Thursday, January 27, 2011

OH YAY! The Return of Being Human...

Readers of this blog may be aware that Being Human is one of my all time favourite TV shows, so please indulge me while I do a huge self indulgent SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! of a post to celebrate its return. I fell in love with show when the pilot episode was aired, and then was devastated to discover there wasn't a series at the time, but my patience was rewarded two years ago with Series One, during which I fell head over heels in love with a werewolf called George. I know most people fancy Mitchell, but George is just so - George - and I adore him. Series Two was fantastic, though not quite as good as the first, but still good enough to leave me gagging for more. Particularly as it ended on such a brilliant cliffhanger with Annie having been spirited away to purgatory and Daisy and Cara reviving Herrick who I have to say I really really missed last time.

Because I am a saddo obsessee fan I frequently visit the Being Human blog where they have been teasing us with Annie's Broadcasts from Purgatory (tho I do think they missed a trick in not showing more of that in episode 1 cos they were proper scary as my 12 year old would say), so was very very excited about the new series coming back on Sunday. For the first time we let no 1 watch (she has been infuriated with me for the last two years because I keep telling her how good it is but that she's not allowed to watch it) because otherwise we'd have either had to send her to bed at an unacceptably early hour, or we'd have watched it unacceptably late. (Oh teenage children, how they force you into difficult choices). Actually, I gather Misfits is ruder, and I KNOW she's watched that, so I don't feel I can censor BH any longer.

Anyway, we all sat down to watch with great anticipation (and also a lot of nervousness on my part, because I soooo want it to stay good), and hurrah hurrah, Toby Whithouse delivered once more. And with such style...

So we see Mitchell, Nina and George moving into a new home in Barry Island - an ex b&b which is perfect as it has a convenient basement for Nina & George to change in, a bar, and a Hawaiian picture on the wall. Perfect. I thought I couldn't love their new home as much as I loved the Bristol flat, but I was wrong. Particularly as I've just watched Nina take me round it on the BH blog. I love the detail that there is one of Robson Green's tapes on the shelf. Hilarious. (Robson Green is a new character, McNairn, a cage fighting werewolf.) It is that kind of detail that makes me love the BH team.

Mitchell sees Annie on the TV telling her she is being sent to hell and decides he has to go and rescue her, though George doesn't want him to go (I can't lose you too. Oh George is it possible for me to love you more?), and Nina warns him to be sensitive when she finds him a terminally ill patient to follow through the door to purgatory. I did love the scene when Mitchell and George are waiting for him to die - George tries to read Jewish prayers, driving Mitchell nuts, while Mitchell does crosswords, but the moment of death was beautifully filmed, with Mitchell displaying tenderness and concern for the man as he takes him through (no mention of the men with ropes this time, I note...)

The moment when Mitchell went through the door was the moment this episode really took off for me. There was a lot of other stuff going on - we get introduced to Robson Green's McNairn, who is kidnapped and forced into a cage fight with an poor unsuspecting human, while his son encounters George in a forest both preparing to change (George and Nina are taking it in turns to share the basement so he is out in the forest setting himself a trail to follow), which leads George in turn to follow him and end up accidentally meeting a group of doggers. It could only happen to George and created a brilliantly hilarious BH moment when George is arrested, despite telling the police, in that George voice I love, I've got a condition, and locked in a cell just as he is about to change. Meanwhile he manages to get a phone call to Nina, who is also on the verge, and she has to come and rescue him from his police cell. Let's hear it for Nina! I am so glad she is properly a lead now. I love Nina as much as George. My favourite werewolf couple. Though, what is going on with her hair, people?

Nina trying to resist her werewolf tendencies while she gets George out of jail by persuading the cops that his condition is so serious they'll be in a lot of trouble if they don't release him was one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time. But then just to ratchet up the tension, we also see the preparations for the cage fight (people holding up placards: Ten Minutes to Full Moon. Genius), and George and Nina desperately racing to find somewhere to hide so they can change safely and then having to lock themselves in together, despite George's fear that they'll kill each other. Another beautiful moment when they tell each other they love one another before falling to the floor in agony. Woohoo. And THEN seeing the cage fight, where full marks to the BH team, they didn't flinch once from the full horror of it. It was brutal and bloody and terrible, with the truth of the situation suddenly dawning on the victim in a terrifying way. But worse then the werewolf were the baying mob, and the leader of the kidnappers (played by a very sinister Paul Kaye) being disappointed that he's lost his bet that the human would last two minutes...

And while ALL this is going on, Mitchell is in Purgatory down a long corridor with many doors, with his spirit guide, Lia. Who knows he's a vampire, and knows stuff about him and keeps saying H12, to his and our confusion. Mitchell keeps asking to see Annie, but instead she offers him the choice of which door to open. As a catholic, I LOVED this version of purgatory, it felt really like it might be like that (my aged fil had a near death experience after his stroke when he was in a corridor knocking on doors and people on the other side wouldn't let him in. He wasn't at all religious but was convinced that's what happened till the day he died.)

Mitchell's choices force him to look at who or what he is, so the first door takes him back to WW1, just after he was turned, when he goes back to his regiment and ends up poisoning his friend Arthur and taking his life. He doesn't want to confront what he's done, but Lia leads him to see that he couldn't really help it, he was confused, and a victim too. They move onto the next door and its back in the 60s and this time the victim is a young girl called Sally. Now things are different, Lia tells him, Mitchell claims it got chaotic - he says he was out of control, she points out he was in control enough to have sex. It's almost as if you enjoyed it, Lia says and Mitchell claims he is not that man any more. When a desperate Annie shows up on the tv screen again Mitchell begs to be told what to do, but Lia says its his choice... At that moment Mitchell nearly gives up, It was brave of you try, says Lia, but then he can't leave without Annie, so chooses another door.

And suddenly we're in the carriage of the train in which he and Daisy went on a feeding frenzy last series. As this was one of the most shocking scenes from series 2 - I had got so used to Mitchell as the good guy it was truly horrific to see him fall from grace - it was brilliant to see Mitchell have to confront what he'd done. Suddenly he has an explanation of who Lia is, H12 - the seat she was sitting in, she's one of his victims too. Lia introduces him to the others: the train driver with five kids, the woman who'd survived breast cancer so he can see the ripples of his actions - till Mitchell can bear it no more. He says sorry, and relentlessly she tells him its not enough, she forces him to look at the way he hides from what he's done: Mitchell excuses it by saying its a compulsion, he was angry, Daisy made him do it... Lia tells him he's after forgiveness, and uses the good things he does to make up for the bad, and finally Mitchell confesses that he's an animal and he doesn't deserve forgiveness. I was dead and I never felt so alive, he says and admits to being addicted to a lack of conscience. It was a thrilling and wonderful performance from Aidan Turner (and suddenly I'm feeling all that Mitchell love...), as for the first time Mitchell properly faces up to his past actions, without the excuses. And this time, Lia warns him there will be consequences, as the price for getting Annie will be his death by way of a wolf shaped bullet. Mitchell is the final piece in someone else's story, and they have to kill him. Ouch.

So Mitchell has got Annie back. Nina and George didn't kill each other but shagged instead (I predict the pitter patter of wolf cub feet), and McNairn's son killed the vampire kidnapper (I missed that till the last minute, duh) and tells him about having seen George.

Being Human's well and truly back. Major major SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

Toby Whithouse. I think I love you.


Persephone said...

Being Human is shown at 10 pm here, way too late for a school night, and besides, it's not the sex that worries me, it's the graphic violence. Younger daughter has only recently started liking Doctor Who which scares the willies out of her. Me too, actually!

My own problem with 10 pm is that I fall asleep. We have to be up around 6am to leave the house by 7:20.

At the moment, the station that airs BH is showing the American version. I haven't bothered to watch, but the actors, screen angles, and set design look exactly the same in the promos -- so much so, that it took me a couple of exposures to realize the actors were different. (We automatically mute commercials.) So, I have to wonder: Why???? If you're just telling the same story with American actors, why bother? I know the American version of Life on Mars was reviled by Anglophiles, but I found it rather interesting, as the Seventies in the US were simply not the same as the Seventies in Britain.

There doesn't seem to be quite the same scope for a fresh re-interpretation of BH. (Are they going to haul in the American medical insurance situation? Now, that is a horror story.) To be fair, I ought to at least take a look at this American version before commenting further...

Rachael said...

I am astounded. I really wanted to blog about BH, but all I could come up with was squeeeeeeeeephwoarsqueeeeeeeeeeephwooooooooar. Robson Green as hot werewolf. Mitchell. George. Ooooooh.

See what I mean? I just can't do it. Rooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwrrrrrrr.

Jane Henry said...

Hi Persephone, lovely to hear from you! Sorry if I accidentally spoilered you, I got a bit carried away!

The violence bothers me too, but as their father has brought them up on a diet of fairly unsuitable horror movies (fastforwarded through the really gruesome bits) my kids are a lot more robust then I would have been, and no 1 doesn't seem too phased. We did all do a lot of whistling this week through a vampire fetishist party (whilst appreciating the humour that one of them was played by the woman who plays Stacey's mum in Gavin & Stacey).

Rob has reviewed the American BH on his blog & was underwhelmed I think. I agree, I don't know why redo something unless you're going to give it a different perspective. Haven't seen US LOM, but I can see why it could work.

Btw have you been getting Episodes in Canada? It follows two English screen writers who have a hit comedy in the UK, get seduced by Hollywood and then see their baby being systematically destroyed. It's very funny. And according to Steven Moffat who I follow on Twitter, true!

Rachael, I know EXACTLY what you mean. Though without the Robson Green Phwoar! as he doesn't do it for me... Mitchell is suddenly getting me all hot under the collar, but really George is my one true love. Sigh...

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