doorknob, let alone open the door and get the hell out of there.

Dun dun dun....

I'm definitely looking forward to the next episode and hoping that the show lives up to its name. It will take a lot to stand up to the original, but I'll give it a chance.

Best quote of the episode (next to Sally's Twilight reference, which was hilarious):
Aidan: So what about what I said, what about the apartment?
Josh: Yes, it's perfect, that's a great idea, let's do that. It's perfect. We'll have full moon parties. We'll invite the neighbors over... and eat them.

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