On January 17, 2011, Space (& SyFy) premiered television’s latest foray into supernatural dramedies with a re-take of the BBC mini-series of the same name: “Being Human”. Shot on location in Montreal, but taking place in Boston, with Screen Actors’ Guild talent attached, “Being Human” is about a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost cohabiting the same house as they go about their daily lives trying to overcome the obstacles of dealing with their condition all the while trying to be, well, human. As far as supernatural show premises go, this one is solid. A possibility for an understated discourse on death, dying and living is a universal understanding that can be exploited in the good hands.
It’s not in the good hands.
Of course, I’m basing this off the first episode, which is a two-parter, but it’s an hour-long (~45-min) series! In one hour, Alan Ball with Six Feet Under’s premiere succeeded in introducing five characters as they are, not just their quirks, but their identities and launched the paths that these characters needed to take throughout the series. I don’t know where “Being Human” is going. There doesn’t seem to be a point.
Moreover, the dialogue sucks. I calls ‘em as I hear ‘em and this show is a slough of lengthy speeches, people telling other people how they should live their life and those other people telling them that they can’t do that because they have this thing that prevents them from blah blah blah and so on and so forth. What kills me though is that, example, Aidan (Saw Witwer) introduces an idea to Josh (Sam Huntington) and Josh rejects it at first listen then a moment of things — not even an event — but something pointless passes before us and Josh is suddenly won by this idea previously suggested by Aidan. Basically there is no causality to the action.
So a lot of people sitting down and talking about their feelings (sigh & uggh)
Good performances though. The characters the actors’ have to work with, however, not so compelling. One of them seems a bit all-too familiar (vampire out to do good in atonement for all the years of murderous rampage, anyone?) I can see the appeal of a newly-turned werewolf, having a hard time coming to terms with his curse and deals with it by shutting people out and, yes, there is intrigue in a ghost who, after months of treading a household with no one to talk to, touch, communicate, finally finds a pair of gents who can see and hear her, but the writing, the storytelling falls (way) short from the ambition of the ideas presented.
The poor execution is amplified by the bad lighting, the terrible TV cinematography and the awkward scene staging. Frankly, the best technical feat is the sound (production & post)! “Being Human” is safe television at best. I want to believe Sam Witwer that by episode 10 it gets a whole lot better. I really want to believe that…