I know, I know: never judge a book by its cover (unless it’s a Dan Brown novel in which case you know to avoid it) and never judge a US remake of a UK TV series by a 90 second preview. I know the rules, but I’m still going to state that my first glimpse of Being Human USA doesn’t fill me with confidence.
Being Human has been one of my favourite shows of the last few years, the story of the vampire, werewolf and ghost flatsharing in Bristol a real oddity in the BBC 3 schedules, mainly because it’s good. Earlier this year I carried out a fairly pointless yet still pretty enjoyable blog-a-thon of the first series and I also started previewing some of the second series, which I may try again in 2011 when the third comes along.
Now, following in the footsteps of other great transitions of UK programmes to America, Red Dwarf and Coupling two which spring to mind (and something called The Office which has done OK), the BBC are sending the format of Being Human Stateside, with 13 episodes of the retooled show due to air there in January.
The downside of this is that original stars Aidan Turner, Russell Tovey and Lenora Crichlow won’t be reprising their roles of Mitchell, George and Annie. Instead, Sam Witwer will be appearing as vampire Aidan, Sam Huntingdon will be the werewolf, Josh, and Meaghan Rath will be the ghost, Sally, with all the action relocated to Boston.
The interaction and rapport between the original actors was one of the main reasons for Being Human’s success, though I’m sure the producers have done their best to find replacements who are worthy of the roles. The main reason for concern is the lack of involvement of series creator Toby Whithouse, who jokingly(?) commented that he was happy with the programme being made as long as saw a pay cheque:
Though the UK version had a pretty substantial creative team, Whithouse deserves some major credit for shaping the series. Without him are we only going to get a knock-off, albeit an expensive knock-off, of the parent programme?
The first clips are now online and don’t look that promising, the kitchen scene looking like a rehearsal for the final shot and a few fast cuts suggesting it’s going to be a flashier programme. Again, you can’t really judge the first episode on a few clips, and I’m still not sure if I’ll actually watch the American version or stick with the original.
Hopefully it’ll be a welcome addition to the family and American fans will go on to discover the British version as a result. Stranger things have happened, like a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost sharing a flat in Bristol back in 2009, as the original trailer explained:
Keep an eye on the excellent BBC Being Human blog for more updates on the third series of the original Being Human.