Saying Goodbye to Being Human
So a werewolf, a vampire, and a ghost decide to move in together…
It sounds like the opening of a cheesy joke, but it’s actually the premise of the Syfy channel show and BBC remake, Being Human. If you haven’t heard of the show, it is based on the BBC show of the same name, and it premiered in 2011. Being Human is currently on its fourth and final season. The announcement of a final season came as a surprise to fans midway through the fourth season. The show’s creators made an “artistic decision” not to drag the series out. While this is unfortunate for the viewers who have followed since the beginning, it might be a great decision in the long run. Most television viewers have probably suffered through the dreaded middle seasons of a show that began on a high note (pointing finger at you, Smallville), so Being Human‘s abrupt end may not be such a disappointment.
The show stars several up-and-comers in the acting world, but they are no less fantastic than household names: Sam Witwer (Battlestar Galactica, Dexter, Smallville) as Aiden; Sam Huntington (Superman Returns, Fanboys) as Josh; newbie Meaghan Rath as Sally; and Kristen Hager (Wanted) as Nora. Here’s a brief rundown if you are unfamiliar with the show:
Aidan Waite, a 200 plus year old vampire, and Josh Levison, a newly turned werewolf, meet at the Boston hospital they both work at. They become friends and decide to give “being human” a try--trying to live in the human world hiding their monstrous selves. They rent a house which turns out to be haunted by Sally Malik, a ghost recently murdered by her fiancé. The three attempt to establish a routine of being “mainstream” in the human world and avoid contact with others in the supernatural community. But, of course, the peace doesn’t last long. Aidan is continually tempted by blood and his maker, Bishop, to rejoin the vampire population. Josh must learn to deal with the monthly monster he becomes as well as developing feelings for one of the hospital’s nurses, Nora. Sally must decide whether or not to move on to the afterlife by going through a door that appears to her.
Think of it is as a supernatural Three’s Company, with lots of blood and sex. It’s the nightmare roommates who are, literally, the stuff nightmare are made up of. Aidan, Josh, and Sally work to find a balance in the world among the normal and paranormal. They struggle with seemingly normal problems of finances, troubled relationships, and home maintenance. However, most of us probably cannot relate to the necessity of finding a safe place to transform into a large animal once a month. But, once being human, they face their supernatural problems with a conflict of emotions: Is what I am about to do going to make me less human and more monster?
The primary cast is amazing, and the supporting cast brought in only add to the clever writing. Mark Pellegrino plays Aiden’s maker James Bishop. Pellegrino is well know on the supernatural television circuit having played roles on shows such as Lost and Supernatural. He plays a similar character to his Supernatural Lucifer: cocky, cheeky, and someone you love to hate. Ginger Snaps and known television guest star Katharine Isabelle has a recurring role as Aiden’s wife. Others include Dichen Lachman (probably most well-known as Sierra on Dollhouse) who plays one of Aiden’s love interests and television alum Amy Aquino as Donna, a witch who intertwines into Sally’s life.
While the cast is outstanding, they would be nothing without the clever writing and directing. Creator Toby Whithouse has worked on shows such as Doctor Who and Torchwood, so it’s no wonder that the show fluidly mixes drama, horror, and comedy without being overly sentimental or dramatized. There is a lightness to the show that keeps it from going too dark. One of my favorite moments of the last season is when Aiden has to knock down a wall to see if something sinister may be hiding behind it. Aiden cuts the tension by knocking down the wall and jumping through yelling “Oh yeah!” in a Kool-Aid man fashion. The lack of intense melancholy and angst makes me care about these characters more; they are well-rounded flesh and blood who deal with a range of emotions.
Four seasons have been just enough time to develop the characters and see them go through the ups and downs of learning to “be human”. We can relate to this show on so many levels of being. Stephen King wrote in his article “Why We Crave Horror Movies” that we all have a darkness that needs to be kept at bay, and we must find a less harmful outlet for our innate violent tendencies. We watch shows such as Being Human to curb our appetites for the macabre. We are all working everyday at “being human” and trying to fit into the norms of society.
For fans of the supernatural or just fan of great characters and storytelling, this is a show not to be missed. With only four nicely packaged seasons, there is not an extended season lull to dread. I am not sure what the series finale will bring, but I hope that it is not a tearful farewell or a traditional happily ever after scenario. These character deserve more. They will hopefully end on a happy-but-maybe-not-ever-after note. In other words, they will continue to live a typical human existence of not knowing what tomorrow will bring. I’ll leave you with the casts’ thank you to the many faithful viewers:
What do you think? Leave a comment.