Monday, February 23, 2009

In which I blog ever so slightly incoherently about Being Human...


And squee probably a lot.






There will also be spoilers.






So....






if you don't like squeeing...








or spoilering...









or indeed incoherent ramblings about a TV show which features a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost...






or even more incomprehensibly you don't actually like programmes about a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost...





Then look away now.







Right.






Hoping anyone left is as much of a fangirl/boy of Being Human as I am turning into.






Now we can begin...






A few weeks ago, I posted about episode one of this series here. I really enjoyed the pilot and the first episode, and was slightly worried, as you are when you discover a new favourite that the rest of the series might not live up to its promise.



Happily Being Human not only has lived up to promise, but exceeded expectations. It really is very dark - people die/get hurt, we feel the characters' pain, from George's horrific werewolf transformations (though, less said about the werewolf the better), to Mitchell's horror at what he is/has done to Lauren, and Annie's grief about not only the loss of her fiance, but the loss of her life. But as well as being dark, Being Human is also immensely funny - George is frequently hilarious as he squeaks about the horror of being a monster, and Annie's PMT ghostly moments are also great. I loved George's line about for once being the person with the interesting news at the end of episode 3 when he bursts into announce he's finally managed to have sex, only to discover Annie in the throes of deep depression because she's discovered what we suspected all along, that her fiance, Owen, has in fact killed her.


Before last night's episode, my favourite episode had to be episode 3, featuring as it did an eighties ghost, who helped Annie come out of her shell, and was EXACTLY like any number of boys I knew in my student days in Liverpool. From the shiny shirt, to the northern accent, to the crap dancing to Sisters of Mercy/Lords of the New Church type music, to the obsession with Morrisey and left wing politics, he was perfect. And from starting out as an annoying little tit, by the end you were totally absorbed by his story, and the sweetness of discovering that he had only hung around because in his real life he had never experienced love till he met Annie. As frequently happens in Being Human, your expectations of what is to come next are subverted, and you are frequently left thinking, I didn't see THAT coming...


Which isn't to say I didn't enjoy George's coming to terms with being a werewolf, when he gets to meet Tully, the werewolf who created him, because I did (crap werewolf costumes notwithstanding). I love George, for being heroic in a geeky slightly camp way. I love the way his voice goes all squeaky when he is trying to be brave and heroic, and how tries anyway. Ah, Russell, little did I know when I watched The History Boys, I'd fall in love with you playing a werewolf...


Mitchell of course, is the properly sexy hero - as a vampire he has to be. He oozes charm and the slight edge of menace, but his ability to hold onto something of his humanity, and his constant battle not to give into his urges - at one point when George expressses disquiet that he has killed someone they know, he tells George that he has to manage his condition every day, whereas George only gets to do that once a month. From the moment when Lauren pitches up and he doesn't kill the girl in episode one, you really tap into Mitchell's pain. He is at odds with what he is, he hates what he's done to Lauren, but yet to try and protect her, he tries to help her even though he finds the blood sharing she needs abhorrent.


The only episode that didn't quite hit the right note, was last week's, when Mitchell befriends a boy in the street, and ends up accused of paeodophilia. Although I liked that notion of the mob turning on them, and the question of who are the monsters, humanity or the flatmates? the storyline didn't quite work as effectively as other episodes. And apart from anything else, Annie's poltergeist tendencies didn't get explored anything like as much as they deserved to be. (Although, in another shocking twist at the end of episode three, having first thought Owen was the baddie, I had totally been hooked into thinking he wasn't, so discovering he HAD murdered Annie was a huge shock.) The shock ending of episode four was the little boy dying in a car crash, and Mitchell "saving" him by turning him into a vampire.


But any carping I might have had about episode four gives way to total awe and much squeeing and incoherence for Episode 5.


Mitchell turning to the dark side. Thinking he's doing the right thing, yet we know Herrick isn't to be trusted.


Annie failing to scare Owen. Annie going completely into decline until George goes all manly (George!) and demands she helps their friend.


Annie and the Chair. George and the Chair. George knocking Seth out with his Star of David.


Mitchell discovering what Herrick's really up to. Run that by me again? A blood farm in the basement of the hospital. I did a double take on that one.


Suddenly realising Mitchell is in the shit.


Annie and the Chair.


Oh good they're getting away.


Oh no. They're not.


Oh fuck. Here's Lauren, she's going to rub Mitchell's nose in it.


Wrong again, she's just stabbed Seth was a stake....


Talk about edge of your seat stuff.


And that was WITHOUT Mitchell saving Lauren by killing her, and the poignancy of her not wanting to lose what was left of the human Lauren to the vampires (and I hadn't had ANY sympathy with her up till now)...


And WITHOUT Annie finally standing up to Owen (god I'd forgotten that - Owen was such a bastard. And it was such a brilliant metaphor for crappy relationships where one person has all the power), and THEN finding her door.

And she's going to go through it. But she can't.

It's ony episode five. And there has to be another series. I can't stand it if there isn't another series...


And there's a knock on the door. And they don't answer it.


And then Mitchell does.


And OH FUCK. I so didn't see that.


So episode 5 ends with Mitchell with a stake in his heart, Annie dithering about going through the door, and George screaming at her to go.


What a brilliant cliff hanger...


Told you it was incoherent.


But if you haven't been watching, why not??? And what are you waiting for? I believe all five episodes are STILL available on i-player...


Me, I'm hanging on in there for episode 6.....

10 comments:

stu-n said...

It really has been achieving everything Torchwood said it was going to, and didn't. Even though Herrick's plot is the same one the vampires had in Ultraviolet.

Expat mum said...

Right well, I won't bother watching it if it comes over here on BBC America then. :-)

Jane Henry said...

Hey Stu-n, nice to see you here again. Yup Being Human is absolutely what Torchwood isn't. Grown up, dark, sassy, smart, funny, sexy (without an overeliance on sex - LOTS OF SEX DOES NOT EQUAL GROWN UP TV, RUSSELL) etc etc. Having not seen Ultraviolet I don't mind if Herrick's plot is the same - does it actually matter do you think? Or is this sufficiently different? (I'd kind of go with the Shakespeare stole plots all the time argument and say it probably doesn't if Being Human has come up with something new).

And on the basis of that argument Expat mum, even though I haven't seen Ultraviolet and am probably talking tosh, I'd still say watch Being Human cos it rocks.

Kate said...

I'm so SO glad that you blogged about this when it started, I've been glued to it every week.

I loved that 80's ghost (although his name has vanished from my brain). But every time he kept talking about a band or a song and Annie just looked blank I'd end up actually saying "You died before she was born you wassock" and therefore getting sarky looks from my other half.

The best best thing... when he talked about the ghost he knew who "haunted the VIP toilets at Leyton Orient" - being an Orient fan I was highly amused. (and having been to the ground I'm pretty sure there are no VIP toilets, shame).

Jane Henry said...

The ghost's called Gilbert, Kate. (I had to look that up though!). It did make me feel very old that he was frozen in the time of my youth, but otoh, it meant that episode in particular was full of songs I liked. I meant to talk about music in Being Human, but got a bit carried away with everything else, so am saving that for another post...

stu-n said...

I don't think it matters at all. Every other detail about the series is so different that what the vamps are planning is purely incidental. There isn't even that much similarity between Being Human vampires and Ultraviolet Code Vs, and we're approaching the situations from completely different angles.

Jane Henry said...

Thanks for that comprehensive explanation, Stu-n. My gut instinct is creatively everyone takes the same ideas all the time and does different things with them, so even where there are overlaps they shouldn't really matter. I'm convinced there is a creative ether, which we all tap into and come up with the same ideas from time to time. It's what we all do with them that makes things different.

stu-n said...

Alan 'Watchmen' Moore used to call it 'Ideaspace'.

Jane Henry said...

Ooh I like that Stu-n. Am looking forward to Watchmen, though have to fess up I've never read it. But have a friend who used to run a comic book eons ago and he knows Dave Gibbons quite well and he's raved about Watchmen for years.

stu-n said...

I know Dave G slightly — a friend runs an annual panel game with him at the Bristol Comics Festival — and he's chuffed to little bits about the film.

The film isn't going to be the book; it can't be. There's too much subtext and background, along with multiple storylines. But I'm looking forward to seeing the film, and I bet the DVD Special Edition will be something to see.