Being Human

Posted on March 17, 2009


So, yay for me. I managed to watch an entire series of one of those TV shows that everyone’s been talking about. Being Human.  I’m a bit late to it, of course, because I waited til the series had ended before watching it all in two big greedy gulps, but hopefully that’s a useful way to watch it because it stops continuity being spoiled by iffy memory.

Anyway, what did I think? Generally, I liked it. I thought it was well cast, well acted, with some great dialogue. The effects were unspectacular but (mostly) did they job, and I liked that the show didn’t rely on them. I also liked the British approach to the supernatural, wherein problems are solved over cups of tea rather than suddenly discovered uber kick-boxing skillz. I liked the way the menace of the bad vampires came from a Long Good Friday stylee sense of gangsterism rather than traditional vampire shtick. I loved the ghost stuff over the werewolf and vampire stuff, particularly  the moody 80s ghost that Annie befriends. And generally it was absorbing, moving, compelling drama. All good.

But… I just think it should have been longer. The story was too compacted and the pacing was uneven. The lingering character close-ups were well judged but the story’s momentous events were over too quickly. This was a series that was told in two-thirds or even half the screen time that the story needed. The end result was a good character drama that didn’t give us enough time to each stage of the story before speeding on to the next. Mitchell’s storyline suffered most from this. The moral outrage over his relationship with the wee boy was on and off too quickly for us to believe his total washing-of-hands of humanity that motivated his return to the vampire fold. Equally, his sudden stumbling over their feeding supply and he’s flip-flopping again. Similarly, George’s relationship just didn’t have enough time to grow the way the narrative was telling you it had.

So, maybe the BBC said: You get six episodes, make it fit. It feels like that. A story pared down and crammed in. Hopefully series 2 will be either longer, or less ambitious. I’ll certainly be watching.

Posted in: Television