I love BBC Three’s Being Human. That’s probably an important disclaimer for this particular blog post so let’s get it out of the way first. I watched the pilot back in February 2008, instantly falling in love with the story of a vampire, a ghost and a werewolf sharing a house in Bristol.
Screened as part of a season which saw six pilots made for the channel, the intention being to turn at least one into a fully fledged series, Being Human may have stood out as one of the most original but it almost fell at the first hurdle. The Powers That Be decided to commission comic book action fantasy-thingy Phoo Action instead and Being Human was dead…or would have been if the fans hadn’t got involved.
Long before Twitter was the force for social good it is (we can debate that one another time), fans set up an online petition calling for Being Human to be given another chance. The short version of the ensuing saga is that they won, Phoo Action high-kicked into oblivion and we now have series two about to start on BBC Three tomorrow night.
I’ve now decided to watch it all again. Starting with the pilot (which isn’t in the DVD set), I’ll run through the series, watching the series first six episodes shown on TV last year.
My comments won’t be the most in-depth on the Internet – it is live after all – but I’ll do my best to capture some of the feeling of the series as it develops. This may stretch into tomorrow depending on other commitments, but I’ll make sure I finish it all by 9.30pm Sunday night. Promise.
There’s no real plan to this live blog other than that. I’ll link off to a few other sites, drop in the odd YouTube clip and trailer if it’s relevant and generally go a bit OTT on the series. Feel free to leave comments if you’d like and follow me on Twitter for the odd interlude and to find out when I’ll be starting each episode…oh, and watch out for spoilers folks…
Here’s a look at the original trailer for the pilot:
Saturday 9 January
11.33 am: Being Human, the pilot
“I’ve got this friend. He says the human condition, the human nature – being human – is to be cold and alone, like someone lost in the woods. Safe to say he’s a “glass is half-empty” kinda guy.”
The Being Human pilot starts as it means to go on: dark, creepy and with a lot of nudity as George (Russell Tovey) skulks around in a forest as a man with a vocal intonation vaguely reminiscent of William Shatner does voiceover duty.
This is Mitchell as played by Guy Flanagan, the original Mitchell, and this version is very English, pale and moody. We first see him doing a conjuring trick with some two pound coins while chatting to a young woman in her flat.
Another first here, Mitchell’s eyes flickering to black as his vampire-side tries to emerge – he’s soon in bed with the girl. This is all cut with scenes of George transforming into a vampire in the woods to the sound of Snow Patrol…
cue title: Being Human
The next we see of George he’s nicking woman’s clothes of a washing line and chatting to Mitchell in the street. Amy Winehouse and her Rehab ditty is playing in the background – they like their music.
11.40 am: First sign of the bad guys, arriving in the hospital where Mitchell works to pick up the body he’s left them. First mention of Herrick, the leader of the vampires.
Oh, and Russell has stripped again. There’s a theme emerging…
11.44: The debate about what it is to be human – what’s normal – has started in earnest with a chat between Mitchell and George. Is being a werewolf the curse or is it everyday life and normality?
11.53: Already much backstory being thrown in. George has met and ex in the hospital who says she thought he was dead, he tells her he’s “caught something”. That’ll be a werewolf curse.
More music, a dash of Lily Allen, and visit to the house for the first time by the odd couple.
Flanagan’s more subdued than Tovey, clearly “acting”, while Tovey’s got a bit more a spark to him. This Mitchell is very much the student stereotype.
11.55: Annie’s arrived in the shape of Andrea Riseborough. A very northern Annie.
12.00: The dialogue sparkles between the three leads, Annie accusing George of being prejudiced towards dead people – “you wouldn’t call a fat person fat!”
“Can’t we have one thing in our lives that isn’t about monsters?” asks George.
12.04: Mitchell is introduced to his “chamber” in the basement of the hospital. It’s around this time that we see how George’s emotions affect him. He bumps in Julia, the girl from the hospital bed, as she’s being confronted by her boyfriend. George tells him “it feels so good” and there’s real danger in his eyes as he explains how it feels to change. Lovely stuff.
12:07: George confronts Annie about how she died. She claims there were a few people there and clearly lies to him when she says it was “just like in the films, a good place,” – the look on her face tells another story.
12.09: Mitchell’s off brooding again, being chatted up in a half-empty bar by a woman who wants to take him home. Flanagan’s vocal patterns are again distracting. Each. Word. Is. Given. Its. Own. Sentence. Or near enough. It’s distracting.
12.14: We’re told George has faith and is Jewish (something that is probably clear from all those nude shots of Tovey) but is it mentioned again in the series-proper?
Herrick’s arrived! Adrian Lester. He’s doing a bit of a Flanagan, enunciating for all he’s worth. Herrick is addressing a gathering of vampires, who look like a fun bunch standing around in the dark while Ade speaks at them.
12.30: The perils of live blogging – interrupted by a phone call…
Right, where were we? George is now locked in his bunker with Julia (she’s not having much luck) while Mitchell listens to Herrick’s talk of vampires once walking with the Pharoahs. Annie managed to pick up a phone, an important part in her development.
Tension rises as we cut back and forth between scenes. Tovey once again gets the chance to shine here, Flanagan and Lester (sounds like a comedy double-act) quoting from the bible as they discuss the dominance of humanity over the vampire race.
12.33: It’s clear there’s nothing glossy about Being Human. Annie and Julia talk on some steps in the cold while George changes in a rusted, dusty basement. Hollyoaks this ain’t.
Lovely chat about which House the characters would be if they were at Hogwarts. By this point they’re all sitting in the pub, Annie far more visible than she is at the start of the series (if I remember correctly).
12.36: Mitchell heads out of the pub and meets a revived Lauren, her body like it’s “made from diamonds.” Mitchell says he feels guilty, he’ll never forgive himself for what he’s done, but there’s not much passion there.
“You think you can run from who you are?” asks Lauren. “Everything’s about to change,” says Herrick, “You need to decide who your friends are.”
And that’s it.
The pilot is over. It’s as packed to the gunnels with information as I remember it but it also doesn’t rush things. The vampire army are underplayed, Herrick’s speeches coming across as more fluff than anything too significant. He loves the sound of his own voice but at this stage none of it means very much.
Flanagan doesn’t come out of this as well as I remember, but that might have something to do with the fact that his replacement, Aidan Turner, “got it” from day one, adding more passion and life to the character. I’ve no doubt Flanagan is a good actor, it’s just he tries too hard here.
Annie mk1 isn’t given much screen time compared to the lads, but does well with what she’s given. Her move from housebound manifestation to social butterfly is too rushed here, something the writers clearly pulled back on for the full series. Riseborough is fine, but with barely 10 minutes screen time there’s only so much she can do.
Standout here is of course Russell Tovey. He’s jittery, shy and unsure of what he has become. Like the others he didn’t choose to be what he is but now he has to live with it. Tovey is the real star turn here and it’s a blessing he was kept on for series one.
Overall it’s an intriguing episode, hinting at so much to come but not able to deliver too much thanks to time constraints. The look and feel is mean and moody and the use of chart music helps root it in the here and now, rather than some melodramatic netherworld.
I’m now off to buy some lunch but hope to be back for 2pm for episode one of series one. Hopefully see you then.
Here’s the trailer for series one:
2.00 pm: Being Human, Series One, Episode One
Right, I’m back after a brief interlude along to the shops for food. While I wait for the DVD to boot up I’ll mention a few Twitter accounts you should consider following over the weekend: @bbcbeinghuman, @beinghuman3 and @sineadkeenan – you’ll find out what they’re about when you click through.
2.05 pm: “Everyone dies. Actually, can I start that again? Everyone deserves to die…”
Episode one opens with Annie, the new Annie that is, lying on the floor staring blankly at the camera with voiceover (as an aside, I’m getting more into my film noir movies these days and this is a very similar device used in those) as the camera pulls upwards.
Now it’s Mitchell, the new Mitchell, in a flashback to the (Second World?) War and he’s facing some very suspect characters in the fog. We then flash forward to present day as Mitchell stands in front of a war memorial, looking kinda cool in shades. No problem with the sun for this vamp.
2.10 pm: That’ll be Tovey naked. Again. Sigh. Another transformation scene and a nice cut from George screaming as a werewolf to him yawning as hospital orderly.
The flotsam and jetsom of death is how Annie describes her little gang…
2.15 pm: The house interior has changed a bit, looks a bit cosier, very different to the world they face outsifde. Aidan Turner is a smilier Mitchell, someone the audience instantly feels more comfortable with than the cold fish of Flanagan’s portrayal.
And Crichlow is much more girly girl than Riseborough, much more fun.
Mitchell now meets Seth (Dylan Brown) in the hospital, another vampire trying to tempt Mitchell into killing and drinking blood.
“Tell Herrick the hospital’s out of bounds,” says Mitchell.
2.17 pm: There’s a photo Lauren, Mitchell’s “kill” from the pilot on the wall – she’s also been recast. George’s basement haven is being refurbished by the workmen. Mitchell is having cravings for blood.
Suddenly the upbeat tone of the opening is getting darker, and we’re only 11 minutes in.
2.25 pm: After another run through the woods for George, he’s back in the house for his next transformation into a werewolf. I haven’t mentioned the effects up till now, mainly because the werewolf isn’t lingered on, but the process is quite impressive, a good use of FX and traditional latex.
The scene with George changing is another example of the series mixing the humour and the drama so well. George is clearly stressed at the situation and Annie wants to watch. Watching Mitchell crouching outside clutching the telly while Annie cowers in the kitchen is priceless. Ikea even gets a mention.
2.30 pm: Annie’s ex, Owen, gets his first introduction. He seems a nice bloke.
2.35 pm: Herrick’s back. Adrian Lester is gone, to be replaced by Jason Watkins, a far more man-in-the-street style character dressed as a policeman. The old Herrick was a pretty faceless bloke in a suit, this one is far more normal and therefore far more worrying. His dialogue is also far better than before, more realistic.
This Herrick also does a trick with a two pound coin, like Mitchell did in the pilot. Vampires like coin tricks it seems.
Herrick wants Mitchell back into the fold of the vampire world but Mitchell ain’t biting.
2.41 pm: After all of Herrick’s hints at a vampire uprising, it’s back to normality, George attempting to impress a pretty nurse by commenting that her new shampoo makes her smell “like a polo – have you got a hole?”. Cue embarrased silence.
Lauren’s also back from the pilot, taunting George with the fact she’s been turned into a vampire. Annabel Scholey is the new Lauren and she’s good.
Another great George and Mitchell scene as George faces the vampire and confronts him with his murder of Lauren. “This is who I am,” says Mitchell. “Then why are we even trying?” asks George.
2.45 pm: Lenora gets her chance to shine as she prepares for Owen’s visit to the house. He can’t see her but he can sense “something”. He brings his new woman with him and there’s a first glimpse that he might not be Mr Nice Guy after all. There’s also another great Russell scene here. Do the others not get jealous?
2.51 pm: We’ve just learnt how George became a vampire on a trip to Scotland. A quick flashback shows the gruesome scene as George’s mate lies with his chest ripped apart.
George and Annie are still trying to understand what’s happening to them, something that will carry on throughout the series.
2.56 pm: Mitchell is out for a drink with Becca from the hospital and all seems to be going swimmingly. She’s pretty, funny and clearly his type…then Lauren appears, suggesting she and Becca hang out later.
3.03 pm: It’s a shocking end to the night as George stumbles across Lauren and Becca outside the pub. Becca’s throat has been ripped apart by Lauren and she’s dying on the cold pavement. It’s a tragic end for Becca, made all the more poignant by the sight of George and Mitchell crying while covered in her blood…while Lauren says it’s Mitchell’s fault for turning her in the first place.
3.20 pm: After Herrick warns Mitchell it’s all about to change and that sides need to be taken, Mitchell says he’ll stick with the humans.
The end of the episode leaves us with a contemplative Mitchell sitting in the living room as George and Annie look on. George suggests they go to the pub, but Annie wants to stay inside: “There are monsters out there,” she says.
And as the camera pulls back from the window it reveals a figure standing under the lampost over the street, one of those we saw in the woods at the start of the episode as George tried to change…
What a start to the series. Like the pilot there’s a lot going on here, one-liners referencing things we should probably know more about and Herrick clearly knowing far more than he’s letting on about what’s about to happen.
The dialogue flows much better this time around, helped perhaps by the cast having more time to prepare and by the fact that writer Toby Whithouse has had a chance to think about what worked and what didn’t in the pilot.
Dark but never overly brooding, funny without being campy, Being Human manages to walk the fine line between serious and OTT without wavering. It’s a unique mix and not the sort of series normally associated with BBC Three, or British television in general at the moment.
I’ll be back at 4.oo pm for episode two, until then here’s a brief chat with Lenora:
4.17 pm: Being Human, Series One, Episode Two
“He should be dead within 30 seconds. A werewolf heart is about two thirds the size of a humans but in order to shrink it first has to stop…”
A Mitchell voiceover to start this episode, his description of the physical changes taking place in George’s body a stark reminder that the transformation is agony for him.
In the woods George meets Tully (Dean Lennox Kelly), someone who claims to also be a werewolf. With a hat.
4.24 pm: From the ridiculous to the even more ridiculous back at the house, Mitchell inviting the neighbours round for a cuppa – did you know Vin Diesel directed two short films and that one was entered at Cannes?
4.30 pm: This seems to be George’s episode, Tully arriving at the house to introduce himself to Mitchell and Annie. George wants to try and keep the reality of being a werewolf at arms length but Tully’s arrival makes it all that much real.
The humour element is ramped here, though as ever it’s not slapstick. The feeling that this new arrival could be a cuckoo in the nest is palapable, George clearly concerned at the thought of him staying. Mitchell’s desire to be human means he’s overlooking the possible danger under his nose. Who’s in the right here?
4.33 pm: After a bit more bonding between Annie and Tully, we’re back to the hospital and to the arrival of Sinead Keenan as Nina, a nurse. She’s confident and not the sort of person to take any rubbish from subordinates. It’s a good entrance for Nina, someone we’ll see much more of this series.
4.39 pm: A montage of scenes showing Tully and George bonding. It’s a different style to what we’re used to – no talk of vampire uprisings or the need to keep the monsters outside. Ah, Lauren has arrived, maybe I spoke too soon…
Lauren makes a good point that while she did kill Becca, Mitchell actually killed Lauren first. Mitchell may be one of the good guys but he’s got a very, very bad past.
4.50 pm: Mitchell was an extra in Casablanca? You can’t see him but he knocked over chair…
4.53: Tully’s having an effect on our George, toughening him up and making him realise the effect he could have on women if given half a chance. It is a bit heavy handed and the turnaround pretty fast, but with these episodes needing to get from A to B fast, I can forgive them. Just.
4.59 pm: After George is humiliated at the hospital after trying to ask out Nina, Tully comes on to Annie in the house in a very uncomfortable scene. Crichlow is particularly effective here, especially when she appears in the street a few seconds later. She then bumps into Herrick and Lauren at the scene of an attack by the latter and gets to see first hand what Herrick is really like. Tense stuff.
5.06pm: Following their failure to kick Tully out of the house after George’s defence of him, Annie and Mitchell are left alone to ponder the situation…and they very nearly kiss.
Elsewhere it turns out in a moving scene that Tully is the one who attacked George in Scotland and made him what he is. Tully claims it was an accident and that he can’t be alone anymore, but can George, or the audience believe him again?
5.15 pm: On his return to the house, George finds a DVD on the doormat: it’s a snuff movie from Lauren. Surely that won’t come back to haunt him later in the series will it?
Things then get even worse with Tully, George finding him in the woods trying to commit suicide. Although George saves him, the pair then begin to morph into werewolves…
5.21 pm: By the end of the episode George has banished Tully and Mitchell has retrieved the DVD from the rubbish, his eyes turning black again as his bloodlust returns…this can’t be a good thing.
This is an oddly unsatisfying episode in that its heavy focus on George, or rather Tully, makes it a bit lopsided. Fair enough it does mean George finally gets the courage up to speak to Nina and he learns something about his past, but the speed it all happens seems forced.
Still, there were some nice moments for Annie and Mitchell as well as seeds planted for future episodes: will the trio keep trying to ingratiate themselves with the neighbours? Will Tully return? Should Annie and Mitchell become an item? What significance is there in that DVD?
Before I start on episode three, here’s a look at George’s prequel from the BBC YouTube channel:
5.39 pm: Being Human, Series One, Episode Three
“Love should be the opposite of death. It should be our biggest reason for wanting to be here…”
Another episode, another voiceover intro, this time from George. Talk of lust, death and heartbreak in the first minute once again set is aside from the opposition.
This episode, written by Rachel Anthony and directed by Alex Pillai, opens as Annie is causing havoc in the kitchen, remembering that Thursday is the day she should have been getting married. The boys think she should meet a kindred spirit and decide to take her out.
5.45 pm: Down at the local nightclub the three meet Gilbert (Alex Price), a ghost who’s been dead from 1985. It’s 80s night and Hang the DJ is on the turntable: “That song came out in 1990!” notes Gilbert.
5.51: She’s back. Lauren returns to hound Mitchell, scared of what might happen next. Meanwhile Gilbert takes Annie on a nice afternoon walk…to her gravestone. Nice one Gil! Annie then realises there’s something she needs to resolve before she can pass over to the other side.
6.02 pm: Gilbert Fun! As Annie recalls how she ended up in the house – she met Owen at college – Gilbert decides to treat her to some Gilbert fun. This mainly involves wandering through the city listening to 80s music on his cassette player, but it’s a brilliant little sequence which gives a real boost to the character of Annie. It’s similar to the George/Tully montage in episode two but works better this time.
We also see Owen spending more time at the house, his girlfriend unhappy at the situation. Annie is also doing some visiting, taking Gilbert to the house she shared with Owen. He’s dismissive of Owen’s Michael Buble collection.
6.10 pm: Lauren is back once again, this time managing to tempt Mitchell even further with the bloodlust. Mitchell manages to get George and Nina set up on a date while Annie is in her element spending time “living” with Owen – is she haunting him?
6.21 pm: The big date between George and Nina takes place under the watchful eye of Annie and Gilbert. There’s some ad libbing here from Tovey as he and Keenan walk into the kitchen which adds to the feeling that George is still as nervous as ever.
Mitchell is also on a “date”, this time with Lauren, the pair meeting in a hotel room to, ahem, suck each others blood. The pair are co-dependent, hooked on blood and the feeling it gives them. They’re addicts and they don’t know how to quit.
6.34 pm: Revelations aplenty: Owen realises that his girlfriend hasn’t been doing “little things” for him and after losing her temper and leaving her mark on his house, Owen turns up at Annie’s to work on the pipes again. What he finds, some of Annie’s underwear, causes her to remember exactly what happened on the night she died. Owen killed her.
Mitchell and Lauren meet up again to get a fix of blood stolen from the hospital, but it’s not enough for her and she rushes out to meet Seth, too late for Mitchell to catch her.
George and Nina finally get it together in the hospital.
And then Gilbert tells Annie he loves her…just before a door appears to take him to The Other Side.
6.48 pm: By the end of the episode everyone has moved on another level or realised something about themselves they didn’t know or at least didn’t want to know.
Annie knows how she died, George knows he can be with woman and Mitchell knows he’s on a slippery slope but that at least he’s not as far gone as Lauren.
The arrival of Alex Price is the definite highlight of this episode, the production team’s decision to tilt the music heavily towards the 1980s giving it a different vibe to normal (and if you’re interested in this part of the episode, head over to the Being Human blog for more on how the music was selected).
The discovery of Annie’s killer is a big step forward for the series and the viewers and it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out over the next three hours.
I’m now taking a break from all things Being Human this evening but will return in the morning, hopefully around 11am, for the final three episodes in the run up to the launch of series two. If you’ve enjoyed any of this, or even hated it, feel free to leave a comment below, the more constructive the better.
I should also be over on Twitter tonight, so pop along and say hello if you want to chat any more Being Human.
Here’s a trailer for episode four:
Day Two: Sunday 11 January
11.36 am: Being Human, Series One, Episode Four
“Some labels are forced on us. They mark us, set us apart till we’re like ghosts just drifitng through other peoples lives. But only if we let the labels hold. You can piss your whole life away trying out who you might be. It’s when you’ve worked out who you are you can really start to live.”
A moody pre-titles sequence shows George returning from his transformation, Annie sitting quietly on the stairs of the house and Mitchell walking through Bristol on his own. A very clever bit shows him walking through a park as present-day Mitchell before his clothes morph into personas from his past – one second he’s a soldier, the next a foppish gent, the next a punk, and so on.
11.45 am: Following an attempt to get Lauren back from Herrrick by Mitchell – the vampires are hiding out in an undertakers – falls apart after Herrick once again invites Mitchell back into the fold. What’s most terrifying is that Herrick is so…sensible and matter-of-fact about it all, death as normal as eating breakfast or going to work. The DVD from last week also gets mentioned.
Back in the house, George is getting ready to go on a date with Nina – and failing in the looking good stakes. On his way to work, Mitchell bumps into three boys in the street, two of them bullying a third. Scaring them off with a flash of his vamp eyes, he then meets Fleur, the lad’s mum who invites him in for a cuppa.
All seems to be going well with integrating into the neighbourhood…
12.00 pm: Mitchell takes Bernie, the little boy, bowling (Lauren pops up to say the vampires are going to leave Mitchell alone) and he falls over, cutting his head in the process. Mitchell wants to be his big brother it seems.
Taking Bernie back to the house for cakes, Mitchell sends the boy upstairs to get a Laurel and Hardy DVD from his room. He then takes him back to Fleur, who it turns out likes a few drinks. Opening the DVD case it turns out there’s a different disc in there…it’s the snuff one Lauren sent Mitchell.
12.07 pm: Once she’s found the DVD, Fleur turns into a less-than-sensible neighbour and accuses Mitchell of being a pervert. Unfortunately the other neighbours hear the altercation and begin a hate campaign against the housemates, bombarding their property with eggs and rotten tomatoes and spraying graffiti on the walls.
George wants to move out and splits up with Nina as Owen hears about the problems with the neighbours and heads over to talk.
12.22 pm: After Owen’s visit, where he gives George and Mitchell their marching orders, Nina comes round to speak to George and he pushes her away. At the hospital PC Herrick comes to speak to Mitchell to tell him a complaint has been lodged – Mitchell tells him where he can go.
Another lovely moment as the lads sit in the house watching Frankenstein on DVD, commenting how it looks like a Ken Loach film when the villagers try to banish the Baron from his castle.
A visit from Bernie to Mitchell ends in disaster when the boy is hit by a car. George goes to see Nina and say Bernie is dead.
12.31 pm: As Bernie lies dying in a hospital bed, Mitchell asks if he want Fleur to make her son a vampire, to live forever. It’s understandable he might offer but I’m not sure about the morals of turning a young boy into something like him.
But at the train station we see Bernie and Fleur leaving for a new life. Mitchell tells her to keep her son good. What a decision to make – he’s now trapped as a boy for the rest of his life…and Mitchell goes to tell Herrick he’s back in with the vampires.
Tough stuff this episode. So much to do in such a short space of time again means there’s a feeling that some things are rushed, but that’s the nature of an hour long drama. The fact that they do cram in so much quality is testament to the skill of everyone involved and I’d rather see them try hard and not quite hit perfection than make it the usual dull and insipid TV demanded by most dramas.
Back soon with episode five, in the meantime here’s a look at Mitchell’s prequel:
1.10 pm: Being Human, Series One, Episode Five
“We meet people and fall in love. And when we part, they leave marks for us to remember them by. Our lovers sculpt us. They define us. For better or worse…”
George’s voiceover is a contemplative discussion on how people, lovers, make a mark on us. For the trio in Being Human these marks are more defined than they might be for the rest of us, with scars, death and being turned into the undead some of the after effects of meeting them.
Annie’s decided to haunt Owen, Mitchell’s back with Lauren and George is seeing Nina again. All normal things in this world.
1.15 pm: Mitchell attends a meeting of the vampires at Herrick’s funeral parlour, their churches, where Lauren questions why they have to use it as a place to congregate.
Annie’s haunting rehearsal is great fun, playing up the humour angle. She wants him to scream. Knowing how this series works it’ll soon be dark and nasty again so we need these lighter moments.
1.21 pm: Mitchell is now allowing Herrick into the hospital to meet potential new vampires. Mitchell then bumps into an old flame in the canteen, someone he knew in the 1960s when he came to Bristol for a weekend.
George then turns up to speak to Mitchell (which makes you wonder when the scenes in the flat with Annie that we’ve been watching took place as everything up till then appeared to happening concurrently) and Mitchell “outs” him to the woman as werewolf.
Owen then arrives back at the house where Annie does her first proper bit of haunting.
1.35 pm: Annie’s haunting doesn’t go to plan when Owen fails to get scared and instead taunts her that it’s her way of sulking.
Mitchell asks Herrick to turn his old flame, Josey, into a vampire. She’s sick and he wants to help her. Their follows another brilliant Being Human debate on what it is to be human.
Mitchell sees vampirism as evolution, meaning there won’t be any war or famine. Josey retorts that no births and no deaths isn’t evolution it’s a full stop. Great stuff.
Annie then goes to speak to Janey, Owen’s girlfriend to convince her that he’s a murderer. Owen arrives and dismisses it all.
1.45 pm: According to Josey, Herrick is planning a coup, the vampires are taking over.
Mitchell discovers a human farm beneath the undertakers, a place for the vampires to drink from men, women and children. At the same time George and Mitchell decide to save Mitchell from the vampires as “the world’s gayest ninjas.”
2.05 pm: Balking at what’s happening to the humans, Mitchell wants out but Herrick won’t let him. George and Annie (and Lauren) help him escape but Lauren demands Mitchell kills her. The music here is gorgeous, epic and intimate at the same time and we watch as Lauren dies in front of the three.
Calling Owen over to the house, Annie finally confronts him with what he’s done by whispering something in his ear. We don’t hear it but it’s enough to send him sobbing into the street in despair and on to the police station to confess his crime.
A door then opens for Annie, as it did for Gilbert, and she debates whether to go through it or not. As the friends talk there’s a knock at the door: Mitchell opens it only to be staked through the chest by Herrick. As Mitchell lies on the floor bleeding, George phoning the hospital, Annie can’t decide what to do next…
What an end to the episode, an adrenalin pumpin piece of drama which takes us from 0 to 60 in the space of a few seconds. This has been a terrific episode, full of wit and drama, a perfect slice of Being Human and just an all round fantastic bit of telly for any non-fans tuning in.
What’s next? I’ll be back in 20 minutes or so with the final episode of series one…until then here’s another prequel, this time for Annie:
2.41 pm: Being Human, Series One, Episode Six
“It was nothing really, just a small good deed in the darkness. But fate is always playing the long game. They were just two souls, united by fear and solitude…fate pushed them together and now they were going to find out why.”
An Annie voiceover introduces to Bristol two years ago, when Seth (killed at the end of the last episode) is in a cafe with two thugs. George is serving in the cafe and they can tell he’s a werewolf. They head out back to kill him but are stopped by a passing Mitchell who tells him to move, the vampires will come back.
In the present, Mitchell has been rushed to hospital – not great for someone who’s actually dead.
Soon Herrick’s henchmen arrive to finish the job but George and the hospital chaplain stop them.
2.55 pm: Things are finally coming to a head. Josey has allowed Mitchell to kill her to take her lifeforce. Mitchell has faced Herrick and agreed that he’ll finally finish things with him if he allows George and Annie to escape. “And I was going to give you South America.” says Herrick.
After meeting Herrick at the hospital, George visits the hospital chaplain in church, telling him he’s ready to grow up.
3.05 pm: George has decided to escape with Nina while Herrick want to kill him im the woods. It’s an emotional moment as George tries to back away from a crying Annie and the life they’ve created for themselves in the house.
3.10: Visited by the ghost of one of the humans held by Herrick as food, Annie bursts into the undertakers to free his friends.
As we watch Mitchell wait for Herrick on a roof, it soon becomes apparant that George has tricked everyone. He’s lured Herrick into a basement room and is about to do something stupid…or very, very brave.
3.20 pm: Herrick has warned George that if he kills him he’ll cross the line into hell…which George disagrees with. With Nina, Mitchell and George watching, he begins to change. Nina runs into the room and is pushed back (she later finds he’s scratched her) as George completes his change into a werewolf and proceeds to rip Herrick apart.
3.30 pm: With Herrick dead, the three friends sit around the kitchen table pondering whether or not they’re safe. Mitchell says he’s not sure, that this might be it or someone else could be waiting to fill Herrick’s shoes.
As they speak the picture fades to black and we’re in the secure unit where Owen is being held. He’s telling an old, white haired man about what Annie said to him in the house and about how she lives with a vampire and a werewolf. The man is very interested, so much so that when leaves he makes a phonecall to a Professor Jadat to tell him (or her): “We”ve found them.”
And with that series one is over. We’ve been on a rollercoaster ride with these three oddballs, we’ve watched as they’ve tried to prove their humanity, only to have humanity prove itself to be unworthy.
Who are the real monsters here? The vampire, wolf and ghost willing to sacrifice themselves for each other and the world? Or the neighbours so determined to cast them out a few weeks earlier without hearing their side of the story?
Morals are never clearly black and white, something shared with the film noirs I mentioned earlier. Right and wrong is never easily decided upon in Being Human.
At the same time this is one of the funniest series of the last few years, throwaway lines funnier than the output of many sitcoms entire runs. The cast manage to nail their lines, however ludicrous, with ease and it’s clear the writers, in particular creator Toby Whithouse, learnt from the problems of the pilot and decided to stretch things out over a longer period of time which he originally crammed into the pilot’s short run time.
Series two has a lot to live up to. With the episode order bumped up to eight episodes it could mean something even more epic is coming our way or less crammed into 55 minute episodes. A two-parter would be welcome and maybe the return of an old face from series one (more Gilbert fun?).
I’ve watched the first episode from series two but don’t want to spoil it here.
What I will say is that it opens with the vampire world still reeling from the death of Herrick at the hands (or is that paws?) of George, two new bloodsuckers arriving in town to upset the uneasy status quo which has fallen over the city.
Happy after solving the mystery of her own death, Annie wants to get a job. Nina is trying to find out if she’s been infected by the werewolf curse after being scratched by him.
Meanwhile, Mitchell just wants to go out on a date. And all the while the three are being watched by a new character who is determined to expose them.
There are new characters and new motives, some nasty scenes involving science experiments and more humour as well. It’s about to get messy in Bristol…
Taking time to set the scene, episode one is typical of the series at its very best: heartbreaking one moment and terrifying the next.
It’s a heady mix and one that should warm up your television set no end during these cold winter nights.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my revisiting of the world of Being Human. It’s been fun, if tiring, and I can’t wait to see what the BBC throw at us over the next two months. Head over to Twitter to read more of my Being Human thoughts and feel free to send me your own.
Finally, here’s a look ahead from the cast and another prequel for the two new members of the cast: